Nintendo 3DS XL Launches Across Europe Today, is it worth the money?

The 3DS is not even 18 months old but today it receives an upgrade with the release of the 3DS XL across Europe. The redesign features screens that are 90% larger than the original and a battery life that can extend much further than before. It comes available in silver, blue and red, the stylus is back to being stored horizontally at the right hand side of the console, and the charger must be bought separately.

It is perhaps not a major surprise to see the portable console reinvigorated considering Nintendo have a bit of a reputation for releasing new models for current-gen portable consoles. The original Game Boy had the Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Color added to its repertoire; the Game Boy Advance had the much improved GBA SP and the teeny weeny GBA Micro; and of course back in 2006 the Nintendo DS received a facelift just after the cumbersome beast’s first birthday when the DS Lite was launched, a console that was also upgraded to the DSi and DSi XL.

These additions all added something new to the previous models and they were all important for innovating future devices. It is understandable however, that many gamers become disgruntled when hardware gets a shiny new upgrade, especially when they’ve forked out their hard-earned cash for the original device. The Nintendo DS for example sold for £99.99 when it was first launched and the DS Lite upon its launch sold for the very same price. That’s two hundred big ones you would have needed to spend in just over a year, and many people did.

The 3DS XL is asking gamers to do a lot more though. When the 3DS launched it was priced at around £200 but the price was lowered a few months later to around £170 in order to increase sales. It’s fair to say then that 3DS owners have spent a pretty penny on the device no matter when they bought it. Can they really be asked to find more money to buy the 3DS XL? The XL is retailing at around £174-£180 depending on where you shop meaning that if you bought the 3DS on launch you’ll have a total spend of around £400. That is a lot of money to invest in something you essentially already own. Are there really enough features on the XL that will make you turn your back on the original 3DS and invest in this new kit?

The DS certainly needed its upgrade; it was big and bulky and had a short battery life so the DS Lite was welcomed with open arms by most Nintendo gamers. It was obviously lighter, smaller, easier to handle, had an improved battery life, a larger display, and improved backlighting. These were quite major changes to the original device. The 3DS XL is more of a fine-tuning exercise. At its heart it is the 3DS it’s just been pushed that little bit harder. The biggest enhancements are the impressively larger screens and the much improved battery life which can get up to 10 hours of play under its belt before flashing that horrible red light at you. As good as that is, these aren’t major changes and yet 3DS owners are being asked to shell out a lot of money for the upgrade.

So what are your options when you already own a 3DS but are looking to buy a 3DS XL? Well your first option is to let your wallet take the hit and buy the 3DS XL outright and own both consoles; your second more economic option is to trade in your 3DS and use the money you receive in part-exchange for the larger device. At the moment Game is offering the 3DS XL (with a charger) for £79.99 if you trade in your 3DS, but do you want to?

Personally I’ve grown quite attached to my Aqua Blue 3DS and I really don’t want to sell it, especially considering it cost me much more than the trade-in price I would receive. The sensible side of my brain won’t allow me to go and buy something I really don’t need so it looks like I will have to go without, at least for a while. The 3DS to 3DS XL upgrade is a lot like the DS Lite to DSi and DSi XL upgrade: good, but not totally necessary.

I actually held off the 3DS for a little while because I had a feeling Nintendo would bring out a new console to solve the issue with the poor battery life. After a while I caved in and got myself one and lo and behold up pops the 3DS XL waving its massive screens in my despairing face. There really is no saying that this will be Nintendo’s last instalment of the 3DS, there might be more in the pipeline still to come. Perhaps holding off from the XL will offer a better reward; though I have to be honest, what more can they do to it?

In my opinion Nintendo should do more to entice 3DS owners to get a 3DS XL. For example when they lowered the price, Nintendo rewarded those who had purchased the console for the higher price around launch time with twenty free downloadable games. It’d be nice to see them do the same here, if you have a 3DS registered on your Club Nintendo account and you register a 3DS XL then there should be a reward for you; maybe some downloadable games or a voucher to get yourself a free game from a participating retailer. There has to be some sort of incentive.

The way I see it, the 3DS XL is great for those who don’t already own a 3DS but is punishing for those who do. Non-3DS owners are the only real winners in this. Well them and games retailers making a nice tidy sum from 3DS trade-ins of course…

My advice to people thinking of getting a 3DS XL, whether you own a 3DS already or not, is to find somewhere where you can try it out first. There should be a few retailers around that will have one playable in-store. It’s a decision you’ll have to make for yourself, don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s, if you want to know if it’s worth paying for or not you’re going to have to try it out for yourself. I’ve played on the 3DS XL and I really do like it a lot, the screen size makes such a massive difference and really breathes new life into existing games, it sits very snugly into your hands, and the extended battery life is so sorely needed! Believe me the irrational side of my brain is fighting hard against the sensible side in its attempt to persuade me to buy one but in the end I just can’t bring myself to do it. If I spent that amount of money on the 3DS XL then what will I do when the Wii U comes out later this year? Which do I want more? The Wii U. That answer made my decision for me.

So what do you think about the 3DS XL? Are you going to buy one? If you do will you be trading in your old 3DS for it or are you going to splash the cash? Let us know your thoughts.

2 Responses to “Nintendo 3DS XL Launches Across Europe Today, is it worth the money?”
  1. Dipesh says:

    Lot of very sensible observations here – probably isn’t worth it if you already own a 3DS but temptation is a ***** …


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