Last night during the Nintendo Direct broadcast, Nintendo announced their next installment in the family of handheld gaming devices. Revealed at the press event was the Nintendo 3DS XL, which looks like exactly what it sounds like. Nintendo is milking their 3DS handheld system yet again, not with just an exclusive new color, but this time around with a physically larger handheld system. Many around the industry in the wake of this announcement are asking if this handheld really warranted and has a demand attached to it. Are the fans really asking for this system?
With the newest 3DS model coming to the market in XL form on August 19th, one of the most noticeable changes is the larger screen. The screen is a whopping 90% bigger giving us a 4.18-inch screen on bottom and a 4.88-inch screen on top. However, the resolution is the same the original 3DS which means the games are going to look the same, just blown up. Another noticeable upgrade the system has received is the improved battery life. Since the Nintendo 3DS XL is larger than the standard 3DS, gamers are going to be getting a larger battery that is going to provide 6–10 hours while playing DS games and 3.5–6.5 hours while playing 3DS games, which is always a plus to us gamers.
As for the appearance of the 3DS XL, you are going to be able to choice from a whopping (insert sarcasm here, dear reader) two colors. Blue and Red 3DS XL are coming to the US, while UK is also going to be able to enjoy a standard silver version. Industry folks are wondering if these “options” even matter since demand for the unit is in question to begin with. Even die-hard Nintendo fan-boys have some issues with the announcement. First off, Nintendo made you buy a second joystick for your standard 3DS and yet they won’t add one to this system. At the end of the day, Nintendo made a larger handheld but could not add the second joystick. This begs the question if the larger screens and slightly improved battery life are really worth the $200.00 price tag. Only the market will tell given the hot holiday gaming sales season around the corner in September.
In terms of early reaction from some of the more critical industry analysts, they feel that the Nintendo 3DS XL is asking for a $200 price tag for a larger screen that many weren’t asking for in the first place. Perhaps down the line when Nintendo releases more colors or makes a significant improvement to the handheld system outside of simply stretching it, it would be trade-up time.
Stay tuned to Gaming Illustrated for the latest news regarding the new Nintendo 3DS XL.