New Nintendo 3DS

New Nintendo 3DS
New Nintendo 3DS XL

New Nintendo 3DS
Also known as NN3DS (XL), New 3DS (XL), N3DS (XL) (unofficial abbreviations)[1][2][3]
Developer Nintendo IRD
Manufacturer Nintendo, Foxconn
Product family Nintendo 3DS family
Type Handheld game console
Generation Eighth generation era
Release date
  • JP: October 11, 2014
  • AUS: November 21, 2014
  • EU: January 6, 2015 (Ambassador Edition)
    February 13, 2015 (General Release)
Retail availability 2014–present
Units shipped Combined (worldwide): 8.81 million
New 3DS: 1.92 million
New 3DS XL: 6.89 million
(as of June 30, 2016)[4]
Operating system Nintendo 3DS system software
CPU 804 MHz ARM11 MPCore quad-core + extra weaker single-core (one reserved for OS)
Memory 256 MB (64MB dedicated to the OS), 10 MB VRAM
Storage 1 GB internal flash memory
Removable storage Included 4 GB Micro SD
Cartridge save
Graphics 804 MHz DMP PICA200
Sound Stereo speakers (pseudo-surround), microphone
Input A/B/X/Y buttons, Circle Pad, C-Stick (nubbin), L/R and ZL/ZR bumpers, D-pad, Start/Select buttons, Home button, 3D depth slider, volume slider, power button, accelerometer
Camera Rear-facing stereoscopic VGA camera, front-facing VGA camera
Connectivity 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, NFC, infrared
Online services
Nintendo DS/DSi, Nintendo 3DS, Virtual Console
Predecessor Nintendo 2DS (concurrent)
Nintendo 3DS (XL) (concurrent)
Nintendo DS line
Website Official website

The New Nintendo 3DS (Newニンテンドー3DS Nyū Nintendō Surī Dī Esu) is a handheld game console developed by Nintendo in Japan. It is the fourth system in the Nintendo 3DS family of handheld consoles, following the original Nintendo 3DS, the Nintendo 3DS XL, and the Nintendo 2DS. The system was released in Japan on October 11, 2014, in Australia and New Zealand on November 21, 2014,[5][6] on January 6, 2015 in Europe in a special Club Nintendo-exclusive "Ambassador Edition", and at retail in Europe on February 13, 2015. In North America, the New Nintendo 3DS XL was released on February 13, 2015, while the standard-sized New Nintendo 3DS bundled with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer game was released on September 25, 2015.

Improvements upon the previous models include upgraded processors and increased RAM, an analog pointing stick (C-Stick), two additional shoulder triggers (ZR and ZL), face detection for optimizing the auto stereoscopic 3D display, an included 4 GB microSD card and built-in NFC, as well as minor design changes (such as colored face buttons, and the availability of face plates for the smaller-size model).[7] Like the original 3DS, the New Nintendo 3DS also has a larger variant, the New Nintendo 3DS XL (New Nintendo 3DS LL (Newニンテンドー3DS LL) in Japan).[8]

The New Nintendo 3DS received positive reception from critics; although panning certain aspects of their designs (such as the micro SD slot placement), the consoles were praised for their improved performance, additional control options, and better 3D image quality.


The New Nintendo 3DS family features various changes from prior models. The systems feature a slightly refined design, featuring colored face buttons resembling the Super Famicom's and PAL version Super Nintendo Entertainment System's color scheme. The New Nintendo 3DS's screen is 1.2 times the size of the original Nintendo 3DS, while the screen of the XL variant is the same size as its predecessor. Some models are produced with an IPS screen for the upper display, but some still retain the old TN screen for upper display. There is no known correlation between model number or production date and display type. Nintendo has also not publicly addressed the discrepancies in production.[9][10][11][12] A new feature known as "Super Stable 3D" improves the quality of the systems' autostereoscopic 3D effects by using a sensor to detect the angle that the player is viewing the screen at, and adjusting the effects to compensate. The sensor is also used as an ambient light sensor for automatic brightness adjustment.[10][11]

