Nintendo Releases New Information on Upcoming DSi XL Launch

Nintendo's next-generation, up-a-size DS model (the DSi XL) is set to launch in just over a month and the company lifted the lid today on what we can expect at launch. For those of you who aren't in the know, the upcoming DSi XL is a 'large' revision to the DSi's form factor. The unit's iconic twin displays offer 93 percent more viewing area, battery life has been extended from an estimated 9-14 hours with the DSi to 13-17 hours on the DSI XL, and the XL ships with two styluses—one large, one small. Unlike its predecessors, the XL isn't following the tinyfication trend—it's bigger, chunky but very touchable and somehow sleek. The unit's glossy lid has been variously praised for its appearance and damned for its ability to transform from pristine shiny surface to goo-swathed hideousness in a single bag of Cheetos.

We like the color and the larger stylus, but that thing deserves some sort of "Most likely to be mistaken for a ballpoint pen" award. And where, exactly, does it go?

When the XL launches next month it will feature a wider viewing angle, two colors (burgundy and bronze), and comes loaded with pre-installed premium software Brain Age™ Express: Arts & Letters, Brain Age Express: Math and Photo Clock, as well as two free applications: the Nintendo DSi Browser and Flipnote Studio™. Two additional games: America’s Test Kitchen: Let’s Get Cooking and WarioWare™: D.I.Y. will also launch for the Nintendo DS family of products on March 28.

There's a range of new Wii titles coming down the pipe as well including Super Mario Galaxy 2 (May 23rd), Metroid: Other M (with new OMG3D technology) on June 27, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands on May 18, and Capcom's Monster Hunter Tri, which claims to offer a wide degree of customization, Internet play, and fully integrated text/audio chat (if you've got a Wii Speak microphone).

The DSi XL further cements the idea that Nintendo has its finger squarely on the pulse of what its customers would like to see in a new model, unlike its chief competitor. When Sony launched the PSP Go last year, its idea of progress consisted of slashing screen size (highly debatable as a plus), weight, and unit size. If Sony had stopped there, there'd be no problem. Instead, the company completely broke compatibility with existing PSP peripherals, removed the UMD slot (all games must now be bought at the Playstation Store online), and slapped a $50 premium on the unit.

Comparing the two devices, the DSi XL looks as though it'll continue Nintendo's traditional market dominance. It's not a huge update—realistically, the XL seems like a DS after someone grabbed a corner and dragged it a little bigger. Same functionality, just a bigger screen and stylus—but if it ain't broke, don't fix it.