Nintendo has just lifted the lid on the Nintendo 3DS XL, a ballooned out version of its current handheld console that will look to enjoy the same sort of success as the XL version of the original DS. It’s got the biggest screen Nintendo’s ever stuffed into a handheld, but is the company still missing one major component?

Nintendo regional presidents Satoru Shibata and Reggie Fils-Aime have taken to YouTube in Europe and the US respectively to unveil the 3DS XL. It’s a monster of a handheld, with the 3DS’ 3.53-inch stereoscopic 3D display stretched out to 4.88-inches.

The second, touchscreen display has also grown from 3-inch to to 4.18-inches. With that epanded real estate, the 3DS XL boats a much better battery life too, now proffering up to 6.5 hours of play on a 3DS title and up to 10 hours on DS games.

Read our review of the original Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS XL will land on July 28 in the UK, and it’ll be available in blue, red or silver. The UK price hasn’t been confirmed, but the US price is $199, which translates as £127. Although expect that price to rise slightly as it crosses the Atlantic.

Alongside the announcement Ninty’s shown off a few new titles, including New Super Mario Bros 2 (which will launch on August 17th), Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, Mario Tennis and – perhaps most exciting – handheld installment of Super Smash Bros.

Ok, so that’s all the positive stuff out of the way. Now for the griping: the Nintendo 3DS has been lambasted by core gamers for Nintendo’s decision to omit a second analogue stick, which renders it unable to play a range of 3D game types like first person shooters.

Should Nintendo stop making hardware?

Nintendo obviously doesn’t want to fragment its system for developers, but we can’t help but feel that there’s a missed trick here. If you’re going to make the 3DS bigger, why not bundle in a second stick? It’s a far more elegant solution than the bulky analogue stick add-on for the original 3DS.

If Nintendo had done that, the 3DS XL could be seen as the 3DS for more hardcore gaming fans, and be something to really stand up against the technical brilliance of the Playstation Vita.

Is this a missed opportunity? Let us know your thoughts below…

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