The rumored Nintendo 3DS right thumbstick is featured in the latest issue of Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu, according to several sources.
Twitter user @South1996 posted a picture on Twitter late last night of the alleged Famitsu report about the new thumbstick accessory. The image shows a sleeve that goes around the bottom of the 3DS and adds the right thumbstick. Although the thumbstick will potentially help developers deliver more well-rounded gaming opportunities, it does appear to make the device substantially more bulky. At least two other Japan game-market blogs--Andriasang.com and Esuteru.com--back up the claim.
Reports of a right thumbstick coming to the 3DS cropped up late last month. French technology site 01net cited an anonymous source who said that Nintendo would be bringing the add-on to the device. The source also claimed that Nintendo was working with third-party developers to create titles that would work with two thumbsticks.
When the Nintendo 3DS launched earlier this year, some criticized its lack of a right thumbstick. As games have become more sophisticated, the right thumbstick has become an integral component in gameplay. That's why most traditional game controllers have right thumbsticks and why Sony plans to offer one in its upcoming 3DS competitor, the PlayStation Vita.
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Nintendo's reported decision to bring a right thumbstick to the 3DS comes at a difficult time for the company's portable business. During Nintendo's last-reported quarter ended June 30, the company sold just 710,000 3DS units worldwide. In the U.S., its sales hit just 110,000 units. To try to appeal more to customers, Nintendo announced that it would drop the price of its 3DS from $249 to $169 in the U.S.
However, Nintendo has acknowledged that the 3DS' troubles have more to do with its 3D effect than anything else. The device, which allows people to play games in 3D without the need for special glasses, is simply difficult for customers to see value in, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata has acknowledged.
"The value of 3D images without the need for special glasses is hard to be understood through the existing media," Iwata said at a briefing in April. "However, we have found that people cannot feel it just by trying out a device, rather, some might even misestimate it when experiencing the images in an improper fashion. This makes it more important to give people more opportunities for appropriate experiences of glassless 3D images.
"There is no easy road to making people understand the attraction of glassless 3D images and making Nintendo 3DS widespread," Iwata continued.
Nintendo did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on Famitsu's report. However, Nintendo has planned a press conference for next week, so it is possible an add-on could be announced at that time.