Nintendo has yet to announce dates or details for the New 3DS models outside of Japan, but Europe is getting some special treatment that may hint at North American plans.
Joystiq reports that e-mails sent out to a limited number of European Club Nintendo users invites them to buy the "Ambassador Edition" bundle. The ability to make an early purchase is by invitation only, and available to eligible members until January 12. It costs $180, though that's not necessarily indicative of the final retail price. These are ambassadors, after all.
The bundle includes a white New 3DS, 4GB Micro SD card, AR cards, a charging cradle, and two sets of cover plates: Super Smash Bros and a special Ambassador Edition.
Nintendo still didn't give details on when the system will actually hit retail shelves, but given the short timeline for this special edition, it would appear the launch isn't too far away. Club Nintendo in North America has not yet offered any similar promotion.
The "New 3DS" model features an analog nub, two more shoulder buttons, and an upgraded CPU. Some games, like Xenoblade Chronicles, will require the new CPU's power and be incompatible with older models. The face buttons are also recolored, and the 3D feature has a wider range of viewing angles.
Steve Watts posted a new article, New 3DS launching with 'Ambassador Edition' in Europe
Still kind of bummed about this. Seems like if new hardware is going to leave OG 3DS gamers in the dust there should be bigger overall improvements. Ninendo's half-step bullshit sucks.