The 3DS gets a redesign: What the next iteration of 3DS needs to get right.

The 3DS just celebrated its first birthday last month, and the numbers don’t lie. Year one, 17.08 million units sold. That’s nothing to sneeze about. Couple that in with the five games that have already reached the million sales mark and it’s plain to see that Nintendo’s fifth generation handheld is a running success. There are plenty of games on the horizon, and I would bet that quite a few more will be announced at E3 this year. If there was any question before, you can be sure that the 3DS is here to stay for the long haul.

Knowing this, and also understanding Nintendo’s recent track record with GBA and DS of re-releasing it’s handelds with incremental updates, it doesn’t take an economics major to speculate that Nintendo will be releasing a 3DS ‘lite’ in the near future. How near? I wouldn’t be surprised something was shown as early as this year’s E3. What new features and upgrades will the Nintendo 3DS lite implement? Here’s what they should be.

Dual Analog

Duh. The whole internet is screaming for it. Even if you are a opponent of the idea of having two circle pads, just don’t use it. Simple as that. The 3DS upgrade needs to have two analog inputs to allow for superior controls than what is currently possible.

As much as I liked Kid Icarus: Uprising, if the 3DS were originally designed with two analog sticks, the game would play drastically better. Yes, using the stylus to control the aim is much more precise than using an analog input would be, but I would wager that lots of people would prefer to use two sticks to play the game.

Larger 3D Viewing Angle

The 3DS is a system perfect for generating word of mouth sales. All it takes is showing Aunt Beatrix that she can shoot her 15 cats in face raiders…all in 3D, she’s going to go nuts! Imagine if you could look over your friends shoulder, and view the 3D as clearly as they could? Imagine if you could play games with gyro controls like Star Fox, and the 3D didn’t go in and out giving you a migraine headache.

Gamers are forced to make a choice when playing games that implement motion controls on the 3DS. Short of hauling around a rotating office chair every day, motion controlled games must either be played with the 3D effect off of subjecting yourself to a nauseating session of “keep my arms as stiff as possible.” If Nintendo could use a glasses-free 3D display that has wider 3D viewing angle by a couple of degrees in both directions, it would be a game changer.

Longer Battery Life

Much longer. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say that my portable television from 1992 has better battery life. Take what the 3DS can currently do, and add on 3-4 hours of battery life and that’s what the 3DS lite should strive for. Anything short of that would be a letdown.

With games of the length of Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance on the horizon, it is plain to see how the system’s battery could us a kick in the pants. Not only will playtime be longer, but you could keep your system in sleep mode for a greater period of time allowing for more of those all important street passes. There is no reason why the battery life shouldn’t be improve the next go round. Nintendo, make it happen.

Digital Volume Buttons

If you must keep your TV volume on an even number at all times kind of like me, then you will understand my need for digital buttons on my handhelds. When the DSi came, it was a god-send because of those little marvels of modern technology. Can I live without it? Sure! Do I want to? Absolutely not.

I understand that I may be in the minority on this one here, after all, you do have greater control when the volume selector is analog. For me, none of this matters. Without digital, how else will I know exactly how loud I was listening to that level when the mid-boss swooped in so I can replicate it exactly the same way when I play New Game +? Exactly.

No More Muffin Top

This one is purely cosmetic, but what exactly is with the top half of the 3DS being slightly larger than the bottom? Is it for allowing easier one-handed opening of the system? Maybe it is to ensure that when in the dark, you could easily tell whether or not you have the DS or its younger, slightly obese sister. Whatever the reason, 3DS needs lipo, stat!

Include Swapnote Out of the Box

Pictochat was all the rage when DS launched almost a decade ago. There were even news reports about how predators could attract children using the software. Chris Hansen, that’s when you know you’ve hit the big-time.

The thing is, Swapnote is so much better than Pictochat on so many levels. You can send pictures. Notes can be sent over the Internet. It’s in 3D! Everything has been upgraded. Nintendo should be forcing everyone to own this software, it should have been standard for every system from the start. Nintendo should make Swapnote standard for every 3DS unit sold. Easier it is for people to know of the existence of Swapnote, the better.

What did we miss? Did you agree with the list? Do you insist that each 3DS lite unit be equipped with a built in kickstand? Tell us in the comments!

Eugene lives in New Mexico and has been a life long gamer since getting his hands on an NES. Always partial to Nintendo, Eugene has made it a point to keep informed on all things Mario.