Is the 3DS Lite Coming Out Next Spring? Wonders a Japanese Magazine

Illustration for article titled Is the 3DS Lite Coming Out Next Spring? Wonders a Japanese Magazine

Japanese magazine Nikkei Trendy put forth a question that's nagging us all: is Nintendo releasing a 3DS Lite?

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In a recent issue of the publication that looks at 2012, Trendy wrote, "To increase the 3DS's install base, there's a possibility for a lighter version that addresses the handheld's weak points, the thickness and the battery life."

The article is accompanied by a header that reads "spring", implying that Trendy expects the unannounced 3DS Lite to be out then.

A spring 3DS Lite isn't the only thing that makes sense—a 3DS Lite does. With Nintendo's release of a second circle pad (which Trendy did not mention), a hardware revision is imminent.

Last summer, Nintendo said that customers should not wait for a new 3DS iteration. The Kyoto-based game maker has not confirmed a 3DS Lite.

The DS Lite, a lighter and brighter version of the original Nintendo DS, was released in Mar. 2006 in Japan. The original DS, however, was released in Dec. 2004 in Japan, which means if the 3DS Lite speculation were correct, the 3DS Lite would be out quicker than its DS Lite counterpart.

That's what this is, speculation. Nikkei Trendy often places educated guesses on when new products will be released and on how much they'll cost. "Isn't this just another delusional article from Nikkei Trendy?" a Japanese commenter wrote online.

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Maybe, but something about a 3DS Lite this spring seems less impossible and more plausible.

「3DS Lite」今年の春に登場か!? [オレ的ゲーム速報]

DISCUSSION

Ok, I first wrote this as a reply to someone else here, but I feel it holds well enough on its own to be posted as a stand alone comment, with a couple revisions for context.

I honestly don't think any future revision of the 3DS will include a second slide pad. That would fracture the market way too heavily. Keeping the second slide pad as a optional accesory makes more sense, business-wise.

However, there's definitely a lot of room for improvement on the current design of the 3DS, which has a lot of flaws:

- First, the basic form factor, where the corners are too sharp, making it uncomfortable to hold when compared to the PSP (and I guess the Vita).

- Second, the d-pad feel. Nintendo has always been awesome with their d-pads, but the 3DS's one is seriously lacking when compared with any previous one.

- Third, the shoulder buttons, they are too small, and way too clicky. It was definitely a step down from the feel of the shoulder buttons of the DS Lite.

- Fourth, the face buttons (a.b,y,x). There's nothing inherently wrong with them, really, they control just fine, but for some reason my right hand starts hurting after a prolonged session of Mario Kart 7, due to me having to keep the Y button pressed all the time to accelerate. That didn't happen to me with Mario Kart DS on my DS, for some reason. I think that maybe those buttons are a bit more clicky and harder to press, and while it's not noticeable on any game where you just tap the buttons, it becomes more apparent on games where you need to keep a button pressed for a certain amount of time.

- Fifth, battery life. I know battery technology hasn't advanced a lot, but it would be nice if they found a way to enable the system to be turned on for longer amounts of time. 3 - 4 hours is really too short, specially considering how Nintendo always prided themselves on giving their portables long battery life.

- Sixth, the issue of the bezel in the lower screen leaving marks on the sides of the upper screen (and lately, I've noticed my own slide pad starting to leave a mark on the upper part, as well. I'm constantly cleaning my 3DS to prevent the marks from setting in permanently, and that's an unacceptable design flaw).

- Lastly, if they made a XL model (big screens like the XL DSi), and addressed everything I listed above, I would buy it in a heartbeat, then transfer everything from my first 3DS to there and give the old 3DS to my GF.

I'm actually expecting Nintendo to release a XL 3DS sometime down the road. Not a "Lite". The current model of the 3DS is small enough, so size isn't really an issue here.

^_^