Screens Twice As Big On New Nintendo 3DS XL

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(CNN) — Having already gone 3-D, Nintendo now wants to go big, announcing a new version of its handheld gaming console with screens nearly twice as large.

The Nintendo 3DS XL, announced late Thursday, will have a 90% bigger screen and, Nintendo says, a stronger battery for more gaming time. It will also come bundled with a 4-gigabyte SD Card to store downloadable games and applications.

The new console was announced during a Nintendo Direct video presentation. It will be available in Japan and Europe in July and the U.S market on August 19, the same day as the release of “New Super Mario Bros. 2,” the latest in the storied gaming franchise, for the 3DS.

The 3DS XL will retail in the United States for $199. It will sell in Japan for about 18,900 yen ($235).

The announcement comes at a time that Nintendo, a gaming giant that traces its roots to 1889 when it made playing cards, finds itself looking for some answers.

The 3DS handheld console struggled last year, and Nintendo was forced to cut the price after sales didn’t hit projections. Critics blamed the original price ($250) and a market newly flooded with smartphone and tablet gaming options.

The company posted its first financial loss in April. And apparent confusion about its new home console, the Wii U, has many observers wondering if Nintendo is targeting the right audience.

The new 3DS XL is the same size as its Nintendo DSi XL console released in 2010. Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, said the larger screen for the 3DS XL will allow users to enjoy watching videos and movies more.

“(C)onsumers will be able to enjoy the great lineup of current and upcoming games on an even grander scale,” he said in the video.

Nintendo also announced several high profile games launching for the 3DS console. “LEGO: The Lord of the Rings,” “Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask,” “Disney: Epic Mickey, Power of Illusion” and “Scribblenauts Unlimited” will be making their way to the handheld console this year.

Namco Bandai will also be making a new “Super Smash Bros.” game for the 3DS and the Wii U. The popular game has no projected release date, and developers said the two versions are being worked on simultaneously.

Player reaction on Nintendo’s forum pages has been mixed. Some are decrying the lack of a second joystick controller on the new device, while others say they’re happy about the increased battery time. Many say they want to see how the new games look on the devices before taking the plunge.

Will you go bigger for your Nintendo handheld gaming experience? Or is your smartphone enough for you? Tell us in the comments below.


By Larry Frum – Special to CNN

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