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Nintendo is making two new versions of its 3DS portable console, arriving in Japan this October

Nintendo is making two new versions of its 3DS portable console, arriving in Japan this October
Ben Gilbert
Ben Gilbert|@RealBenGilbert|August 29, 2014 8:17 AM

Nintendo releases recorded video presentations, known as "Nintendo Direct," pretty often. Usually they're focused on games, or they highlight an upcoming season's game releases. This morning, however, Nintendo revealed two new versions of its wildly successful 3DS portable game console. And just like the Mario series, Nintendo's not pulling any punches when it comes to naming conventions: the new 3DS is simply called "New" 3DS. And yes, there's a "New" version of the larger 3DS XL, too.

As seen above, the smaller "New" 3DS has Super Nintendo-themed buttons on the right side. Just above those buttons is a new, tiny analog stick. Bizarrely, Nintendo's president Satoru Iwata compared the new analog stick to the GameCube controller's yellow C-stick (which was rarely used in GameCube games).

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Beyond the new analog stick (it's really more of a nub, isn't it?), NFC tech is now built into the 3DS, making this holiday's Amiibo figures all the more logical. There's also a new microSD card reader below the base panel (which is now easily swappable for new designs) -- convenient! Oh, and in case it wasn't clear from the images, the "New" 3DS models are both slimmer and taller than the previous models.

There are two shoulder buttons now on each side as well, and the cartridge slot's been moved to the bottom front. There's also word of a new CPU inside the new 3DS, but we've got next to no info about it thus far. Presumably it helps with the new "Super-Stable 3D" functionality -- which Nintendo says "will provide players with an even more comfortable 3D gaming experience" -- though we'll need more info before we can be sure.

The "New" 3DS will be available this October 11th, but they've been announced for Japan only thus far; a press release from Nintendo says that North America and Europe shouldn't expect the new 3DS until some point in 2015. Pricing in Japan ranges from about $150 for the smaller version to about $180 for the XL ("LL" in Japan).

In other Nintendo news, the company this morning announced release dates and rollout plans for its Amiibo NFC figurines. The first 12 ("Mario, Peach, Link, Samus, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Pikachu, Kirby, Fox, Marth, Villager and Wii Fit Trainer") are available for pre-order starting today, and there's no solid release date given; they cost $12.99 apiece. That said, they'll need to be available in time for Super Smash Bros. Wii U -- arriving at some point "this holiday season" -- as that's the first game that'll use them. Nintendo says that first dozen is just the beginning, and there's "more on the way in the future."

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Nintendo is making two new versions of its 3DS portable console, arriving in Japan this October