Earlier this year, Nintendo surprised everybody in the gaming world by announcing plans to release a successor to the Nintendo 3DS – the Nintendo 3DS XL. Now, the Nintendo 3DS XL has officially been launched in Europe and South Africa.

The new handheld sports a screen that's 90 percent bigger than the original 3DS. The Nintendo 3DS XL is currently available three colours – red, silver and blue. It has a bigger battery too, which means improved battery life that allows for many more hours of handheld gaming than the Nintendo 3DS.

The handheld comes with a 4GB SD card, which gives enough space for things like 3D and regular photos, save files for games, apps and games downloaded from the Nintendo eShop, videos, etc. All the original features and functionality of the original Nintendo 3DS are intact in the 3DS XL, with glasses-free 3D gaming, the ability to take pictures and videos in 3D, the system’s Augmented Reality and social applications, and the ability to grab demos and downloads from the Nintendo eShop, among others.

A comparison of the Nintendo 3DS and the 3DS XL. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

A comparison of the Nintendo 3DS and the 3DS XL. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Nintendo has always ruled the handheld gaming market with devices like the GameBoy, GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advance, the Nintendo DS and more recently, the Nintendo 3DS. They have seen little to no competition, except for Sony and their PlayStation Portable during the lifespan of the Nintendo DS, and more recently the PlayStation Vita, which aims to compete with the Nintendo 3DS.

The original Nintendo 3DS launched in Japan on February 26, in Europe on March 25 and in the US on March 27 of 2011. With Nintendo products not being available officially here in India, it didn’t look very likely that the 3DS would make it here anytime soon, forcing those of us looking to buy it to look at alternate channels, even if it meant sacrificing warranty.

All that had changed with Game4U, the retail wing of Milestone Interactive, bringing the Nintendo 3DS to India. The system comes with a six-month distributor warranty, which is, while not ideal, better than nothing. The handheld is of the Cosmo Black NTSC variant, which means importing games released in the US then becomes an option. Regardless, all of the 3DS’ US launch titles are also available.

Nintendo has revealed no plans to release the handheld in India, though those looking forward to it can wait till Milestone Interactive’s retail wing, Game4U, brings it to our country.

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