First, Nintendo released the 3DS, a handheld console for playing 3D games with a cool gimmick enabling the game to be viewed in 3D without the need for stupid glasses. The console was released with only one analog stick, and while 3D games can be designed to be played with only one analog stick, most would agree the ideal for playing such 3D games would be two analog sticks, i.e. one for controlling the player character, and one for controlling the camera.
Although it was curious that it was not built-in from the get-go, Nintendo then released an add-on peripheral named the Circle Pad Pro, which added the functionality of a second analog stick while destroying the symmetry of the 3DS. The release of the peripheral also led many to believe that the inevitable refresh of the 3DS hardware would include a built-in second analog stick.
And now, Nintendo has announced the 3DS XL, pictured above to the right of the original 3DS iteration currently on sale. Notice the void on the right of the machine that could only be filled with a second analog stick, screaming for the ability to control 3D games with same efficiency as with home-console controllers. While the respective screens of the 3DS are 90% larger, and other aspects of the hardware have changed as well (including the available colors!), Nintendo has completely ignored the biggest omission of the original hardware, an omission they even attempted to correct with a peripheral. Said peripheral seemingly won’t even fit the new version of the hardware! The inclusion of a second analog stick seemed to be a no-brainer for the next iteration of the 3DS, so the announcement of the 3DS XL sans second stick makes me wonder what is missing over at Nintendo besides the brains.
This extraneous piece of hardware will be on sale on August 19th for $200, or about $30 more than the MSRP of the current iteration. Oh and also, the European and Japanese versions won’t be shipping with an AC adapter as a cost-saving measure. No word about the inclusion of an AC adapter with the North American version, but the omission of an AC adapter and the second analog stick in the 3DS XL are truly telling of the current state of affairs at Nintendo.