A quick snapshot of a page from Famitsu magazine has been circulating the internet, depicting an add-on for Nintendo’s 3DS handheld which adds a right thumbstick to the device. It turns out the ridiculous looking add-on is real and now confirmed by Nintendo.
The image from Famitsu was originally posted up on twitter by @South1996 and it shows a device that essentially wraps around the bottom of the 3DS and includes an analog stick which is placed to the right of the existing face buttons. Nintendo calls the add-on the circle pad and told Kotaku,
“We can confirm that Nintendo plans to release the Circle Pad attachment, but Nintendo’s regional subsidiaries will make further announcements about its availability at a later date.”
Nintendo didn’t go on to give any other information including release dates or prices. This attachment kind of makes sense in the wake of the rumor that Monster Hunter Tri will be released on 3DS. The Monster Hunter series is hugely popular in Japan and perhaps just the software boost the 3DS needs to bump up disappointing sales numbers. Nintendo already tried to drive those numbers up with a massive price cut not 6 months after release. Monster Hunter Tri G for 3DS could be the shot in the arm the handheld needs.
A very similar thing happened when Monster Hunter was announced for the Wii. That announcement resulted in the release of the Classic Controller which featured two analog sticks to make playing Monster Hunter actually a possibility on the console. The real question here is: will Nintendo bundle this 3DS attachment in with the game or charge separately for it?
The other really big issue here is that adding a second analog stick has the potential to really splinter the 3DS user base. If Nintendo develops games specifically with the circle pad in mind, then it forces consumers to put up for the attachment or not play those games. This same issue came up with Sony and the PSP. A second analog nub was never added to the PSP because of these exact concerns and was instead included in its successor, the PlayStation Vita. How this all hashes out will be very interesting, especially with the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) right around the corner.
Personally, I think this thing is too big and bulky for my taste. I’m definitely not going to buy one myself and I’ll be a bit miffed it Nintendo announces a hardware revision that builds this second stick into the console. I totally understand the concept of the early adopter tax, but I’m not all about supporting a huge, console user base splitting revision less than a year after release.
Would you buy one of these add ons for a game like Monster Hunter? What if Nintendo starts making first party games requiring it? How much would you be willing to pay?