Okay, I’ll admit it; when a new iteration of the Nintendo 3DS handheld didn’t make a showing at this month’s E3 I got a little cocky. I’d been shrugging off rumors of the “3DS Lite,” the “3DS Mark II,” practically since the original 3DS hit the market. I said there was no way Nintendo, who recently posted their first annual loss in decades, would bother pushing through a hardware update on what is still essentially a new system. And I was right. Until last night.
In its latest Nintendo Direct video segment, North American COO Reggie Fils-Aime revealed the 3DS XL, a version with 90% larger screens, better battery life and a new form-factor. It also comes bundled with a 4GB SD card – the original 3DS only sported 2GBs of pack-in storage – and will be available on August 19th, the same release day as New Super Mario Bros. 2. As this is one of the first titles to be made available via digital distribution, that extra storage space certainly makes sense. What doesn’t is the XL’s obvious lack of a 2nd Circle Pad, the single common element in all the pre-release gossip and its related naysaying.
Priced at $199.99, this new 3DS is being touted as more suitable for video content like Netflix and the 3D Nintendo Video service, but will this beefier offering be enough to further energize the line’s initially slow-growing sales? I honestly don’t know, but I’ll likely pick one up. Because I am what is commonly referred to as “an easy mark.”
Check out the embed below for a peek at the hardware. You’ll also get to see Licensing Marketing Manager Damon Baker talk up 3rd-party support (including a nice shout-out to Pen Ward) and Senior Marketing Specialist JC Rodrigo profile some top-tier Nintendo properties, including a proper look at the first entry in the Professor Layton series in 3D.
Additional highlights include Smash Bros., Fire Emblem and DLC/Virtual Console reveals. Oh, and there’s some talk of the new Pokémon Black/White sequels. These are still DS exclusives, but the new AR tie-in title Pokémon Dream Radar does include import support for all those Pocket Monsters you will inevitably find lurking under the sofa.
This all makes for a pretty interesting spectacle, but one wonders why all this new hotness wasn’t used to spice up Nintendo’s rather lackluster E3 presser.