Do you remember when Nintendo revealed the 2DS? If so, you surely are going to remember as well how half of–if not the whole of–the gaming community made fun of it. From the design, which just seemed anything but elegant, to the fact that Nintendo backed off their 3D train which they had boarded by publishing the 3DS, it seemed like an entirely awkward step for Nintendo.
A lot of people claimed that the 2DS is nothing but a confession that their 3D feature is not as much of a selling point as they would have thought. While this conclusion isn’t too far-fetched when you think about it, I want to take a closer look at the handheld and sum up why I think that it might be a huge seller at this year’s Christmas, therefore likely launching Nintendo into another huge sales boost for their handheld products for the coming 2014.
The whole system is not aimed to be sold to adults; the goal is to reach the parents who are looking for a nice Christmas gift for their kids and are willing to spend some money for it. While Nintendo might have left a huge impression with the Game Boy’s durability back in 1990 (it could even survive a war!), the DS shattered this image with it’s vulnerable appearance and risky hinges. The first generation of DS Lite had already its very own issues of being shipped with faulty hinges so that it didn’t even take month for them to break during normal usage.
The 3DS saw the hinges issue fixed, but let’s be honest: durability is something else. After all, the 3DS is rather fragile and doesn’t seem to be built for the hands of a clumsy child that can’t treat this handheld as carefully as it would be required in order to stay functional for a long time.
Hinges just tend to be one of the more easily breakable features of the DS product line, even if it does look more elegant to include them than not at all. When you try to sell something to parents of young children, though, elegant looks aren’t what you have to consider most. Nobody would like to spend a few hundred dollars for a toy that breaks after a few weeks. The 2DS comes with a sturdy plastic cover that isn’t all that shiny, unlike the 3DS. But, the 2DS promises to be more sturdy with its new robustly built design.
Looking at the pictures Nintendo showed us, the whole handheld seemed to be the size of a large brick. However, this is nothing but an illusion created by the assumption that the 2DS’ screen would be the same size as the 3DS’. After all, the original press materials never conveyed any real sense of scale, but only now are we realizing that the 2DS is actually much smaller.
In terms of screen size, the 2DS follows the 3DS, as opposed to the 3DS XL. It has a relatively small screen of 3.53 and 3.02 inches. Its permanently open state takes up more space in your pocket, but in the end it’s not as big as an opened 3DS XL. It might even be more comfortable to hold, since its design reminds us more of the original Game Boy. In order to increase the durability, Nintendo left some space to avoid instant damages to important hardware whenever the system is dropped.
3DS feature removal
The 3D slider has been removed and replaced by one labeled “SLEEP”.
Another nagging question that comes up when you read the changes Nintendo made is, “Why did they remove the 3D, one of the major selling points, if not because it wasn’t important?” The answer to this can be found in the targeted audience; when parents are looking for a Christmas gift for their child, they wouldn’t choose something that might be unhealthy for them. The 3DS came with the 3D feature which, as it turned out, isn’t all that good for the eyes of youngsters and states clearly that it isn’t recommended for younger users since it may damage their eyesight.
Of course the 3DS console comes with parental controls to turn it off and parents could try to monitor their child’s usage of it. But let’s be honest here: most of them probably aren’t even aware of the possibility of restricting the 3DS’ settings and don’t want to bother exploring the settings that far by themselves. Besides that, kids aren’t stupid and they will figure out a way to get around it, as they always do.
Of course a Christmas present can be a bit costly, but you don’t want to spend a whole fortune on it. This is where the price cut of the 2DS comes in handy. Thanks to the new design, the whole product may be produced for less, something that results in a significant price drop for the handheld. The 3DS came with two screens; while the 2DS technically only uses one. Now all Nintendo needs for production is the one screen that shows the touch-screen picture at the bottom and the 2D picture at the top of the whole construction. The 3D ability is also no longer a factor, and skipping this integration will also decreases the costs significantly.
The price cut can’t be argued: A 3DS XL takes $199 out of your wallet, a 3DS comes with a $169 price tag. The new 2DS is going to be on sale for $129.99!
This price does attract more than just parents; older people as well as casual gamer may consider buying Nintendo’s handheld when they see the price drop of $30 to $70.
One of the most important selling points for a newly released console are its games. This is a golden rule within the business, and probably the very reason why the 2DS was released on the same date as the new Pokémon on October 12th.
Of course, the 2DS is also a very good option for people who don’t (or don’t plan to) use the 3D feature with its lower price. So for those of you who don’t own a 3DS yet but would like to play Link Between Worlds, this might be something worth considering.
Even if Nintendo’s latest marketing choices seem very questionable (especially regarding the Wii U), the 2DS seems to hit the bullseye! If they communicate their new 2DS model to the target audience in the right way, especially making sure to communicate the differing aspects of the new console, then you might find more 2DS consoles under the Christmas tree this year than any other handheld gaming device.