Following heavy rumours surrounding the existence of a ‘circle pad peripheral’ for Nintendo’s 3DS, the company has confirmed that the add-on is a real piece of kit and will provide an additional analog circle pad for the handheld.
Speaking to Kotaku, a Nintendo spokesperson said:
“We can confirm that Nintendo plans to release the Circle Pad attachment” before adding that “Nintendo’s regional subsidiaries will make further announcements about its availability at a later date.”
This new peripheral will make it possible for developers to take advantage of a twin-stick set up in their games to allow for greater freedom of control (moving a 3D character and the camera as in a traditional console game, for example).
According to recent reports, leaked information and images, this circle pad peripheral will fit around the back of the 3DS in a cradle-like configuration, adding another circle pad analog stick on the right of the handheld. Something known as the ‘Slide Pad’ is also included in the design of the new peripheral.
Rumours have also begun to swirl with regards to a new version of the 3DS, which could be in the works and released in 2012. This new system (again, heavily rumoured) would significantly tone down the system’s 3D capabilities (due to Nintendo’s suspicions that the public’s fear of eye damage is affecting 3DS sales) and possibly even include the new circle pad peripheral in its design.
Additionally, industry sources have revealed that Nintendo is encouraging developers to start designing their games with the additional circle pad in mind, so we might start to see first-party Nintendo games with the peripheral as a pack-in to help spread the availability of the add-on.
Releasing a vital console add-on after that console’s release is always tricky as far as developer and consumer adoption goes, so it’ll be in Nintendo’s best interest to spread this add-on far and wide as quickly as possible with its own games, while partnering with third-party publishers and developers to do the same, as with the WiiMote Plus accessory.