Editorial

Nintendo 2DS is a good solution for a problem no one cares about

You may have heard about Nintendo's recent unveiling of its new 2DS portable gaming console. It's basically the Nintendo 3DS minus the 3D and the clamshell design. It's flat both in hardware design and in visuals.

The good news is that the Nintendo 2DS costs only $129.99, which is $40 less than the Nintendo 3DS and $70 less than the 3DS XL. That's on purpose, you see, because Nintendo wants to give it a seemingly low price so price-conscious buyers will feel less guilty splurging on such a device.

It looks like a pretty decent gaming system, too. The price is right, the design is good, and there's little to no unnecessary bells and whistles. It's basically the perfect portable gaming gadget for people who want to own the new video games available for 3DS, but don't want the 3D part of it and do want $40 extra kept in their wallets.

That, however, is where Nintendo missed the target.

It's not that making a cheaper Nintendo DS model was a bad idea,  but the 2DS isn't going to protect Nintendo against its biggest competition right now: smartphones. Cool, this can cater to 2D enthusiasts who want to save a little bit of green. No one cares about that though because that's not the big issue; smartphone games are.

I guarantee the majority of the people who will buy the Nintendo 2DS are shoppers who were already interested in buying a portable gaming console. It's not likely to convince anyone who already carries around a smartphone loaded up with games that they need a separate gaming device.

Plus, the biggest problem isn't the console price, it's the price of the games. Saving $40 on the 2DS (which really isn't that much to begin with) will look practically minuscule after you buy ten or fifteen 3DS games to go along with it. That's hundreds of dollars.

Meanwhile on a smartphone, you can get ten or fifteen games for $15 or less -- and they're usually pretty fun games. Granted, they aren't as lengthy or as graphic intensive as games you could get for your 2DS, but they're good enough for most consumers. That's the key point. Portable gaming devices like the 2DS used to be for anyone who wanted to play a game on the go, and now it's only for people who won't settle for the games that are merely good enough, especially for the price. The vast majority of consumers would rather pay $5 and get five good games instead of paying $50 for one excellent game.

Additionally, the Nintendo 2DS for many people is just another device to carry around. We don't need extras, we all already have enough gadgets nowadays. If playing Animal Crossing means I need to lug around another gadget with another charger, sign me up for Angry Birds. And since I'd be using a smartphone with Angry Birds, I can also use any other app, check my mail, browse the web, listen to music, text message, and make voice or video calls. The Nintendo 2DS can play games and not much else.

No one can deny that games with characters like Mario or Zelda are insanely fun to play and can easily wipe out any smartphone game. It's night and day, really. However, when Mario or Zelda require you to buy a new device to carry around with another charging cable plus buy the (usually expensive) game itself, it's easy to settle for what's available to buy or download on our smartphones.

In order to compete, Nintendo needs to seriously consider dropping the price of the games, and perhaps even try to hit a sub-$100 price point on the hardware. Adding some more useful WiFi-enabled features couldn't hurt either. This would not only keep current gamers loyal to the brand, but it would attract casual gamers stuck in the smartphone's "good enough" zone.

A $130 2D portable gaming device does seem like a solution to something, but it's not for the problem Nintendo desperately needs to address.

Image via Nintendo

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

ORIGIN PC is "definitely" looking at adding next-gen consoles inside Big O PC

Next Story

Xbox business spinoff? Could be possible with Ballmer out of the picture

65 Comments

View more comments

This article is ridiculous smart phones are not a threat the 3DS/2DS , the people buying are people wanting to play console quality games on the go, some will also be smartphone gamers, some wont.

But the point is many of the people who used to buy these dedicated gaming devices to get their gaming fix can now get their gaming fix on smartphones, and aren't buying separate hardware anymore for gaming. Games on smartphones are good enough for most people. You're right that the people buying the 2DS/3DS want console-quality games, but if Nintendo made some changes to their strategy, I think there could be a lot more potential.

I see where you're coming from, but my opinion is biased because I absolutely LOATHE playing games on my iPhone (I also loathe my iPhone but that's another matter) and would much rather play with a handheld like the 2DS. However, I spend all my gaming time on the PC and whenever I do want to play handheld games, I do that on my 1st Gen PSP, but even then I don't play PSP games on it... something about having Streets of Rage in your pocket... phwoar.

Just imagine the cash flow that could be generated from a Mario or Zelda game in the Apps Store or Play Store...

Nintendo should think about that...

Yes, why do you care... I say to the people that are going oh no they gave up on 3d etc. Also, thinking they are doing this for you... I mean you 15 + yrs

This is made for the younger kids that break the clam shell, puts about 40 bucks back in mom and dad's pocket, and has an entry point for the youngster that we might worry about 30 messing up their visual development.

And if you already like your 3DS and Nintendo in general, help out with pointing positives. We want them to do well and get out their funk. The new addition to the DS product line could help give them a boost, whistle the Wii U situation is also being worked on.

The only market the the smartphone gaming environnement might have stolen to Nintendo is the casual gaming one. Anyone who actually enjoys playing regular Nintendo games would never wish he could play them on his smartphone/tablet, and that's a whole bunch of people.

Poke and swipe smartphone games are lame. Their big mistake was that tablet thing on the Wii U. Tablets are extremely boring compared to a game on the big screen, and it's aggravating it keeps telling you to switch to the tablet.

One thing I like about neowin, the articles and editorials are not biased and have a clear cut point.

Yes 2DS should have been cheaper and I believe Nintendo could have made it a lot cheaper. I think the price is where it's at is because of Pokemon.

Once that game is out, they can capitalise on that revenue coming in. It's the same with new console launches, retailers don't put out good bundles on launch day because they can capitalise on the sales and then 3 months later put bundle offers such as a free game/ accessories.

Compared to WMPowerUser, not as biased as those.

If there is a point to make they back it up with a reason, where as sites like WMPowerUser are just ran by fanboys.

Is this the first DS that won't fit into a pocket? No clamshell design means potential for scratching the screen.

Just treat 2DS as small tablet like iPad Mini or Nexus 7 then, it won't fit into pocket but it will do gaming just fine especially for kids. No hinge will be harmed.

TL;DR version

Smart Phones are ubiquitous and therefore Nintendo shouldn't even try to compete in the hand held gaming environment.

carries about as much logic as saying that console manufacturers shouldn't even try to compete because PCs are more powerful and can do much more. After all, who wants too many gadgets in their home?

I feel like the games are a pretty good price for the production value and the quality of the games. There are smaller games available for purchase on the eShop that fill the gap for people expecting something more like a mobile device, but I'd rather spend $20-$40 on a good 3DS game than play the usual mobile fare.

This device seems OK, there are plenty of people who don't care about the 3D, and would just use it around the house and don't really play games when they're out.

I've never used the 3D function on my 3ds, if Nintendo had offered a cheaper version without it I would have bought it for sure

I think the author didn't do his research very well. Otherwise he would have seen that the well over 30 million 3ds's sold shows that nintendo is having no problem whatsoever keeping things going against the supposedly big bad smartphone threat.

Commenting is disabled on this article.