The new version of the console will come in three new colour combinations – silver and black, red and black, and blue and black – and will be bundled with a 4GB SD card so buyers can immediately start downloading games from the Nintendo eShop.
However, the device will not ship with an AC adaptor in Japan or Europe – in its press release, Nintendo states that as most buyers will already own the original 3DS, an adaptor is being left out to allow for a lower retail price. An AC adaptor will be supplied with the console in North America.
The launch of the 3DS XL will be accompanied by the release of two games designed to exploit the larger screen sizes. New Art Academy is a follow-up to Nintendo's DS art game, which takes players through a series of lessons and projects. Freakyforms Deluxe Your Creations, Alive! is a pet game where you design and create your own creatures.
The new console was revealed on Thursday evening via the latest Nintendo Direct video, Nintendo's online news channel. The announcement also promised improved battery life for the device, despite its larger displays.
After a slow start, the 3DS console has sold almost 18m units since its launch in March 2011.
The device offers two displays, one of which features stereoscopic technology to provide a 3D effect without the need for glasses.
It also comes with a camera capable of capturing 3D photos and videos, as well as Wi-Fi internet access.
Nintendo has a policy of regularly updating its handheld consoles. The previous Nintendo DS device went through four major hardware iterations, ending with Nintendo DS XL in 2009.
This is set to be a vital year for the veteran video game manufacturer. The company reported its first ever annual loss last year, its accounts in the red to the sum of $500m.
However, this year sees, not only a re-designed 3DS, but also the winter launch of its Wii U console.
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