Nintendo caused a bit of a stir Friday morning by unveiling two new handheld systems, literally called the "New 3DS" and "New 3DS LL." The devices -- which are bigger, brighter and more powerful than their predecessors -- court a class of more dedicated gamers whom Nintendo has been willing to cede to Sony, its main competitor in the portable game market. But, the company confirmed, gamers in the United States won't be seeing the new systems any time soon.
Nintendo's been having trouble in the console market -- the Wii U has sold 6.68 million units since 2012; the PlayStation 4 has sold 10 million in nine months -- and so it's encouraging for its fans to see it offer something exciting for handhelds. The newest additions to the 3DS line have controls more similar to console controllers -- extra buttons for more controls on the top corners, plus a second joystick to better manipulate complex movements and in-game camera angles. The devices also have support for more non-gaming functions, such as faster Web browsing and file-sharing capabilities -- savvy moves for a company that's seen interest for portable game devices fall as the smartphone has become more popular.
Nintendo will release the New 3DS and New 3DS LL in Japan on Oct. 11; a report from Eurogamer said the devices will launch in Europe sometime next year. There's no timeline set for the United States, Nintendo confirmed to The Washington Post. "Different territories make their own business decisions regarding individual products and timing," Nintendo of America said in a statement.
While Nintendo may not have new hardware to offer right now, the company does have a much-anticipated lineup of games in tow for the fall and into the holiday season, including a version of its "Super Smash Bros." for the existing 3DS models, and two new versions of its "Pokemon" series. With sales of "Mario Kart 8," an updated take on the classic racing game, giving a much-needed boost to Wii U this summer, things may actually be looking up for Nintendo.