Editorials

Nintendo announces the 2DS: Good for the kids, I guess

The Nintendo 2DS is a handheld at a lower pricepoint. Is that what Nintendo really needs?

Ted Polak

Who is the 2DS for? Is it for the budget conscious consumer? Is it for the mother worried that her young children’s eyes will melt if they see 3D images? I personally don’t know who it’s for, and I posit that it is for no one.

So today, Nintendo announced the 2DS. It’ll launch alongside Pokemon X and Pokemon Y on October 12, in your choice of red or blue. Obviously, it doesn’t have that clamshell design, so the screens don’t fold. You can put it to sleep by flicking a switch on the bottom right of the unit. Also, obvious by its name, the system only displays in 2D. The screens are the same size as the original 3DS, and there’s only one speaker on the system, which outputs monaural sound. You can still plug in headphones however, which will deliver stereo sound. Feature-wise, other than 3D, the 2DS has all the functionality of the 3DS and even comes with a 4 GB SD card. It’s going to retail for $129.99.

Yeah, this isn’t a practical joke… which was my first reaction when I opened my Twitter feed. This is Alex‘s reaction when I told him about this, straight from Google Hangouts:

lol wait. serious?
bahahahahahahahahah
what the f***
hahahahahahahahaha

Does the mere existence of the 2DS imply that Nintendo has seen that 3D display is a fad? Kind of. The 3DS isn’t going away, but the 2DS would not be allowed to exist if the importance of 3D had waned. Nintendo no longer makes repeated mention of its “beautiful, glasses-free 3D,” only mentioning it when they have no other talking points. If the removal of 3D technology was a way to cut down costs, Nintendo has decided to go down that path to create a lower-cost handheld.

But was it necessary? I can’t envision someone who was reluctant to spend $170 on a 3DS, but would spend $130 on a 2DS. I suppose that if you’re buying more than one, say, for your kids, that $40 savings starts to multiply. I don’t know how prevalent that scenario is going to be, however. The kind of person who would have multiple kids to buy 2DS’s for is likely the same person who lets his or her child borrow the iOS or Android device from time to time. And can you imagine the confusion this will cause at retail? I was just at Target listening to an employee explain that the Wii U was a new system, and Wii U games would not work on their Wii. This is STILL happening, and now you’re going to have to tell people that even though the system has “2D” in its name, it can totally play 3DS games?

It’s no coincidence that the 2DS is launching the same day as the new Pokemon title. They need those kind of exclusives to get kids away from the iOS and Android devices. But will the parents bite? That all depends on how hard Nintendo can market Pokemon at kids and whether or not there are underserved segments of the market that the 2DS will niche into. Other than Pokemon, I can’t really think of any other franchise that could get kids to want a Nintendo product if they didn’t already have one. Not Zelda, not Mario Kart, but Pokemon. If they fail, the 2DS will turn into a novelty product like the Game Boy Micro did, and I’d much rather prefer them to focus their resources on improving aspects of their business that need more tending. Like, say, the Wii U.

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  • http://virtualgamemuseum.webs.com/ Louis D

    My guess the 2Ds is first the consumers who is not into gaming, maybe they are curious about Nintendo’s portable games, but refuse to shell out more than $169.99, the lower price point could incline them on getting one. The others are kids under 7, maybe and the other are gamers who don’t care for the 3D feature, but still want to play Nintendo games. I don’t think it’s for the hardcore Nintendo fans, more to the common consumers. Even glassless 3Ds was interesting, it was just plain gimmicky, I hardly use the 3Ds feature, it’s just a gimmick. I think it’s trying to do what the Wii did, bringing an audience beyond the gamers. My only grip is that it uses the same screen size as the regular 3Ds.

  • Stealth

    Its a brilliant move by Nintendo. 130? sell out

  • http://gamerhorizon.com/ Ari Margo

    The fact that the system doesn’t fold makes it seem worse for kids in my opinion. 2DS screens are going to get scratched to hell and back.

  • http://www.gamerhorizon.com/ Alex Inigo

    It’s definitely an interesting move by Nintendo, seeing as how the 2DS would undercut the Vita’s current price. But my question is whether or not this would create feature parity for games? For the longest time, Nintendo bragged that you needed to play Super Mario 3D Land with the 3D turned on. Is this no longer an option then?

    I’ve been saying time and time again in previous episodes of the podcast: Nintendo has a tendency to release brand new handhelds every year, but this move back to 2D is a bit curious.

  • http://www.gamerhorizon.com/ Ted Polak

    It is opinion, and I don’t know what will happen come next month. There’s no doubt that the handheld business is under assault from all sides, now that Google is the #2 in revenue as far as games go.

    If I am wrong, that means more games for the kids, and more kids growing up with more meatier game experiences.

  • Stealth

    No they arent. And please dont say you believed that bias mobile payed piece of trash graph.

    3ds is the top system in the world. I know what will happen next month. The same that has happened every month the last 2 years.

    3ds is number 1

  • http://www.gamerhorizon.com/ Ted Polak

    iOS is number 1. Android is number 2. 3DS is number 3. Money talks. Explain how the graph is biased.

  • Stealth

    3ds is number 1.

  • http://virtualgamemuseum.webs.com/ Louis D

    They should included a cover for it, lol… As of the hinge, I heard to lower the cost, it’s like articulation on action figures, it cost money, and also it tend to break or to be loose.

  • http://virtualgamemuseum.webs.com/ Louis D

    Like I said, it’s for consumers who don’t care about 3D or Big Screen, I know it’s not for me. At Least it’s not like the GameBoy Micro which is smaller than the SP including the screen, but cost more than the SP. Look at it this way, more consumers buy any version of the 3Ds, means more software coming, I guess.

    Now let’s see if Nintendo will do a Nintendo “1Ds”, lol…..