Nintendo doesn’t sit on their laurels when it comes to their handhelds. Ever since the release Game Boy Pocket back in ’96, Nintendo can’t seem to go very long with out re-releasing and improving on their portable devices. Perhaps this ever evolving strategy is why, despite strong competition from Sony and smart phones, Nintendo has never fallen from the top of the portable gaming mountain.
It was reported that Nintendo was going to announce North American plans for the upcoming 3DS XL, but when nothing was said at their conference rumors began to spread that we might not see it officially in the states. In retrospect it was probably pretty dumb to think Nintendo wouldn’t release a new 3DS in the wake of the successful Vita launch last year.
This is an important time for Nintendo’s portable gaming division. The initial launch of the 3DS was underwhelming, and Sony’s Vita is the most impressive direct competition Nintendo has ever faced. In fact, for the first time since the SEGA Game Gear another company actually owns a respectable share of the market. A market that is shrinking in the age of smart phones and app store games providing much better value for gamers on the go.
For now Nintendo is still the king, and the launch of the 3DS XL should only solidify that. You can expect the newer, larger 3DS to hit shelves in North America August 19th, a few weeks after our Japanese and European brothers get their hands on it, July 28th.