Rumour: 3DS Firmware Update Improves Framerate Of Existing Games

Interesting discussion emerging this morning suggesting that the latest Nintendo 3DS firmware update has dramatically improved the performance of a number of existing games – some old, some new – without individual patches.

Something like this happened on the PSP, when the processor was allowed to run at its native speed rather than being underclocked, but users are reporting much better speeds with games like Rayman 3D, Ridge Racer 3D and Sonic Generations.

It’s not every game, sadly, according to the somewhat anecdotal references going around this morning, but there are some games that are seemingly much smoother to play now, including the recent Kingdom Hearts release and Luigi’s Mansion 2.

Nintendo told us they “don’t comment on rumour and speculation”.


  1. I always think it’s weird that a console wasn’t running at top speed when it was released. I wonder if there’s some sort of optimisation in the way it deals with memory or if it’s simply a case of switching off underclocking like the PSP?

    • The first thing I think of in such cases is that the power was held back due to heat management reasons. I’m sure there are some nifty optimizations thrown in for good measure but I don’t know nearly enough about hardware and how it interacts with different components so it’s all just guesswork on my end. :)

      • Yeah, I remember someone from Sony saying about the Vita they ‘could’ run it at a much higher clock than it does, but that then it would melt your hands and the battery would last 5 minutes. I guess they just eventually figure out how to optimize it well enough that there’s no noticeable increase in heat, so they can bump up the clock.

  2. Well seems like a good thing, if true! Loving Luigis Mansion 2.

  3. I’m guessing it’s like updating the driver for a graphics card in a PC. It would be cool to get something like this for the PS3 or Vita, although it does mean that the system hasn’t been fully utilised. But over the course of a consoles life cycle, new techniques are invented and a driver update could improve performance with these.

  4. Is this an update that’s live now? Just tried my 3DS and it said I’m up to date still.

    • Yeah, about 5 days ago I think.

      • Maybe it updated itself in sleep mode? Not even sure whether 3DS’s do that! Otherwise I’ve somehow done it without realising!

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