News Article

3DS Too Full of Gadgets to Make a 3DS Lite Possible

Posted by James Newton

Iwata talks, size matters

Ever since before the 3DS was officially unveiled, gamers claimed they would wait until the so-called "inevitable" revision that has accompanied all Nintendo's portable hardware over the years: you need only look at the number of iterations of the original GameBoy, GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS consoles to realise the 3DS won't always look as we know it now. Nintendo doesn't want you to get your hopes up just yet though, as it has no short-term plans for a slimmer, lighter model.

In the latest Iwata Asks the Nintendo President chats with hardware designer Kenichi Sugino, who reveals the currently 3DS hardware uses all the space-saving tricks learnt from the DS Lite to make it as tiny as possible.

That's why we don't have any short-term plans for creating a more compact version of Nintendo 3DS like we did with Nintendo DS Lite.

Nobuo Nagai, Nintendo's senior director of its manufacturing division, is similarly adamant:

This time it's fully packed right from the start.

Naturally, as Nintendo's research and development division continues to investigate newer technologies it'll become possible to make the machine smaller, the screens bigger and introduce new features, but for now it seems Nintendo is pretty happy with the console's stature.


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User Comments (65)



Gavin_Rozee said:

That's cool, I guess. Hopefully they do have "short term plans" to sell a separate larger mah battery.



NintyMan said:

I think they can still make it smaller, but not for another two years at least. For now, I would be happy enough with an ordinary 3DS.



moosa said:

@1 Don't just assume it's a simple matter of Nintendo not putting in a bigger battery. Current battery technology is a big limiting factor. If Nintendo could have gotten away with a higher capacity battery without making the machine $50 pricier and 50% bulkier, I'm sure they would have.



Quazzaazazazaazaza said:

I hadn't even thought of making a 3DS any smaller...but I bet they'll make some kind of improvement, like the DSi and the DSi XL.



Kevin said:

For those hoping for a other model soon you better pay up NOW.



moosa said:

Aside from size alone... what do you guys think Nintendo could add to/improve about the system down the line?



Megumi said:

I'll say it again....That's what they want you to think. :3
lol, hope they mean it this time though....then again I doubt it. xD



PALgamer said:

I think the next 3DS will be slightly bigger (like the DSi with respect to DSL) with a bigger 3D screen that is more energy efficient, it's the only part they can improve. Maybe make it matte again (hate glossy electronics) and add a trackpad to the bottom like the NGP?
They messed up using 4:3 in the screen bellow, that one should have been 5:3 too, so not expecting an upgrade to widescreen for the lower one.



Chris77 said:

Not that you'd announce plans for a smaller version in 12 months, but I can see a lower unit price without the cradle. Original ipods shipped with wall chargers, and docks. I could see this ending the same way, down to just the unit and USB charging, with the other stuff optional purchase.



aaronsullivan said:

Only upgrade I'd be interested in is BIGGER. I'd take longer battery life, too, of course. It's clearly already in a Lite form factor. Can't make it much smaller without transforming the controls into a tighter cramp-inducing machine. There's no hardware backwards compatibility to remove, it already has all the hardware necessary for improving the store, removing friend codes, etc. Maybe 3G or 4G cell internet connectivity could be added? Doesn't seem very Nintendo and would require a subscription cost. So, I wouldn't hold out for a lite for any shrinking or new tech. Maybe price reduction.

My advice is get it now. The novelty of the 3D will be quite a rush to show off to friends and family and people who wait will miss out on that. It's like the latecomers to the Wii. There was such a fun fervor and excitement about it. It was a blast to be right on top of things as they started. Your mileage may vary of course.

No way they'll be adding the reverse trackpad later in the game as it would take some unique approaches in games to make use of it compared to the touch screen.

Gotta hand it to Sony, though, it is cool. There have been patents and rumors of that type of design for touchscreen devices for a long time and Sony is likely going to be the first to market with it. The only possible upset there is with Apple's next iPhone revision in June as Apple had a patent out for a backside touch surface a long time ago. I don't really see it though. Without some way to know where your finger is before pressing it has limited use for the iPhone beyond gestures and games. No point and touch if you can't tell where you are pointing before you touch.

(Edit: as poster above mentioned, I didn't think of the cradle. I'm not so sure Nintendo wants to get rid of that, though. It's an incentive to leave your 3DS on and internet connected indefinitely, so things can happen while you aren't using it. Maybe.)



