Nintendo just released one of the most seemingly odd announcements in their recent history yesterday: A 2DS, the 3DS, only there isn’t a hinge or any 3D capability. It even has a sticker that says “Plays games in 2D!” It’s bizarre, and goofy… and actually a fairly brilliant move. Here’s why.
It’s Less Likely To Get Destroyed
Anybody who has, or works, with children will tell you that the most effective way to divide a folding item into two pieces is to give it to a small child. As a result, Nintendo has spent quite a lot of money building folding game consoles that won’t break immediately, but kids still manage to destroy them all the time.
So, this tiny little wedge-like item? The first thing running through the heads of most parents will be “Hey, it won’t break!”
It’s Still Undercutting the Vita
It’s worth noting that the PlayStation Vita, at $200, is finally a competitive portable console with the 3DS. And it’s one Sony is aggressively backing with both PS4 support and it must be said a surprising number of games, including a bunch of indies. Oh, and I suppose the NVidia Shield is kinda a threat, if it ever gets any games.
If the 3DS is the family portable, the Vita is the parents’ portable. Nintendo needs to keep its position as the number one company in portable consoles, and putting out a cheap, child-friendly device is a good way to do that. That’s the 2DS to a tee.
It Leverages Their DS Games
Keep in mind that DS games are cheap to make, popular to sell, and Nintendo has a lot of them. A quick visit to Best Buy or Target will show you they don’t have any DS consoles… but they have, and sell, racks and racks of DS games. They’re cheap, too; $20 to $30 for a new game is nothing to sneeze at, especially when the game itself is still playable.
It Doesn’t Infringe On the 3DS
At root, this is Nintendo reintroducing the DS to the general public. It’s not very hard to see why: The DS sold boatloads of systems and people loved it. But Nintendo also can’t back the DS to the detriment of the 3DS… hence this odd, novel solution.
Will the 2DS be successful? Probably. It can play all the games, it’s cheap, it’s got the eShop… There’s a lot of appeal there. We’ll see how Nintendo’s slice of game cake stacks up this holiday season.