Having already launched in Japan, prior to Christmas, the two consoles feature a number of significant upgrades to the existing models and are much sought after by Nintendo fans.
To begin with, both new versions have improved 3D screens with greater viewing angles and better 3D visibility even when moving your head, mainly thanks to head tracking technology using the built-in camera. The New 3DS also has a bigger screen than the original although the body of the device is still roughly the same. Its top screen is now 3.83-inches, while the bottom is 3.33-inches.
Both portable devices have a new second joypad controller, top-mounted ZL and ZR buttons and NFC connectivity for Amiibo support. They are also more powerful, ensuring that games load much more quickly.
The smaller of the two, the New 3DS, will also be able to be customised with optional rear and bottom plates based on Nintendo games and characters. There will also be limited editions of the 3DS XL bundled with games such as The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D.
Prices for the new consoles are yet to be revealed - Nintendo usually leaves that to each retailer - but the special edition New 3DS it made for its Ambassador members earlier this month was priced at £179.99 so expect the equivalent handheld to start around there.
Nintendo has always operated somewhat like a toymaker, creating its games with loving care while often ignoring wider market forces. But now it literally is one. Today the company announced that its NFC-powered Amiibo figurines have moved "nearly twice" as many units in the US as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which itself has sold an impressive 1.3 million copies. Last month Nintendo said that Amiibo sales were "approximately equal" to those of Super Smash Bros., suggesting the pace is picking up.
Nintendo's latest release on Apple and Android has taken the UK by storm. This new video game designed for smartphone allows user to combine the real and virtual worlds and discover Pokémon everywhere they go.
New Video Game Characters
Amiibos are Nintendo's attempt to capitalize on the success of similar products like Activision's Skylanders franchise and Disney Infinity. Nintendo is leveraging its huge roster of video game characters from the ubiquitous to the obscure — see Yoshi and the Wii Fit Trainer above — to produce a range of figurines that can unlock extra content in games when you tap them on the Wii U GamePad's built-in NFC reader. The New Nintendo 3DS also includes NFC support, and Nintendo plans an adapter for older models. Many Amiibos have proven hard to find
Each Amiibo costs $12.99, but many have proven difficult to find since going on sale in November. Nintendo has indicated that certain, less popular models will be discontinued at some point, which has jacked up the resale value; at the time of writing, you'd have to spend between $30 and $60 to buy a Wii Fit Trainer Amiibo on Amazon. Meanwhile, models for more recognizable characters like Mario and Pikachu remain easy to find at the regular price.
But for those that can actually buy them, Amiibos look to be a hit. Nintendo posted surprisingly good earnings last quarter, and the addition of a high-margin, highly collectible product can only help the company's bottom line. The Wii U might never reach a wider audience, despite a steady stream of excellent games, but Amiibos show how valuable Nintendo's core customers can be.