Nintendo has finally found success with its Nintendo 3DS handheld console after a rocky start, but while plenty of people have found fun with the system's game library, not everyone is sold on the 3D functionality. Moreover, small children are not advised to use the 3D options, so parents may not be so eager to spend $180 on a device that their kids cannot use to the fullest. How does Nintendo solve this? Here comes the new Nintendo 2DS, a non-folding non-3D variation on the 3DS. It plays all 3DS and Nintendo DS games, but doesn't include the 3D screen or the clam-shell design. Sleep mode is triggered by a manual switch rather than closing the system. Suggested retail price in North America is $130 and it's due to release on October 12 in snazzy red and blue varieties. Here's some of the company's press release:
Nintendo 2DS plays the entire library of packaged and downloadable games for Nintendo 3DS only in 2D. The system features a distinctive fixed, slate-type form factor, and optional carrying cases will be available in Red or Blue at launch at a suggested retail price of $12.99. Nintendo 2DS maintains many of the same hardware features as Nintendo 3DS: dual screens, game-play controls and touch-screen features. The system also has backward compatibility with the existing library of more than 2,000 Nintendo DS games, as well as access to wireless connectivity features like multiplayer online game play, fun Nintendo Video content and great digitally delivered games in the Nintendo eShop.
It's certainly a surprise announcement and the online community is quick to react negatively, but remember that Nintendo has aimed the 2DS at young children; specifically, parents buying a handheld system for young children. By eliminating some of the costly features of the 3DS, Nintendo can offer the system at a lower price and deliver a product that careless kids are less likely to break (good luck snapping the hinge on a system that doesn't have one). The 2DS isn't meant to slide into your pocket. It's meant to go in a kid's backpack or Mom's purse. The lower price is especially important when buying new handhelds for more than one child.
There's also a secondary market for the 2DS: adults who don't want the 3D visuals. Whenever I try to show my fiancée Nicole a 3DS game, she recoils like a robot trying to divide by zero unless I turn off the 3D. Some people just can't look at the 3D screen in action without feeling ill. While the 3DS's 3D can be disabled, offering a model that excludes it entirely for a lower price may help fuel impulse purchases. So, all that said, if you're scoffing at the 2DS, remember that it's not for you. Others will go for it, but I don't see it overtaking the 3DS itself as the primary product in the Nintendo handheld family.