Nintendo has trademarked the name "Circle Pad Pro," likely to be what it calls a 3DS extension that gives more flexibility to gameplay control. The peripheral attaches on to the handheld and gives players a second joystick controller, giving it a more familiar dual-stick presentation like the upcoming Playstation Vita.
The accessory is known as the Slide Pad Expansion in Japan, where it has been slated for a December 10 release. Here in the US it's expected some time in February.
The attachment was first rumored a couple months ago, with one source reportedly saying Nintendo was working "sleepless nights" to get it finished as quickly as possible. The same report also claimed the dual-stick design was part of the 3DS from the outset but had to be scrapped to get the system out well ahead of Sony's new handheld.
Nintendo has a very solid track record of being able to keep its console prices solid for a long time after being released, but the 3DS is a very different story. The company has already slashed the system from $250 to $170.
In addition to being the most expensive system Nintendo has ever released, it launched without any good games, and heavyweight franchises like Mario still aren't available.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata admitted there were many faults with the release of the 3DS. In addition to the lack of launch titles, the company missed its target of a holiday 2010 release, which could have spurred significantly more sales and given it much more traction out of the gate.
As it stands, though, a lot of things are starting to crumble at Nintendo, leading to massive cuts in stock prices and significant salary reductions for some of the company's top executives, including Iwata's.