Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime described the Nintendo 2DS as 'an entry-level handheld gaming system," in an interview with Kotaku. Do you already own a handheld system of some sort? The 2DS is not for you. Are you someone who took to a comments section to declare that you already own a 2DS because you own a model of the DS without 3D capabilities or because you simply turn the 3D feature off when using your 3DS? The 2DS is not for you.
So, who is the 2DS for then? Well, those looking to get into the world of Nintendo and handheld games, but primarily kids. The 2DS with its slate design, rather than the traditional clam-shell appearance, resembles Apple's iPad. This has its practicalities, of course, as the console will be sturdier than the more premium DS models and nobody will have to worry about potentially flimsy hinges.
The slate design means that the system is potentially less portable; it can't be folded up and pocketed or tucked into a small bag. However, it is perfect for use in the home and, if out and about, it is likely that parents will take responsibility for it in the same way that they would an iPad or tablet.
Nintendo's main competitor for the 2DS is not Sony's Vita or another handheld console, but the iPad. This design, in addition to the 2DS' price tag of $129.99, indicates that Nintendo is ready to go toe-to-toe with Apple. And who wouldn't want to compete in this space as, for the last three years, Apple's iPad has topped Nielsen's children's holiday wish list survey. According to head of games at IHS Electronics and Media, Piers Harding-Rolls, 'this younger consumer is Nintendo's core user for its handhelds.' While children may get a Nintendo system down the line, it is likely that many play with a parent's iPad. The price tag may convince more parents to invest in a 2DS so that their tablet isn't put at risk, but their children are entertained and distracted.
The 2DS is, perhaps confusingly, part of the 3DS family. This means that unlike the DS and DSi, the 2DS can play games that were released for the 3DS, albeit without the 3D effect. Instantly, those investing in a 2DS as their first device have a huge catalogue of games to choose from. And Nintendo has managed to get some Angry Birds titles, which eats into Apple's advantage even further.
One of the issues facing the 3DS was concerns over children being exposed to the 3D effect and the potential health risks. Nintendo itself recommended that gamers aged seven and up should use the 3DS' 3D effects, but this device allows it to tap into a younger demographic without having to concern itself with public backlash.
The 2DS' two screens are the same size as those on the original 3DS, while it also features two outward-facing cameras that take photos and capture videos in 3D. Bar the lack of 3D and a built-in mono speaker, as opposed to a stereo pair on 3DS, the 2DS doesn't cut corners. It maintains the same online and multiplayer functionality of the 3DS and comes with most of the built-in software that the 3DS does. Nintendo also states that its battery life should be similar to that of other Nintendo handhelds, so those investing for the first time are starting off on the right foot and getting to see what Nintendo is capable of.
Nintendo has always catered for a young demographic, but the launch of the 2DS looks like a very deliberate play to ensure that a Nintendo console is the first handheld that a child uses. Nintendo successfully introduced older people to the gaming landscape with the Wii and it looks as though it's ready to tackle the other end of the spectrum with the launch of the 2DS.
The Nintendo 2DS will be released on Oct. 12, the same day as the eagerly anticipated Pokemon X and Pokemon Y.