Both systems' bodies are slightly larger than their previous iterations, with the XL variant weighing slightly less than the previous 3DS XL. The system's game card slot, stylus holder, and power button were re-located to the base. The hardware wireless switch was also replaced by a software toggle.[10][11][12] The standard New Nintendo 3DS features interchangeable front and back plates;[13] 38 different designs were available at launch in Japan. The XL variant does not allow use of these plates, instead having a couple of fixed metallic designs.[14]

The internal specifications of the device have also been updated, including additional processor cores, an increase to 256 MB of RAM, and near field communication support for use with Amiibo products.[11] Controls on the new systems were expanded with the inclusion of a pointing stick on the right hand side of the device, referred to as the "C-Stick", and additional ZL and ZR shoulder buttons, allowing for functionality equivalent to the Circle Pad Pro add-on peripheral released for previous models. These additional buttons are backwards-compatible with games programmed for use with Circle Pad Pro.[11]

Unlike previous models, which used standard SD cards, the New Nintendo 3DS line uses Micro-SD cards for data storage, which are stored alongside the battery behind the device's rear cover. Data can also be transferred to and from the SD card wirelessly using a PC running Windows 7 or higher.[10][11]

The new systems continue to use the same AC adapter as the DSi and other devices in the 3DS family; like the Nintendo 3DS XL in Japan and Europe, and for the first time in North America, an AC adapter is not included with the console and must be obtained separately.[10][11]

Software and services

Aside from minor adjustments to reflect its hardware design differences, the system software of the New Nintendo 3DS is otherwise identical to that of the original 3DS, offering online features such as Nintendo Network for multiplayer and online gaming, Nintendo eShop for downloading and purchasing games, and StreetPass and SpotPass.[10][11] The web browser was updated to include HTML5-based video playback support. On Japanese models, a content filter is active by default which can be disabled with the registration of a credit card, intended to prevent children from visiting mature websites.[15]


As with prior models, the New Nintendo 3DS family remains compatible with all games released for the 3DS and DS (excluding games using the Game Boy Advance cartridge slot). Some 3DS games have improved performance and/or graphics on the new systems due to their upgraded hardware. The C-Stick and ZL/ZR controls are backwards compatible with games that support the Circle Pad Pro add-on. Some games, such as Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, are specifically optimized for the upgraded hardware, and exclusive to New Nintendo 3DS with no support for prior models.[12][16] In March 2016, Nintendo began to release SNES titles on Virtual Console for New 3DS; they support a "Perfect Pixel" mode, which allows the games to be played in their original aspect ratio.[17][18]

Like previous models, all 3DS games and downloaded software are region-locked (DS cartridges remain region-free).[19] Due to its difference in size, peripherals designed to fit the shape of the original Nintendo 3DS cannot be used with the new system. Game data can be transferred from a previous 3DS system to a new system, either manually or wireless, though data from new systems cannot be transferred to older systems.[20][21]

On April 13, 2015, Unity Technologies announced that the Unity engine would support New Nintendo 3DS.[22]


New Nintendo 3DS XL in metallic black.
Display case featuring the New Nintendo 3DS and face plates at PAX Australia 2014.

The New Nintendo 3DS was first announced during a Japanese Nintendo Direct presentation streamed on August 29, 2014. The New Nintendo 3DS and 3DS LL were released in Japan on October 11, 2014; the regular-sized version was made available in black and white-colored versions, while the LL was made available in metallic blue and metallic black versions, with additional limited edition designs.[23] Over 38 different face plate designs were available on launch in Japan, which were showcased in a pre-launch television commercial that featured J-pop performer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu.[24] 230,000 units were sold in its first two days of availability.[2]

The New Nintendo 3DS and its XL variant were first released outside Japan—in Australia and New Zealand, on November 21, 2014, with the smaller model only available in white.[12] In Europe, the New Nintendo 3DS was first made available online on January 6, 2015 in a special white "Ambassador Edition" bundle, exclusive to Club Nintendo members, with a charging dock and two face plates included.[25]

