When Nintendo announced it would be bringing the XL version of the New Nintendo 3DS and not both size variants, like it did in Japan, it left many of us in North America scratching our heads as to why Nintendo of America would do that. After months of speculation, NOA’s senior manager Damon Baker revealed why exactly North America only received the New 3DS XL.
Baker spoke to Nintendo Life during Indiecade East where he explained NOA’s reasoning. “Look, the face plates are super cool, but we're a different market," he says. "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.”
He continues, “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."
Baker makes a valid point as the 2DS, 3DS, and New 3DS XL are very distinct products, making it easier for consumers to know what exactly they’re looking to purchase. Yes - Nintendo’s core audience wouldn’t be happy with the decision, although in recent years, the company has been making more of an effort to make that portion of its fan base happy.
At the end of the day, its US customers, core audience most likely included, gobbled up around 175,000 units of the New 3DS XL during its launch week. And as soon as Nintendo gets more of the handheld to retailers, I’m sure that number will just continue to rise. I just wish there was a way to get those cool face plates on the New 3DS XL.