Nintendo's New 3DS XL Offers Uncertain Appeal

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News Posted: Sun, Jun 24 2012 10:50 PM
Nintendo took the wraps off its new, super-sized 3DS XL handheld on Friday, but reactions have been anything but enthusiastic. The new DS offers a larger set of screens (4.88 inches top / 4.18" bottom), better battery life, and will ship with a copy of New Super Marios 2 for $199.99, but it's launching into a very different market than what the original DS XL faced in 2009.

The 3DS XL's battery improvements aren't just icing on the cake -- they're seen as remedying a critical problem with the current handheld. It also won't support the second circle pad added by the Circle Pad Pro, which implies Nintendo is ready to kill that peripheral altogether. The other major problem is that a larger screen isn't really what the 3DS needed in order to be more successful. The large screen may capture the same group of buyers who bought into the DS when the DS XL was released, but there's no evidence that this constitutes a particularly large percentage of Nintendo customers.



When you consider that the improved battery life and bigger screens come at the cost of mobility and weight, the 3DS XL looks more like a step sideways than a leap forward. It's not a bad idea, but it's not the must-have rabbit that Nintendo needed to pull out of its proverbial hat to silence the "Mobile games will kill handheld devices" crowd.

Looking at it, I can't help thinking Nintendo would be better served by a next-gen handheld that reduced power consumption by die/process improvements, used an IGZO-based screen from Sharp to reduce screen power draw, and incorporated a second circle pad natively rather than requiring gamers to buy an add-on.

If you're a current 3DS owner or a 3DS XL user, is the 3DS XL appealing? Drop a line and let us know.
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MSmth replied on Mon, Jun 25 2012 1:10 AM

I purchased the Nintendo DSi XL shortly before the 3DS was released. The library of games on the 3DS was not enough incentive to buy the system, especially since the screens on the device were relatively small. However, I do see myself eventually buying the 3DS XL and selling off my previous device so I can acquire the few titles that do interest me.

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MMcKie replied on Mon, Jun 25 2012 2:34 AM

They really should have added the second analog though, I'm a little disappointed

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DSmith1 replied on Mon, Jun 25 2012 3:41 AM

The circle pad is the biggest reason everyone is shaking their head. That one thing made the difference between my buying this or not. Now I probably will never own a 3ds, but the integrated 2nd circlepad would have pushed me over the edge otherwise.

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Still see little to no need for a second circle pad. There's all of two games on the system, only one coming to the US, that actually needs it. The only genre of game that actually requires one is FPS, and I don't see myself playing a lot of FPS on a portable system, never really have. Te system covers 3D games quite nicely, the 64 started this whole trend and it did just fine with a single joystick.

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I traded in my DSi XL when I got the 3DS and while I enjoyed the 3DS, I immediately missed the l larger screens on the XL!!! Better battery and larger screens makes the 3DS XL a must for me.

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2nihon replied on Tue, Jun 26 2012 11:02 AM

I was disappointed because I JUST bought my 3DS a few weeks ago! I might upgrade later for the nicer screens.

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hanako replied on Wed, Jun 27 2012 12:26 AM

Is it still region-locked?

Then I'm still not buying it.

I am a dedicated DS fan and still buying games for the system. But I won't buy a 'portable' system that can't practically travel between countries with me. I have no desire to be juggling three 3DSes and three sets of games. I'll just stick with the old one.

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tzu1978 replied on Wed, Jun 27 2012 9:31 AM

Now I probably will never own a 3ds, but the integrated 2nd circlepad would have pushed me over the edge otherwise.

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