Nintendo's James Honeywell reveals all about the new handheld

With DSi XL winging its way to the UK on March 5th, it's about time CVG got the inside track from Nintendo.

Here, we ask Nintendo's senior product manager for DS James Honeywell all about the console - and the audience it's been designed for...

What is the first difference to any other console out there that gamers will notice when playing on the machine?
One of the key benefits of the new DSi XL is just how great all of your games will look on the bigger screens and how engrossing the experience can be. I have personally found that playing some of my old favourite games like New Super Mario Bros and Mario Kart DS on the DSi XL makes them feel new again.

Playing them on the DSi XL you will definitely see a level of detail you never knew was there before. And playing more recent titles like Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks will look and feel better than ever.

Seeing those massive 3D bosses in Spirit Tracks displayed across two bigger screens is really impressive. I hope everyone takes the time to see our demo's in-store to experience for themselves as I'm sure they will be convinced when they see it.

So, people had big DS consoles, then they bought smaller ones - what does XL offer that means they'll now want a bigger one again?
Until the introduction of DSi XL only the size of the units has really changed (the move from DS Lite to DSi did see a small increase in screen size), and while the DSi XL is bigger than the DS Lite the benefit is that the screens have jumped 93% in size to 4.2 inches.
So now you have enjoy the same improved visual style but with bigger and better screens.

Could DSi XL bring 'new life' to consumers' old DS games?
We know of a lot of people who've been able to get their hands on Japanese units and have been re-visiting many of their favourite titles to experience them on DSiXL.

While there are lots of great new games to play on DSi XL, playing your old favourite titles again on the bigger screens will breathe new life into them.

Does the XL offer any difference in terms of battery life?
Improvements in the screen have also seen an improvement in the battery life so now you should be able to play for longer between charges.

Battery life is something that we always take very seriously and even though we increased the size of the screens this won't have any detrimental effects on how long you can play.

Are you considering releasing any specific software for the device?
The DSi XL benefits from the same DSiWare service as the DSi. This service already offers a wide range of DSi enhanced titles like WarioWare Snapped and useful applications like Dictionary 6-in-1 which allows you to take pictures of words on signs, on menus or any where else and translate them into six languages.

As an introduction to this service all DSi XL units with come pre-installed with Dictionary 6-in-1 and a new DSi enhanced version of Brain Training so we hope that people will see what value the DSi XL represents.

Is DSi XL 'just for old people'?
Absolutely not. DSi XL appeals to as many people, if not more than its predecessors. With bigger screens and a larger pen-like stylus it's likely that older users may find the DSi XL easier and more comfortable to use but there are many more people it can and will appeal to.

Gamers will undoubtedly appreciate the bigger screens so they can experience their favourite and the latest DS titles bigger and in a greater level of detail than ever before. We certainly know that a lot of families who play DS together will enjoy the wider viewing angle the DSi XL allows so they can play together at home and the fact the bigger stylus is less likely to get lost down the back of the sofa is another bonus for them.