Nintendo will offer 3DS XL in August

Only two weeks after the E3 Expo in Los Angeles wrapped up, where the Nintendo 3DS got little stage time with the upcoming Wii U, Nintendo President Reggie Fils-Aime took to the internet with a special announcement.  Thursday night, on the official Nintendo Direct webcast, he announced from Nintendo headquarters that the 3DS would be receiving an extra large upgrade, to make 3DS games “…More intense and more engrossing than ever before.”

The new Nintendo 3DS XL will feature screens 90% larger than the current 3DS model and hold an improved battery.  Included with the 3DS XL will be a 4GB memory card.  The larger handheld will be released in North America on August 19, 2012 for $199.99.   If that date sounds familiar, it is also the release date of the upcoming New Super Mario Bros 2 for the Nintendo 3DS.  In the new game coins will play a much larger role in the game than before and will be updated with addition DLC stages.

Reggie then introduced Damon Baker, Nintendo Licensing Marketing Manager who introduced a slew of upcoming games; Castlevania: Mirror of Fate, Skylanders: Giants, Adventure Time, Lego Lord of the Rings, Scribblenauts: Unlimited, Disney Epic Mickey, which is a side-scroller, Sonic All-Stars Racing and  Kingdom Hearts.  Also announced, is that the demo for Kingdom Hearts is available now and a new Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask will drop in November.

Not surprisingly, Nintendo took the opportunity to reveal in order to make the Wii U launch, that Namco is helping out with the new Smash Bros for Wii U and 3Ds.  They don’t want to end up in a similar position to the 3DS, GameCube and N64 where there were few quality games at launch to support the new system.  Though unlikely, if Nintendo had to react to Wii U sales as they did with 3DS, the effect would be disastrous and possibly a death knell for the company as a console maker.

Considering the slow start of the 3DS and past performance of the DSi XL, it is a bit risky that Nintendo will offer the much-needed screen upgrade.  The current 3DS screens are much smaller than most currently offered smartphones as well as Sony’s Playstation Vita although, except for HTC’s EVO 3D, none of them offer a 3D feature.  It is however not surprising that Nintendo spent the majority of the video talking about games.  Exclusive and quality software is really the only thing that will save portable consoles from obsolescence as phones and smart phone become more capable.

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