running in circles

Continuing the legacy this generation of consoles seems to be laying, yet another product is being modified to emulate its competitor’s product, even though they’re not competitors.

News has been abounding about the add-on of a second circle pad for Nintendo’s 3DS platform. Nintendo, certainly, has been hyping it up a lot in the last couple weeks. This seems to be a particularly stupid idea, to me. And I’ll tell you why.
First off, the damn thing looks damn ridiculous. It not only adds bulk, but it throws off the balance of the unit, both in terms of mass and visual appearance. Now, when you close the top, that circle pad will be exposed regardless. I think I can safely predict many of these circle pads quickly becoming clogged with lint and the other types of filth gamers regularly ingest.
Second, this attachment, by definition, cannot be required for any games–or at least, any significant number of them. Not everyone will be gullible enough to buy it, and if it’s not required not every developer will feel the need to account for it. Games like Ocarina 3D manage just fine without a second stick; if a game is made right it shouldn’t be a problem. (Shouldn’t.) So if it’s not required, who is going to want to program for an attachment that not everyone will buy? This has proven to be a downward spiral in the last decade and a half of gaming peripherals.
The final nail in the coffin: juice. Not orange juice (which I desire now that I’ve typed that), but the sort that is provided by a battery. Being that this add-0n clips to the device proper, and sticks right to the bottom of it, you’d think Nintendo would have thought, “hm, maybe we should also make it an extended battery!” But no. Not only does it not provide any extra OJ, it actually requires its own battery. This is definitely not a product I will buy.
What’s more, some of the latest whispers making their way through the grapevine indicate that Nintendo is currently in the process of designing a new 3DS that will include dual circle pads. This is just what Nintendo should have done to start with, and doing it now only makes the 3DS add-on look obsolete even before it hits shelves.