Nintendo talks about 3DS XL Technology improvements.
Murakami: We checked out various methods and technologies and found a new, as-yet-unestablished, technology for decreasing power consumption.
Murakami: It’s a technology for holding down power consumption that, compared to the Nintendo 3DS, improves the use efficiency of light from the backlight.
Iwata: When you view 3D images on the Nintendo 3DS, the liquid-crystal barrier blocks the images for the left and right eyes from each other, so the efficiency of the light is halved. You thought that improving that would also save power.
Murakami: Right. With had our parts maker developed a new method for improving transmittance (the amount of light emitted), and in the end were able to adopt it.
Iwata: It’s a new technology that didn’t exist when we made the Nintendo 3DS, so I would imagine that dragged on until the last moment.
Murakami: Yes. We made fine adjustments up to the last second. Usually, you should determine the LCD specifications early on, but they actually didn’t solidify until the end of last year.
Iwata: But that time spent solved the two problems of screen brightness and battery life, so it really paid off. The 3DS XL also gets a new set of speakers to fit inside the case of the new handheld as the ones used in the original 3DS will not fit.
Fujita: Yes. Speaker size influences frame design, but the first design picture that came to our design team was already such that the same speaker as in the Nintendo 3DS wouldn’t fit. (laughs)
Fujita: As much as possible, we wanted to achieve what was pictured, so we searched for small speakers, and considered moving the speakers to the bottom half. We modified the DSi XL and put the speakers by the buttons, and checked how it sounded by listening to the opening theme music from Dragon Quest.
Iwata: But if the speakers get smaller or sound comes from someplace other than the screen, then the sound may have half the effect.
Fujita: Yes, musics play important role in the games, so we had a number of speaker makers introduce a variety of technologies and heard about some thinner, elongated speakers.
Iwata: You made custom-sized speakers to fit within a limited, narrow space. How do they sound?
Fujita: On a graph of acoustic characteristics, they aren’t exactly identical to the Nintendo 3DS speakers. The speaker size is smaller than that of the ones on the 3DS so sonically it had a disadvantage. But by fine-tuning the structure and capabilities of the speakers itself, and then optimizing the sound with the software, we tried to have them sound like the ones on the 3DS as closely as possible.
The engineers even redesigned the buttons on the 3DS XL.
Miyatake: As for something we haven’t touched on yet, I’d like people to look at to how some aspects of operation have improved. The A, B, X and Y Buttons, as well as the +Control Pad are bigger and thicker, making them easier to use in play. 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. …
Miyatake: And for Start, Select and Home Buttons, I had the designers work hard so the keys sink in a seesawing action. They have a long and thin key top, and wherever you press them, they sink right in.
Other than the size, the biggest change that gamers will likely notice is the new anti-reflection technology being used with the 3DS XL.
Murakami: Yes. On a LCD screen there are basically three reflective layers, which all of them reflects and cause glare. So this time, we specially treated all the layers. Reflectivity on the Nintendo 3DS was about 12%, but we decreased that to about 3%.
Iwata: Why were you able to do that this time?
Murakami: Simply put, the progress of technology.
Iwata: AR coats have been around for quite some time. Is the principle the same?
Murakami: The principle is the same, but the manufacturing process is different. And then there’s the cost. It used to be really expensive.
Iwata: Anti-reflection has been a topic every time since the Game Boy Advance system, but most of the time we had to give it up because of the cost.
Murakami: But we continued to keep an eye on the technology the whole time.
Iwata: And the time came.
The Nintendo 3DS XL launches on August 19 in North America, August 23 in Europe and July 28 in Japan.
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