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Nintendo to start selling 3DS with larger screens

Associated Press Modified: June 22, 2012 at 2:46 am •  Published: June 21, 2012
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TOKYO (AP) — Japanese game maker Nintendo Co. has upgraded its 3DS handheld to sport a screen nearly twice as big as the previous model amid hot competition against smartphones and tablets that are wooing people away from dedicated gaming machines.

The Kyoto-based maker of the Super Mario games and Wii home console said Friday the Nintendo 3DS LL, called 3DS XL in overseas markets, goes on sale in Japan and Europe July 28, and in the U.S. from Aug. 19.

It will sell in Japan for 18,900 yen ($236) and $199.99 in the U.S. It did not give a price for Europe.

The 3DS, which has a touch panel and delivers 3-D imagery without special glasses, has two screens — one is 3.53 inches and the other is 3.02 inches.

The LL or XL version's screens are 4.88 inches and 4.18 inches, according to the company. Screen inches refer to the diagonal measurement so LL screens are 1.9 times bigger.

"There were demands for a bigger screen, and so we are ready to respond with a size-variation model," Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said in a video on the company's website. "You can enjoy powerful 3D imagery."

It weighs a bit more and is slightly bigger than the previous model. But battery life was extended to up to six and a half hours for 3D games from the previous five hours, and up to 10 hours from eight hours for regular games.

Yusuke Tsunoda, analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities Co., said bigger screens are generally almost always a plus for game machines sales, and the affordable price adds to the appeal.

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