On January 14, 2015, Nintendo announced that the new systems would be released at retail in North America and Europe on February 13, 2015. In Europe, the New Nintendo 3DS was available in black or white, and its XL variant in Metallic Black or Metallic Blue. In North America, the XL model was released in Metallic Red and Metallic Black (renamed "New Red" and "New Black"). Special The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate-themed variants were also released at launch in both regions.[26][27][28] 335,000 units were sold during its first week of availability in Europe and North America.[29]

Only the XL model was originally released in North America; although Nintendo did not rule out the possibility of a release of the regular New Nintendo 3DS in the future, Nintendo of America representative Damon Baker explained that they did not want to confuse consumers, and that the face plates were not enough of a reason for the smaller-sized system to be released in North America.[30][31] A social media campaign emerged that called upon Nintendo of America to release the model in North America.[32] In March 2015, the FCC lifted its information embargo regarding regulation details performed in September 2014 on the standard New Nintendo 3DS model, suggesting Nintendo of America did indeed consider releasing the smaller standard model at one point.[33]

On August 31, 2015, at the GameStop Managers Conference in Las Vegas, Nintendo of America confirmed that the standard New 3DS system would launch in the region on September 25, 2015, with an Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer-themed bundle including the console, game software, two faceplates, and an Amiibo card. A second The Legend of Zelda-themed XL bundle, the "Hyrule Edition", was also announced as a GameStop exclusive for release on October 30, 2015.[34]

In January 2016, a special Pokémon-themed New Nintendo 3DS bundle was announced for release in North America on February 27, 2016, to coincide with the 20th anniversary Virtual Console release of the original Pokémon games. The model is bundled with both Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, Charizard and Blastoise-themed faceplates, and a downloadable Home Menu skin.[35]

On August 26, 2016, another bundle was released in North America, containing 2 faceplates, and Super Mario 3D Land preinstalled. This bundle was called the Super Mario 3D Land Bundle, and is available at Target.

On November 25, 2016, a regular-sized 3DS was released in North America for Black Friday in two limited edition models: black and white, both with Mushroom Kingdom faceplates.[36] This was the first release of the black New 3DS model in North America.


Reviews of the New Nintendo 3DS line were mostly positive. Critics felt the new "Super-Stable 3D" system was successful in improving the consistency and viewing angles of the device's stereoscopic 3D effects, especially in games that require use of its gyroscope.[10][11][37] An IGN writer noted that "the constant swaying and occasional jolt of my morning train commute has only very occasionally shattered the new systems’ stereoscopic spell, and even then, the system quickly adjusts and snaps back into focus".[37] The improved technical specifications of the new systems were also noted, making the device's operating system more responsive and providing modest performance enhancements for existing games such as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.[11][37]

The incorporation of the Circle Pad Pro's additional shoulder buttons and secondary analog stick into the devices were praised, along with their potential for use in ports of games from home consoles.[10][37] Opinions were mixed on the design of the C-Stick itself, however; GameSpot felt it was "surprisingly responsive" and IGN drew comparisons to the similar pointing stick sometimes found on ThinkPad laptops, but felt that while good for occasional functions (such as camera control and aiming in third-person games), it would not function well for more intense use cases (such as first-person shooters) due to its size and lack of grip in comparison to the Circle Pad.[11][37]

Aspects of the devices' designs were noted; IGN felt that the face plate options on the regular-sized models added a level of personalization to the console, but that "[while] face plates will take off with younger gamers in particular, these accessories could just as easily end up in the bargain bin faster than you can say Limited Edition Perfect Dark Zero Xbox 360 face plate." Nintendo's decision to exclude this feature from the XL version was also considered odd.[37] Wired felt that the new locations for the power button, card slot, and stylus holder were "inconvenient".[10] Critics also felt the switch to MicroSD cards and the relocation of the SD card slot to the battery compartment would make manually transferring data from previous 3DS models trickier;[10][37] GameSpot lamented on the difficulty of unscrewing the rear cover off the XL, citing "stubborn screws and a panel that practically refuses to detach".[11] Nintendo's decision to not bundle an AC adapter with the new models was criticized, particularly in the case of first-time 3DS owners.[11][37]

