The New 3DS announcement had such a promising start. Nintendo revealed we’d be getting the system on February 13, 2015, as the rumors had fortold. We learned The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate would be there with us at launch, with special models even coming for both games. We even found out we would be getting the first, New 3DS-exclusive game, Xenoblade Chronicles , in April 2015. Everything seemed ideal.
Except, a pallor quickly fell over the affair. Soon, people realized that only one sort of New 3DS was announced. Not the standard model, quickly accepted and beloved for its ability to shed it’s skin and be the technological equivalent of a chameleon. No, Nintendo did something people thought impossible. It region-locked faceplates. It took away the freedom of choice from North American residents, making it the only major region where someone could get a smaller model that allowed for unlimited customization.
It may seem odd for me to write an article discussing the displeasure with this decision. After all, I’ve mentioned before that the New 3DS XL is the model I want. It’s a disservice to other people, however. The New 3DS is a unique system and I’m certain there are people here who would have preferred it to the slightly larger, more typical, New 3DS XL. It isn’t right or fair for Nintendo to place this kind of limitation. If the 3DS models were region-free, like the DS, there wouldn’t be an issue, but the company’s mindset is locked in the past.
What makes it worse is that this isn’t the only New 3DS XL misstep. Another is the lack of power cord. Yes, if you buy a New 3DS XL, you aren’t going to be able to use the $199.99 device unless you also spend additional money on an AC adapter. It works with the 3DS power cord, which is good for people who are upgrading, but the exclusion is a slap in the face to people who are newcomers to the 3DS family. If you get a system, you expect to also get everything you need to start using it in the box.
Even the New 3DS XL Majora’s Mask 3D edition isn’t without its darker undertones. There’s a collectible variation, but it’s only at GameStop and sold out minutes. It looks delightful, but also doesn’t include a copy of the game. Yes, it isn’t unusual for a themed system to not include the game on which the design is based, but when it’s released at the launch of a new model, you expect a little something extra.
All of these things add up to a rather disappointing, New 3DS XL launch. Considering the size of the North American market, the Wii U’s performance, and the potential for a new 3DS, one would think Nintendo would want to seize every opportunity to make it a success. Limiting people’s options, forcing people to pay extra for a cord needed to use the system, and not making one of the most desirable launch bundles the very best isn’t doing that.