First of all, let’s mention all the sources to determine the veracity (or not) of this story: the original report was published on French site 01Net , then a NeoGAF thread showed the translated version of the same report and finally Gamespot posted an article based on the same story as well.
According to 01Net, the Nintendo 3DS may be getting a right analog stick really soon. Apparently, a Nintendo employee told the French site that the company is working on this “additional device” for the handheld. This right analog pad could be attached to the portable console and if it was to come out today it would be available for $10, but how both devices could be connected is still unclear. Additionally and according to the same source, Nintendo is working on a redesign of the system with toned down 3D effects for a 2012 release and a different name.
Another big speculation states that if the 3DS was to have an additional right analog pad this could allow developers to either create games for both the PlayStation Vita and the Nintendo 3DS consoles or they could develop direct ports without having to take into account the different control schemes. Also, it’s worth noting that an additional stick on the 3DS could easily make it not only less appealing, but also less portable as it would be much more difficult to play on the go if you have to carry other add-ons and extra devices.
The whole idea of redesigning a system isn’t really new to Nintendo as the company is well known for creating new and improved versions of their consoles. For example, the original Game Boy Advance was eventually upgraded to the GBA SP and later on to the GBA Micro. The Nintendo DS also suffered different upgrades like the DS Lite, DSi and DSi XL. Still, maybe a 2012 release for a redesigned version of the 3DS may seem woefully inadequate, especially if we take into account that an additional stick could change the basic functionality of the portable system. Nevertheless, if we take into account that the 3DS was recently called a failure by many analysts from the video game industry maybe this isn’t as crazy as it seems.
Additional Information: 01 Net was the first site to reveal information about Project Café (Wii U).