Remember light guns? They’ve faded as time passed, replaced by dopey motion controls that are far from the same, but they’re relevant to the recent 3DS XL announcement.
See, when a light gun was released, a developer had a choice. They could make it exclusively for the light gun or they could add in controller support. Sure, the controller support wasn’t great, but it allowed for an audience who didn’t have the peripheral.
Fast forward a bit to when Nintendo announced the Circle Pad Pro. This thing hitched a ride on the 3DS for the sole purpose of adding the additional thumbstick. Games like Metal Gear 3D, Resident Evil, and to a (much) lesser extent, Kid Icarus found a use for it. The kicker is that no matter how cumbersome, they still designed these games with those players in mind without that second stick.
Now, imagine what happens if Nintendo releases a second circle pad on the XL. Developers can cheat. They have an out to ignore those consumers who already purchased a 3DS prior. Sure, they could go the route of the light gun developer and chop off part of their possible buyer base, but the console isn’t a $30 light gun. Some people paid $250 for their 3DS unit. Consider what those people have been through, and think again if they want to feel left out… again.
You can compare this time and time again. Sony could have included a second stick on the PSP revisions, but even up until the Go, they refused. Microsoft could have begun requiring a hard drive for all games, but they didn’t. The one thing you never want to do with hardware is change the game partway into the lifespan, more so if it’s a success.
This isn’t a matter of “Nintendo not getting it yet.” They didn’t get “it” from the beginning. They botched the initial design, and this is the fallout. There’s not a console on the market, handheld or otherwise, that should be launching without twin sticks these days. Revisions? Those are a different story all together.