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Nintendo DSi XL's screen 93 percent bigger

At its first-quarter media event, Nintendo unveils newest DS handheld game machine, touts record 2009 sales numbers, and announces Super Mario Galaxy 2's launch date.

Nintendo of America executive vice president Cammie Dunaway shows off the brand-new DSi XL, which has a 93 percent larger screen than its DSi predecessor.
Daniel Terdiman/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--At its first-quarter media summit on Wednesday, Nintendo formally unveiled the newest model in its long-running DS line of handheld video game machines, the DSi XL.

With a 93 percent bigger screen than the DSi, the XL is intended to offer a more social gaming experience, as it will enable multiple viewing angles, said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America executive vice president of sales and marketing. That means, she predicted, that when someone plays games on a DSi XL, the machine's larger screens will be inviting to other people nearby, making for more social play.

"This product really fills a gap between portable play and social experiences," Dunaway said, "that up until now is only available on consoles."

The new DSi XL will be available on March 28, selling for $190.

A promotional slide for the new Nintendo DSi XL Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Although Dunaway acknowledged that Wednesday's event is mainly geared at showing off Nintendo's first-quarter lineup of games, she opened her remarks with some statistics about the company's 2009 performance.

Among the highlights were the facts that in December, Nintendo sold a video game industry record of 3.8 million Wii consoles, a figure Dunaway said represented the largest number of consoles any company has ever sold in a single month.

In addition, she said that in December, the company sold a record 24.9 million Wii games. And she added that in 2009, Nintendo sold a record 11 million DS units.

"All these records demonstrate two truths," Dunaway said. "Our two systems are selling faster than they have ever sold. And the second truth is that those hardware systems don't get sold, unless there are great experiences that people can enjoy on them. So, as always, software [sells hardware]."

Another hotly awaited piece of news from the event is that Nintendo will begin selling Super Mario Galaxy 2 on May 23.

Dunaway also said that while Nintendo has had significant success with its first-party games, third-party titles are also crucial to the Wii and DS platforms.

As of December 31, said Steve Singer, Nintendo of America's vice president of licensing, while 22 Wii first-party games have topped 1 million units sold, 54 third-party titles have passed that milestone. Similarly, on the DS, while 45 Nintendo titles have surpassed a million units sold, 63 third-party games have also sold that many.

The last piece of significant news from the event was the announcement that Nintendo will be releasing Metroid: Other M on June 27.

In addition, during the media event, Nintendo and its partners announced that they would release Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies for DS this summer; Capcom's Wii game Monster Hunter Tri in the Untied States on April 20; Sin and Punishment: Star Successor from Treasure for Wii on June 7 in North America; FlingSmash this summer on Wii; Picross 3D on May 3 for DS; 100 Classic Books for DS on June 14; Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, from Ubisoft, on May 18, for both Wii and DS; Disney Guilty Party for Wii in the second half of the year; and Majesco's Ghostwire: Link to the Paranormal for DSi in October.

Update, 9:57 a.m. PST: This story now includes figures related to sales of third-party games for Nintendo platforms.

Update, 10:46 a.m. PST: This story also now includes a full list of the games Nintendo announced at its media event.