Nintendo 3DS spinoff, the 2DS, announced

As many of you may have already heard, Nintendo has made some interesting announcements this morning.  Most interesting to me (and probably most others) is a new spinoff handheld called the Nintendo 2DS that will be released in the near future.  This device features the same functionality as the 3DS–analog disc, two touch screens, cameras–and can play all 3DS and original DS games, just as the original device could, but strips the 3D feature out of the device in order to cut costs.  This means that Nintendo can finally hit that sweet spot price point of $129.99.

I find this a very interesting move on Nintendo’s part.  It’s smart of them to find a way such as this to cut the production costs on the 3DS, easily their most profitable device right now, and get more of them into the hands of kids and adults around the world in order to sell more games (and in turn make more money on that).  Cutting the 3D may seem like it removes the original point of the device, but it seems like few people even use the function more than a few minutes (my usage of it varies from game to game, but it’s usually off).  Whether this means that 3DS developers will no longer bother to code for 3D screens at this point remains to be seen; perhaps Nintendo will still recommend developers work on the feature (and I’m sure that they as a company will still use it too).  The lower price point coupled with the pretty exceptional library that the 3DS now has makes it a pretty good deal for those wanting to get into the handheld space again.

The only real problem I have with the 2DS is its look.  I attached an image of it above, and it doesn’t look great.  Many have joked that it looks very Fisher Price-esque, a fact I can’t help but agree with.  Most distressing to me is that this redesign ruins what I see one of the biggest pluses for Nintendo handhelds–its portability.  There is no longer a hinge in the center, meaning the device cannot be closed for easier transport.  From the pictures, the 2DS looks to be about as big as the 3DSXL when opened, a size that is fairly large.  The lower price point and no 3D may better sell the device to younger children, but I wouldn’t want to carry around something so large if I was a kid.  Maybe I’m underestimating how much it costs to build in a hinge, but I still think that Nintendo would have been better off just stripping the 3D functionality but making the device still fold (and differentiating the device through a stylistic choice instead).

Even with my distaste for the design of the 2DS, these are some of the smartest business decisions that Nintendo has made in months.

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