The price drop of the Wii U deluxe edition wasn’t the only news coming out of the Nintendo camp today as they also announced the 2DS, a slightly baffling variant of their current handheld system, the 3DS. The system, which is set to release on October 12, 2013 alongside Pokémon X and Y is an entry level system designed for players younger than the 3DS’ recommended age of seven. The system is compatible with all DS and 3DS games but lacks the ability to display in 3D. The system looks like a thinly sliced piece of cake and bears more resemblance to a tablet than it does the 3DS as the ability to close the system on itself is gone. All other functionality present in the 3DS will be making its way to the 2DS as you’ll be able to replicate closing the clamshell case with a slider along with turning off Wi-Fi with software rather than a physical switch.
In speaking with IGN, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said the 2DS was born out of a desire to get more people playing Nintendo games and that while they recommended 3DS players to be at least seven years of age, the 2DS offers an affordable (retail price is $129.99 vs. $169.99 for 3DS, $199.99 for 3DSXL) alternative entry point for parents with younger gamers. While getting younger kids involved in gaming is always a good thing, you have to wonder about this move by Nintendo; for starters, wasn’t their DS and DSLite offerings essentially a 2DS? Not to mention the possible retail confusion when a parent is at the store and sees both a 2DS and a 3DS next to each other; the Playstation 3 followed the Playstation 2 and it could possibly create confusion of being an inferior product. In regards to the development side, it could be seen as a lack of belief behind your original product (3DS) and may deter some developers from utilizing the system.
Other interesting items to note about the 2DS is that it will ship with a 4GB SD memory card for storage and the system only has one speaker that outputs mono but full stereo is available for those that use the headphone jack. With handheld offerings that already include the 3DS and 3DSXL, as well as Sony’s own Playstation Vita, you have to wonder if there is room for another system to compete in the handheld market. Especially when you consider that due to the design of the 2DS it is the least portable of the devices. While each of those systems are impressive in their own right, part of their mass market appeal is their portability and the bulky 2DS definitely won’t be fitting into anyone’s pocket anytime soon. Stay tuned for more news on the 2DS as we draw closer to its October launch.