Rensch said:

It looks very similar to previous DS models such as the DS Lite or DSi which are fine to me anyway. Why Change that which is good in the first place. Heck, the DSi even had an XL model.



zionich said:

From a guy that went from the DS Lite to the DSi XL, bigger isnt always better. First thing I noticed was they system was to bulky to play games with simular play styles to Metroid Prime: Hunters, and im 31 years old. Not being pocket sized really got annoying, good luck on that NGP (PsP2). And the fact that the screen resolution stayed the same really did make some of the games much boxier. All that to say, if they made an XL version of some sort, I wouldnt recommend buying it unless they fixed some of these issues.



Just10 said:

Hopefully they'll at least drop the price a little and put out more colors by the time it is a year older.



irken004 said:

Kinda figured that. It practically looks like a DS Lite in terms of being compact.



Kid_A said:

That's why they have the Animal Crossing clock on DSiWare! It's more fun to pay money for things that should have been included in the first place.



Zsxdflip said:

Sweet, now I wont have to torture myself by telling myself to wait for the redesign (but I am waiting for red 3DS).



Victoria said:

I don't want it smaller, either. I want bigger. I want one with a touch screen that's AT LEAST the size of the DSi's. Between the smaller touch screen and the 3D screen, getting a 3DS is going to be like downgrading to something that I'll struggle to see.



TrueWiiMaster said:

I had no intention of missing the launch anyway. The DSlite came out almost 2 years after the DS. Imagine all that wasted time!



Monkeh said:

At least the 3DS already looks good, not like the DS Phat which was just ugly as hell.



zezhyrule said:

Yeah sure, telling us that now, and then when everyone buys one because they think there won't be a lite, BAM! 3DSlite announced.



motang said:

So is Iwata saying I should cancel my pre-order and hold off till the Lite version comes out??



EdEN said:

Well, technology can always be shrunk as time goes on but yeah, I believe they'll take their time with a redesign. Maybe make it 3 years this time... unless sales go south FAST.



GC-161 said:

Here's how many revisions the DS had:

Starting from the original model...

DS - 2004

DSL - 2006

DSi - 2008/09

DSi XL - 2009-10

There usually was a period of 2 years before a new one came about.

This should help anyone wanting to wait to pick up a 3DS. Even if they have to wait at least 2 years.



Token_Girl said:

They may not make a significantly smaller one (there's really not much room to make it smaller anyways, given space for screen, buttons, etc.). You can bet there will be some sort of new addition though. If the DSiXL sells well, I bet we'll see an XL version of the 3DS at some point too. They'll find something to add to make more $$$.



DarkKirby said:

In theory (based on what we've seen of the disassembled 3DS), even 3rd party developers could make a larger battery, in capacity, not size, to make the 3DS have a better battery life. It's possible, the 3DS has the battery it does, to keep costs down. Many popular smartphones are the same, they are sold with a battery, but batteries exist on the same size that are of a larger capacity.



Doma said:

It's too full with gadgets huh... then how about removing some of the garbage?
I'd gladly pay more for a redesign with; no 3D, no gyroscope, no camera and improved battery life.

Make it happen Nintendo.



Iggy said:

There going to be coming out with a new model down the road for sure. Whether they improve the battery or make the screens bigger. Or they could do what they did with the wii and only release different colors. Im just going to wait and see. Because as soon as the new wii comes out im not really going to care if i have a 3DS or not.



Doma said:

I'm talking much improved. Heck, i wouldn't even mind adding 'smaller screens' to the list if it helps achieve this. There's no need for oversized screens on portable system now, is there?

The 3DS itself is undesirable to me ATM, the games interest far more. I think it would be a smart move for Nintendo to plan a redesigned with those things considered.



Ret said:

I'm waiting for the extended battery life and better, sharper screen version.



Punny said:

That's a good thing. I just want one 3DS. Any new model should come much later, maybe with an improved battery.



nmozdzier said:

"This time it's fully packed right from the start." Haha, what about eShop and the DSi Shop game transfer? Huh? Aren't part of the package? I mean I applaud Nintendo for getting the 3DS out ASAP, but you know, can we get the whole 3DS out at the same time?



Peznaze said:

Given what they need to add is a bigger battery and second inward-facing camera, they'll likely jump straight to 3DS XL. Bigger is better, as they say.



eddypikachu said:

I actually new that they werent gonna do this, because really 3DS lite?! The 3DS is already smaller than the ds lite?! why would they makee it even smaller!?



MeloMan said:

I take this article with a grain of salt...

