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Nintendo Announces Nintendo 2DS XL

Nintendo continued two of its favorite trends--incremental hardware updates and inscrutable branding decisions--with the New Nintendo 2DS XL. The portable system is a successor to the wedge-shaped Nintendo 2DS, introduced as a budget option for people who want to play Nintendo 3DS games without paying for stereoscopic 3D support. Now it's been redesigned with a clamshell form factor, larger screens, and a black-and-blue color scheme.

This product line has always been a little strange. It started with the Nintendo 3DS, expanded with the Nintendo 3DS XL, jumped to the Nintendo 2DS, moved on to the New Nintendo 3DS and New Nintendo 3DS XL, and has now added the New Nintendo 2DS XL. Remember when Nintendo's handhelds were clearly named (GameBoy, GameBoy Pocket, GameBoy Color, GameBoy Advance) and didn't sound like a word jumble? Neither do we.

On to the New Nintendo 2DS XL. Here's what Nintendo said about the product in its announcement:

The new system will be available in a stylish black/turquoise color, and will use the same size large screen found on New Nintendo 3DS XL systems. As the name of the new system implies, visuals will be displayed in 2D only. The system is lighter but still packs the same power as New Nintendo 3DS XL, and has built-in NFC support for amiibo cards and figures.

The company has also updated the Nintendo 2DS website with more information about this latest upgrade. It also said that more than 1,000 games are available for the new handheld, although it's not clear if that figure also includes Nintendo DS games, with which these handhelds are backwards compatible. (Again, remember when it was easy to figure out what someone meant whenever they said a Nintendo console's name?)

The New Nintendo 2DS XL's announcement comes at a strange time for Nintendo. The company recently said that the Nintendo Switch was the fastest-selling console in its North American history, and later revealed that it's sold 2.74 million units worldwide. The Switch's main appeal is its ability to serve as both a home console and a handheld gaming device--yet it has to share the latter market with the entire Nintendo 3DS product line.

That makes sense given the Nintendo 3DS' success; Nintendo said on its website that's it's sold more than 58.85 million units of that product family worldwide. The company doesn't seem to be in any rush to bolster the Switch by moving past the Nintendo 3DS, and with the announcement of the New Nintendo 2DS XL, it's clear that this approach isn't restricted to releasing new games for all the Nintendo 3DS handhelds people already own.

The New Nintendo 2DS XL will cost $150 when it debuts in the U.S. on July 28.