Damon Baker, Senior Manager in Licensing and Marketing at Nintendo of America, has said in an interview with online gaming site Nintendo Life that the reason the standard-sized New 3DS console did not make it to America is to ease confusion.
“We’re a different market. And now we have clear differentiation between those three systems. Before, there was a very limited difference between the 3DS and 3DS XL: other than size. It was the same resolution, same functionality… now, there’s the 2DS, 3DS, and New 3DS XL, all of which have their own functionality and features. The different price points give it a clear message for consumers. The core audience… we weren’t going to win with them on that decision. But we had to think about expanding the user base, we had to be able to market it and make it easy to pick up for consumers.”
The core audience statements follow a common trend among many American fans who were looking forward to the release of the New 3DS since the standard size was heavily advertised to feature changing faceplates for players who wanted to change their system’s appearance without the need for buying an entirely new console. Especially with the release of new major titles.
Given that there were rumors of the original 3DS being discontinued shortly after the E3 reveal of the New 3DS, the sudden failure for Americans to have any size options at all for the new console seemed perplexing.
No doubt many will be disappointed to learn of this news. After all, one of the heavily advertised and featured uses of the 3DS console was the Streetpass functions on many games, smaller consoles seem a more natural fit for that purpose. Also, coming from a company whose last generation handheld had come originally as a Nintendo DS, Nintendo DS Lite, Nintendo DSi, and Nintendo DSi-XL, easing market confusion has never been much of a priority.
It should be noted that both the New 3DS and New 3DS XL continue to be on sale in European, Asian and Australasian territories. North America is the only region affected.
Despite the perplexing reasoning for the American availability limitations, the interview also spoke positively on the future of Nintendo’s communications with its fanbase, indie support, and more cooperation between first and third party. So there’s still plenty to love for American handheld fans, even if these big things aren’t destined to come in small packages.