Rumors of a larger model of the Nintendo 3DS being in production appeared during June 2012, when Japanese publication Nikkei wrote an article stating that the system was initially scheduled to be unveiled at E3 2012. However, Nintendo responded that these rumors were false and that the article was "entire speculation", but refrained from further commenting on the subject. Finally, on June 21, 2012, the system was announced during a Nintendo Direct presentation. Featuring 90% larger screens than the original Nintendo 3DS, the system was set to launch on all major regions during the middle of the year.
The Nintendo 3DS XL (Nintendo 3DS LL in Japan) was released on July 28, 2012, in Japan, priced at ¥18,900, and was available in Silver + Black, Red + Black and White color variations. In Europe, the system launched on the same day but in Silver + Black, Blue + Black and Red + Black color variations. On August 19, the Nintendo 3DS XL launched in North America, priced at US$199.99, and available in Blue + Black and Red + Black. On August 23, 2012, Australia and New Zealand saw the launch of the new handheld, priced at AU$249.95, and available in the same color variations as in Europe, Silver + Black, Blue + Black and Red + Black. The launch of the Nintendo 3DS XL coincided with the release of New Super Mario Bros. 2, the first Nintendo 3DS game to be available in both retail and downloadable versions.
On September 20, 2012, the Nintendo 3DS XL launched in South Korea, in Silver + Black, Red + Black, and White color variations. On September 28, 2012, the system launched in two other regions, Hong Kong and Taiwan, in Blue + Black and White color variations. In December 2012, Nintendo Chinese distribution partner, iQue, launched the iQue 3DS XL in three special editions, one featuring a Mario decal while the other two feature both Mario and Luigi.