Nintendo, long time makers of video game consoles for the living room and those that fit in a pocket, is apparently wasting no time in prepping for the launch of the new Nintendo 3DS handheld it unveiled earlier this year. This morning the new Nintendo 3DS appeared in a filing with the FCC ahead of its eventual release.
The documents provided to the Federal Communications Commission in the United States don’t exactly reveal a lot that we didn’t know already about the new Nintendo 3DS. There are no new pictures to gawk at, no lightly colored plastic and joysticks to admire. Instead, the filling consists mostly of documents revealing test results for interference with radio signals and Nintendo’s request for confidentiality. A single picture does depict where the labeling and FCC ID on the new Nintendo 3Ds will go. The documents also confirm what Nintendo has already revealed – that the new Nintendo 3DS will support NFC or Near Field Communication technology.
By chance NFC is the same technology that Android and Windows Phone devices have included for years. Also, Apple began shipping the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus with NFC technology so that users can pay for their groceries and more using the company’s new ApplePay service. Nintendo won’t be doing anything like that with the NFC built into the new Nintendo 3DS though. The company is including the technology in its next major handheld gaming refresh so that its users can add some of their favorite characters into its.
So, for example, users will be able to add Mario to their game by buying a Nintendo-made Mario figurine and tapping it on their new Nintendo 3DS. Nintendo revealed that it was working on a way for players to pick up figurines and get some kind of enhanced gameplay shortly before its E3 2014 streaming event. This will be the first time NC technology has even been used in a Nintendo handheld, but it’s not the first time NFC has been used successfully in gaming. What Nintendo is doing is very similar to what Skylanders offers players on current and last generation consoles already. The difference here is that Nintendo has already built an ecosystem around these sorts of toys. It’s relatively new Nintendo Wii U console has a controller that already includes NFC. Presumably, users who own both consoles will be able to use their figures between the two. We do know that these figures will have uses on many of Nintendo’s titles. Nintendo is calling this new line of toys Amiibo.
Other than these feature additions, there’s a bunch more for buyers to look forward to. New bumper buttons are also included in the new Nintendo 3DS, along with a small joystick above the XBYA buttons that were already on the right of the device. Nintendo isn’t leaving much to chance with upgraders, it’s hoping that these new button configurations will convince users to upgrade, but just to make sure it’s throwing in a faster processor. This faster processor should make things like downloading games from the Nintendo 3DS’ store less painful. Users can also expect custom covers for the device.
When it arrives on store shelves the new Nintendo 3DS will come in two flavors. One version is meant for small hands and will have roughly the same footprint as today’s Nintendo 3DS. The new Nintendo 3DS XL will be bigger and have a larger screen than the normal version. So far, Nintendo has only confirmed that it’s not planning to launch either console in the United States until 2015. That’s well after the holiday buying season has swept through America. As such, it’s not the best time to purchase a Nintendo 3DS this year.