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Nintendo engineers discuss the finer, hidden details of the new 3DS XL

Bigger buttons, less glare, better balance and so much more.

Nintendo 3DS XL
Nintendo 3DS XL
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Nintendo engineers reveal the inner secrets of the 3DS XL.

We've already spent some hands-on time with the Nintendo 3DS XL, finding the extra-large 3D handheld easier on the hands and the eyes. While our experience with the 3DS XL was limited to the exterior of the new device, Nintendo engineers reveal in a new "Iwata Asks" Q&A some of the less obvious internal changes made during the hardware revision.

Engineer Junichiro Miyatake tells president Satoru Iwata the design concept of the 3DS XL was a "softer 3DS with a bigger screen."

"It was only made possible because it was a larger piece of hardware," Miyatake says, "but the battery is in the center of the main body this time, so we could achieve more rounding on the exterior surfaces than ever before. With the battery in the center, the balance of weight is good."

"The A, B, X and Y Buttons, as well as the +Control Pad are bigger and thicker, making them easier to use in play," Miyatake adds. "In particular, we increased the thickness of the key tops height-wise for the L and R Buttons, so they're easier to use too."


Nintendo engineer Takashi Murakami tells his boss that the 3DS XL's new LCD screen has reduced glare, thanks to "the progress of technology."

"On a LCD screen there are basically three reflective layers, which all of them reflects and cause glare," Murakami says. "So this time, we specially treated all the layers. Reflectivity on the Nintendo 3DS was about 12%, but we decreased that to about 3%."

Shoya Tanaka, another Nintendo staffer in the research and engineering division, says the 3DS XL's larger LCD "increases parallax, so players can enjoy stereoscopic 3D with greater impact" and that its 3D slider "has more range, making it easier to adjust to your own preferences."

"Anti-reflection is something that we've been working on for quite some time now. After all, immersion is important for video games."

"And we've pre-installed on the 3DS XL with one sample video for experiencing the stereoscopic 3D," Tanaka adds. "It's a CG movie that Nintendo made drawing upon 3D knowhow gained from the Nintendo 3DS, so I think it will really give you a taste of the capabilities of the 3DS XL."

Finally, the engineers offer a glimpse at some of the internal secrecy behind the development of the Nintendo 3DS XL, saying that development of the new, "clickable" 3D slider required quiet communication between departments.

"If you talk on the phone, others will be able to hear," Tanaka says of coordinating the hardware change, "so we mostly used e-mail."

"Making such preparations in secrecy is pretty difficult," adds Iwata.

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