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Opinion: Nintendo is taking advantage of consumers with the Circle Pad Pro XL

Good for Nintendo, not for consumers
Product: Circle Pad Pro | Publisher: Nintendo
Circle Pad Pro 3DS, thumbnail 1
Talk about taking advantage of a messed up situation.

When Nintendo didn't put a second analogue on the original 3DS, it was an error that it couldn't really fix without a (very bulky) workaround.

The problem was that the lack of a second stick was not obvious issue to begin with. The Nintendo DS only had one directional input, so why would the 3DS need one?

However, as it became apparent that numerous games and genres were being under-represented by the lack of a second stick (see Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater, for example), and then with the launch of the dual-stick PS Vita, suddenly the 3DS was caught short.

Unfortunately, the only way to fix this was to introduce a bulky docking station for the 3DS that strapped on to the bottom of the handheld. It needed another battery, and communicated over the relatively ancient technology of infrared.

It's arguable that the Circle Pad Pro was the only way to go about it, so fair play to Nintendo - it knew there was an issue and tackled it the only way it could.


XL problem

Of course, with the upcoming launch of the 3DS XL, a new problem arose. The original Circle Pad Pro (which now looks dainty in comparison to this monster machine) will not fit onto the XL.

With this in mind, Nintendo has now revealed that the XL will receive a special updated Circle Pad Pro - a Circle Pad Pro XL, if you will - that will fit snugly around the XL and look even more bulky that its predecessor.

Again, you could argue that, unfortunately, this was the only possible route that Nintendo could take. If the original Circle Pad Pro didn't fit, what else was the publisher supposed to do?

I don't buy that at all. In fact, I believe the Nintendo bigwigs took the awful situation they had put themselves in, and realized they could actually turn it around and make themselves even more money.

Preparation for the future

Here's a question - the Circle Pad Pro was released earlier this year... so are we to believe that Nintendo didn't already have the 3DS XL in the works before that point?

If the company did indeed have both devices in the works at the same time, here's another question - could it not have quite easily introduced a way to make the Circle Pad Pro slide out and expand, such that it could wrap around both sizes of 3DS handheld?

Of course, to include this back at the start of the year would have been to hint that a larger 3DS was on the way, and therefore could have led to declining 3DS hardware sales as people waited for the bigger version to be announced.

But does that then mean that Nintendo chose to create an inferior product, just so that it could maximize sales on the smaller 3DS model before then cashing in on two different types of Circle Pad Pro?


Fragmentation station

Pocket Gamer's Kristian Reed argued earlier this month that the 3DS XL should have come with the second stick built in. I now understand why Nintendo didn't include it - the company is looking to cash in on consumer ignorance.

The average consumer who is buying the 3DS or 3DS XL for a son or daughter isn't going to have any clue what the Circle Pad Pro is, and will then go ahead and buy that too if the need arises. Having separate normal and XL versions isn't going to faze them at all, because they most likely won't even be aware that it's a farce in the first place.

You could argue that the Circle Pad XL being built into the 3DS XL would have caused fragmentation. Well here's my response to that - if Nintendo really wants to make amends for the original mistake, why isn't it bundling the Circle Pad Pro XLs with the 3DS XL handheld?

That way, the Circle Pad Pro would still be an optional thing, but it also wouldn't cost XL users that extra bit of money (they need to save some cash for buying a separate AC charger for the damn thing, after all!).

Essentially, Nintendo has taken its original mistake and is now cashing in at the expense of its customers. Profit through self-inflicted confusion is the name of this game.

Reviewer photo
Mike Rose 28 June 2012
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Apr 2011
Post count:
Facelord | 17:22 - 9 July 2012
chris.bradshaw, third-party developers would all make sure that their games gave players the CHOICE of whichever control setup they want. MGS3D does it, so do a few others like Monster Hunter. If they just tell developers that they REQUIRE that their games are playable without the second circle pad, problem's solved. Mostly.

Either way, they screwed up and they chose not to fix their mistake. That's Nintendo for you, I'm so glad that the Vita was another option for me. Sure, I may be wearing blue Wii boxers but I'm not so much of a Nintendo fan that I'm okay with coddling them when they make a huge mistake. Nintendo screwed up, I'm not throwing my dollar vote at them until they learn that they can't keep shafting their customers. They need to learn humility first.
May 2011
Post count:
ManWithGoodTaste | 07:01 - 9 July 2012
They should have placed the analog nubs UNDERNEATH the buttons; that way it's much more comfortable, and allows you to press the buttons while using them.
Jun 2012
Post count:
Frederic Fosse | 07:43 - 30 June 2012
I agree that this is ripping gamers off to an extent. The XL is big enough as it is, and to add this monstrosity to a handheld will make it an eyesore. They should have just taken the risk of upsetting some gamers and put the second circle pad in.
Apr 2012
Post count:
Elron | 15:21 - 29 June 2012
I as a Vita owner am happy that Nintendo choose this route because now more people will take a look at the PS Vita WIFI because of the added price of the circle pad xl making it cost whitin a hair of the PS Vita WIFI model LOL!
Jun 2012
Post count:
stratos kariotelis | 10:31 - 29 June 2012
...I don't really care, I'm getting the nyko circle pad pro (which also extends the original 3ds's battery-life by x3) when it comes out effectively making the XL on its own an uglyer, chunkier, more obsolete verison of my 3ds :p
Jun 2012
Post count:
Dwarph | 10:18 - 29 June 2012
they didnt include one becauyse then the original adopters would feel ripped off.
Mar 2011
Post count:
wataru | 22:06 - 28 June 2012
Nintendo is loosing it's touch.

I really love my SNES,Nintendo 64,Gamecube and Wii but I still don't know why I should buy a Wii U except for some exclusive Nintendo titles.

And now they're missing it to integrate the circle pad into the 3DS XL.
I don't like carrying peripharels around with me when there's no need
and this thing looks just plain ugly and way too big.

I won't buy an XL until they fix it with some 3DSi XL sometimes in the future.
Jun 2012
Post count:
fluggy | 21:58 - 28 June 2012
Nintendo make a habit of this .... the Wii being a perfect example. As soon as motion plus came out they should have upgraded everyones wii motes for free! Their initial product wasn't good/accurate enough and "WE" end up paying extra for it... then when we buy it, it goes relatively unsupported and now rather obsolete! Exactly the same with wiispeak (whats wrong with bluetooth headsets like everybody else), which can be found in bargain bins everywhere! They had a chance to rectify the massive oversight (seriously, for a company of their stature this is downright moronic) of not having a 2nd stick with the 3DSXL and chose to ignore that too. Kids will think "great, now i've got a 3DS with 2 sticks" ... they'll eventually come to realise - it should have had 2 sticks to start with. Love Nintendo but their idiotic, cynical behaviour recently really gets to me!!!
Jun 2012
Post count:
Joe Aurum | 18:25 - 28 June 2012
Yeah, seriously. Putting a second stick on the XL would be a dick move of an order of magnitude larger to everyone that has the now inferior original.
Jun 2012
Post count:
Gabe | 16:52 - 28 June 2012
totally agreed,nintendo is the kind of company who would blatantly lie through it's teeth a few days prior about there being no 3ds revision and then announce the damn thing to be released next month,so a 3ds model with the second slide pad integrated into the hardware is expected soon
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