1) Telling folks to not expect a revision is one way to ensure sales go up because it'll make people jittery about waiting for the revision to the point they will run out and buy 3DS v1.0 ASAP.

2) Now that word is out about the paltry battery life, trust me, Nintendo R&D is HARD AT WORK to come up with the first revision of the 3DS which has priority one of extending battery life. And despite what Iwata says, I STILL expect a revision within 1 year (I'll give 1 1/2 years)... die hard 3DSers will want more battery life, charging cradle or not.

I also see 3rd parties cashing in on backup battery packs hard this time around... even with extra hardware, who wouldn't want to extend their 3DS's battery life?



Moco_Loco said:

I'm not too fussed. I'm in no hurry to get yet another portable gaming device. There are plenty of DS games I haven't played and my phone takes care of my portable gaming during the work week.



skywake said:

and I come to comment on a dead thread again... three things:
1. Battery technology is changing rapidly especially with the rise of the electric car. There is a new battery tech coming out in the next year that promises 8x more capacity for the same size or 1/8th the size/weight for the same capacity. Cost doesn't drop though but costs are dropping anyways.

2. OLED. Really, what else do I need to say? Another tech moving rapidly that will become commonplace before the 3DS' life is over. OLED promises and delivers brighter screens, higher contrasts and lower power consumption for eventually lower prices than LED backlit LCD. They already appear in portables.

3. Processor revisions. A 2011 Wii is something like 30% more power efficient than a launch model was and is a lot cheaper to make. This will happen with the 3DS but don't expect much fanfare or a new model to launch it. Did you even know there was a "new" Wii?

..... I don't want it smaller, the DS Lite is small enough and it's about the size of a DS Lite. That's fine by me. The battery life will improve with revisions but I'm not going to be waiting for that!



Nintendoftw said:

This isn't a good thing at all. With at most being 5-8 hours of battery life Nintendo BETTER remake this thing... Seriously Nintendo... And no 3G?



28greg said:

@ Robo-goose
Haha lol is that a reference to the spywatch from spykids2?
Anyway it DOES acually have a clock.



Vinsanity said:

I'm not picking one up until there are actually some amazing games for it. I'm not thrilled to pick up Ocarina for a 4th or 5th time, even though they went back and redid all the assets. Kid Icarus completely crushed my enthusiasm once they announced the stupid touch screen "mouselook" controls. The same garbage controls that make Metroid Prime Hunters and any other DS FPS suck. SUPER Street Fighter IV is great; which is why I'll play it on my PS3 some more.

I don't see any game so far that blows me away. It took the DS MONTHS to prove itself and find a fresh, killer app (Kirby's Cursed Canvas, thank you very much). Until the 3DS finds it's own Cursed Canvas, I don't care. And I'll bet that they'll have a hardware revision - the 3DS Lite - before they find that game. We'll see how Iwata changes his tune when they actually announce a 3DS Lite probably about a year and a half from now...



suburban_sensei said:

^^^ Exactly my thoughts. I know there are probably people who will read the news and say, "Well, why wait if they aren't releasing a better version?" We have seen this cycle far too often, we know there will be a revision. I for one, don't mind waiting 2 years, with college and work and such. In 2 years I will be finishing up my degree, which gives me PLENTY of time to play the 3DS with no more classes



Nintendophile said:

Really, at this point, what did you expect him to say? "Yes, we'll be releasing a better model relatively soon, so please, everyone wait to buy THAT model instead." Hehe. No, he said exactly what he was supposed to say, so that people will want to buy it NOW.



StarDust4Ever said:

I have huge hands. I hate tiny consoles because they make my hands hurt. I normally wear baggy jeans so shoving crap in my pockets is no big deal to me. I can actually fit an entire DS game case (which is indeed bigger than a DS) in most of my pants pockets. It really ticked me off when the DSiXL came out; I ended up passing it by because I wanted one but couldn't transfer my games to it. Now I may just get a cheap used DSiXL (if the touch screen is in good condition) and use it solely for playing DS carts, and perhaps download all of the Game N' Watch DSiware games for nostalgia.



Capt_N said:

As a business, they want us to purchase the 1st model. There will definitely be an upgrade. & this whole thinking is Nintendo's own fault: They have pre-disposed us, mostly w/ the GBA, & DS families, to being fully aware that in given time a newer model will appear, & that they(Nintendo) will add just enough to make the newer model better than the older.



Pj1 said:

Oh come on they're not going to talk about a 3DS lite for at least a couple of years......



salty1264 said:

all the more reason to buy soon cause youll have too wait longer for the light like 3 years maybe

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