3DS Second Analog Stick: Pros And Cons
Two circle pads may not cure what ails Nintendo's system.
This morning, we awoke to the rumor that Nintendo may be hard at work on some sort of analog stick peripheral for 3DS; Rumor: Nintendo Will Release New 3DS In 2012.
The attachment would snap onto the system in some fashion, giving players the same dual stick experience they have on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and soon, PlayStation Vita.
What's more, Nintendo may also redesign the entire 3DS from the ground up, releasing the new unit (presumably with a two built in circle pads) sometime in 2012.
You don't need a degree in engineering to understand why two sticks would enhance the device.
At the same time, taking such a drastic measure may come with some potentially damaging consequences.
With this in mind, here's a short list of pros and cons Nintendo should consider before making this important decision.
Advantages to having a second analog stick
Distances 3DS from DS
Initially, we disliked how much 3DS resembled DS. For the most part, new video game systems have distinguishing characteristics from their predecessors, yet in this case, Nintendo chose to mostly reuse the DS blueprint.
We think this created buyer confusion, with budget conscious parents unwilling to invest (at the time) $249.99 in a system that looks almost exactly like the one they purchased for their kids months ago.
With this in mind, a second analog stick provides a unique selling point.
Offers advanced control
Some devout Nintendo supporters probably feel the 3DS doesn't need a second analog stick because of the touch screen, and they have a point. Using the circle pad in conjunction with the stylus would provide a similar method of control.
Then again, gamers love having options. Nintendo shouldn't force them to use the touch screen to control a first person shooter. Instead, a second analog stick would give them another means to manipulate the in-game camera.
Pulls Nintendo even with the competition
Putting another analog stick on 3DS would eliminate one major difference between Nintendo's handheld and Sony's PlayStation Vita. This may also result in third parties bringing games that require two sticks to both machines instead of one.
Disadvantages to having a second analog stick
Creates buyer confusion
Sony fans begged the publisher for a second analog stick on PSP even before the system was released. Certainly, the company could have given in with a redesign, but chose to retain the original button layout.
Ultimately, this created uniformity across the entire PSP library, where every game works with each new iteration. If Nintendo and third parties start releasing games that only work with a second stick, everyone involved will need to launch an aggressive marketing campaign that educates current 3DS owners so they don't purchase incompatible software.
Peripheral adds another $10 to the cost of 3DS
If the rumor is true, the analog stick peripheral will run 3DS users another $10 on top of the $249.99 or $169.99 they paid for the system.
Unless, of course, Nintendo gives them away. We could see that happening.
Could ruin Nintendo's image
It's rare to see a redesign a year after a system hits shelves, so Nintendo must be careful when it announces and then releases a newly designed 3DS. Having that second analog stick is cool and all, but it may also spit in the face of shoppers that just bought the current model.