GameSpot felt that the New Nintendo 3DS XL was "the best handheld Nintendo's ever made", and recommended it to first-time 3DS owners. In regards to existing 3DS owners, the new systems were recommended to those showing interest in its exclusives or wanting a better overall experience.[11] Giving the console an 8.8 out of 10, IGN concluded that "the additional controls and increased processing power set the system up nicely for the future, and if you’re late to the 3DS party, you’ve got a back catalogue that features not just some of the best handheld games in recent years, but some of the best games full stop."[37]

See also


  1. "The New Nintendo 3DS, plus scary games to get you ready for Halloween". The Japan Times.
  2. 1 2 "Nintendo's New 3DS and 3DS XL make strong start in Japan". October 15, 2014.
  4. "Consolidated Sales Transition by Region" (PDF). Nintendo. July 26, 2016. Retrieved July 27, 2016.
  5. Kohler, Chris (August 29, 2014). "With New 3DS Model, Nintendo Continues to Woo Hardcore Gamers". Wired. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  6. "New Nintendo 3DS And New Nintendo 3DS XL Announced, Are More Powerful – Siliconera". Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  7. "Nintendo announces New 3DS with C-stick, extra buttons and NFC".
  8. "Nintendo 3DS reborn as New 3DS: What you need to know". Tech Times.
  9. "New 3DS XL has a superior IPS display, the New 3DS does not.". Retrieved 13 March 2015.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Nintendo's New 3DS XL Isn't a Huge Upgrade, But It Will Be Eventually". Wired. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 "New 3DS XL Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  12. 1 2 3 4 Gera, Emily (August 29, 2014). "Nintendo reveals the New Nintendo 3DS". Polygon. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  13. "New Nintendo 3DS Will Have A Bunch Of Custom Design Plates – Siliconera". Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  14. Yannick LeJacq. "38 Lovely Faceplates for the New 3DS". Kotaku. Gawker Media.
  15. Neltz, András (August 29, 2014). "New 3DS 'Filters' The Internet In Japan". Kotaku. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
  16. "Games That Are Better On The New Nintendo 3DS". GameSpot. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  17. "SNES Classics Finally Coming to 3DS Virtual Console". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  18. "Nintendo bringing SNES games to Virtual Console on New Nintendo 3DS (update)". Polygon. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  19. "Nintendo's New 3DS will be region-locked". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  20. "Nintendo Answers Questions About The New Nintendo 3DS". Siliconera. Curse Inc. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  21. "New Nintendo 3DS Comes To Australia On November 21". Siliconera.
  22. P, Jenna (2015-04-13). "Unity Support is Heading to the New Nintendo 3DS". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  23. Nintendo 3DS Direct 2014.8.29 プレゼンテーション映像 on YouTube
  24. "This new Japanese 3DS ad may be the most colourful thing ever". CVG. Future. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  25. "New Nintendo 3DS comes to Europe as Ambassador Edition". Engadget. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  26. "New Nintendo 3DS XL hits North America Feb. 13". Polygon. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  27. "New Nintendo 3DS Release Date Confirmed—Only XL Version Coming to US". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  28. "New 3DS coming on February 13, no smaller version for North America". GamesRadar. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  29. Phillips, Tom (February 17, 2015). "New Nintendo 3DS sold 335k during EU/US launch week". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  30. "Nintendo Explains Why Smaller New 3DS Isn't Coming to US". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. January 15, 2015. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  31. Makuch, Eddie. "Nintendo Rep Explains Why Smaller New Nintendo 3DS Wasn't Released in US". GameSpot. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
  32. Schreier, Jason (2015-01-19). "People Really Want The Smaller New 3DS". Kotaku. Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  33. McMahon, Conor (2015-03-24). "Standard-Sized New Nintendo 3DS Photos Emerge On FCC Website in North America". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2015-05-06.
  34. "New Zelda-Themed 3DS and Face-Plate Capable 3DS Coming to US". GameSpot. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  35. "Pokémon celebrates its 20th anniversary with a New Nintendo 3DS bundle this February". Polygon. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  37. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Ogilvie, Tristan (20 November 2014). "New Nintendo 3DS & 3DS XL Review: A New Dimension". Ziff Davis. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
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