The Nintendo 3DS family is a family of handheld game consoles developed and sold by Nintendo since 2011. It succeeded the Nintendo DS line.
Throughout its lifetime, Sony's PlayStation Vita has been the main market competitor to the Nintendo 3DS family. There have been five models in the 3DS family: the original Nintendo 3DS and its XL variant, the Nintendo 2DS, and the New Nintendo 3DS and its XL variant. Similar to the Nintendo DS line, which has been highly successful, the Nintendo 3DS family has also been successful, with over 58 million units shipped as of late March 2016.
The Nintendo 3DS (abbreviated to 3DS) is a portable game console produced by Nintendo. It is capable of projecting stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or additional accessories. Nintendo announced the device in March 2010 and officially unveiled it at E3 2010 on June 15, 2010. The console succeeds the Nintendo DS, featuring backward compatibility with older Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi video games, and competes with the Sony PlayStation Vita handheld console.
The handheld offers new features such as the StreetPass and SpotPass tag modes, powered by Nintendo Network; augmented reality, using its 3D cameras; and Virtual Console, which allows owners to download and play games originally released on older video game systems. It is also pre-loaded with various applications including: an online distribution store called Nintendo eShop; a social networking service called Miiverse; an Internet Browser; the Netflix, Hulu Plus and YouTube streaming video services; Nintendo Video; a messaging application called Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in Europe and Australia); and Mii Maker.
The Nintendo 3DS was first released in Japan on February 26, 2011, and worldwide beginning in March 2011. Less than six months later on July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced a significant price reduction from US$249 to US$169 amid disappointing launch sales. The company offered ten free Nintendo Entertainment System games and ten free Game Boy Advance games from the Nintendo eShop to consumers who bought the system at the original launch price. This strategy was considered a major success, and the console has gone on to become one of Nintendo's most successfully sold handheld consoles in the first two years of its release. As of March 31, 2016, all Nintendo 3DS models and 2DS models combined have sold 58.85 million units.
The Nintendo 3DS XL (abbreviated to 3DS XL) is the first Nintendo 3DS handheld game console revision produced by Nintendo. It launched on July 28, 2012 in Japan and Europe, August 19, 2012 in North America, and August 23, 2012 in Australia and New Zealand. As with the transition from the Nintendo DSi to the DSi XL, the Nintendo 3DS XL features larger screens, longer battery life, and a greater overall size than the original Nintendo 3DS. The Nintendo 3DS XL is intended to complement the original 3DS, not replace it, as both models remain in production.
The Nintendo 2DS (abbreviated to 2DS) is a handheld game console developed by Nintendo. Announced in August 2013, the console released in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand on October 12, 2013, with a Japanese launch on February 27, 2016. The Nintendo 2DS is an entry-level version of the Nintendo 3DS which maintains compatibility with software designed for the Nintendo DS and 3DS, but uses a new slate-like design rather than the clamshell design used by its precursors and lacks the Nintendo 3DS's signature autostereoscopic 3D functionality.
Upon its unveiling, reception of the Nintendo 2DS was mixed, particularly regarding the design of the device which some reviewers felt was less appealing than that of the 3DS with some however commenting that it felt more robust. The Nintendo 2DS console is sold concurrently with the other models of the Nintendo 3DS family as an incentive to expand the market for Nintendo 3DS games. It is intended for a different audience than the 3DS, in particular children younger than seven years old, who are not recommended to use the 3DS's 3D functionality. Nintendo have stated however that 3D will remain a part of their future plans. Various publications praised its pricing and form-factor, but also criticized the console's poor aesthetics, sound quality, and battery life.
The New Nintendo 3DS, and its larger XL variant, are handheld game console models developed by Nintendo and announced on August 30, 2014. They feature a slightly modified 3DS and 3DS XL design and features the addition of two new shoulder buttons and a new C-stick, as well as a faster processor. They were released in Japan in October 2014, in Australia and New Zealand in November 2014, and at retail in Europe and North America in February 2015, with only the XL model available in the North American market at launch. However, the standard-sized New Nintendo 3DS was eventually released on September 25, 2015.
The Circle Pad Pro can attach to the Nintendo 3DS, and adds a second circle pad and ZR/ZL digital triggers. A model for the Nintendo 3DS XL, the Circle Pad Pro XL, is also available.
This accessory came bundled exclusively with every retail copy of Kid Icarus: Uprising. The stand made the game, and other games with similar controls such as Liberation Maiden, easier to play for various users, as it helped free the tension of suspending the console with one hand since the other hand would be using the stylus on the touch screen for longer periods than usual.
An NFC platform reader for Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, and Nintendo 2DS was released on September 25, 2015 alongside Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. This peripheral allows amiibo and other NFC-based items to be supported on the aforementioned consoles. The New Nintendo 3DS comes with an NFC reader already built-in.