Nintendo's New 3DS features faster speeds, more 3D viewing angles, NFC support, and a new C-button; the first announced title for the handheld is Xenoblade Chronicles.
In a Japanese Nintendo Direct this morning, Nintendo revealed its plans for a new handheld: the New 3DS and New 3DS XL. Nintendo announced the first game for the upgraded handheld, Xenoblade Chronicles, which will not be playable on older 3DS models.
The New 3DS has been revamped for both the smaller and larger sizes. Battery life on the New 3DS is 3.5 to 6 hours, while the battery lasts for 3 to 5 hours on the older model. Battery life for the New 3DS XL (note that in Japan the XL is called the LL) is 3.5 to 7 hours, compared to 3.5 to 6.5 on the original XL. The sizes of the new models are relatively the same as their older models. The New 3DS XL is a little lighter, and the New 3DS is a little heavier and a bit larger.
Nintendo noted the 3D functionality has improved and can be viewed from more angles. Considering how often people do not use the 3D slider due to headaches from the 3DS needing to be in a certain position, the improved 3D could encourage more people to keep the 3D on.
Additional triggers, revamped face buttons, and a C-button (named after the GameCube's yellow C-stick) are a part of the New 3DS. The C-button allows dual analog controls in New 3DS games. An additional circle pad was only available on older 3DS models as the 3DS Circle Pad Pro peripheral.
The New 3DS is faster thanks to a faster CPU. Because of this games made specifically for the New 3DS will not be supported on older models. Xenoblade Chronicles, which came out on the Wii in 2010 in Japan (2011 in Europe and Australia, 2012 in North America), is one such case. It will make use of the New 3DS's upgraded hardware and will not be playable on the older 3DS.
The upgraded handheld will support microUSB and NFC-reading technology. Nintendo has planned a NFC reader device for the upcoming Amiibo toys for the 3DS.
Like a mobile phone, the New 3DS will be customizable through various face plates. So far, face plates featuring Mario, Peach, and Animal Crossing are planned.
The New 3DS is expected to release in Japan first on October 11. Nintendo confirmed to Eurogamer that it plans to launch the New 3DS in Europe in 2015, which is likely around t he same time it will launch in North America. Xenoblade Chronicles on the New 3DS will also release next year.
Much of the buzz for today's Nintendo Direct will be over the New 3DS, but Nintendo also included some news for the current 3DS model. A 3DS firmware update in October will have customized themes, including Animal Crossing: New Leaf, a classic Mario theme, and Legend of Zelda: Link Between Worlds.