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

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65 Comments

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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.

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 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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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 think they would have been better off making a Nintendo Tablet, but with controller buttons...o h wait they they already do, but you have to buy a Wii U to get it.
Sorry but being unable to fold, this device seems like a step backwards, like something that should have come out BEFORE the 3DS.
I like Nintendo games, but I'm not a big fan of their direction in hardware. I'm willing to miss out on the games and find gaming elsewhere. It just isn't worth the premium it used to be. The games aren't even as innovative as they used to be. Nintendo is a generation behind.

What I heard was the 2DS is meant for smaller children who are prone to dropping and smacking things. Of course nothing can really protect the screen from THAT the hand design is however made for ease of holding and less prone to dropping.

Now you can't really say it's a cheap alternative for those who cannot afford 3DS (you're already in the +130 dollar range, what's another 20?). 3DS is $150 atm here, not sure about elsewhere though..

I don't know about you guys but I always find a handheld more engaging than a Smartphone. I think this is because prefer old style Analog / D-Pad.

The main reason the 3DS/2DS will sell is because of the games. Pokemon is a prime example.

I know you can emulate some of these games on your Smartphone but it's just not the same. Also 3DS games have not been cracked open fully yet so no emulators are about (well we have Gateway 3DS but you need an actual 3DS for that.)

Nintendo have been smart and made games that are exclusive to only there consoles. This is what keeps people hooked on buying the handhelds.

Even if it does look like a door wedge that can't fit into your pocket it will sell.

Right.. For every. Single. Generation. Of Nintendo handheld going back to monochrome GameBoy, Pokémon games are the highest sellers. This wasn't even mentioned.

HawkMan said,
There was no Pokemon on the monocrhome gameboy.

Pokémon Red/Blue/Green were released for the Gameboy/Gameboy Pocket.

Nintendo and Microsoft make the same mistake. They provide for what they want and not for what customers want. Nintendo should come out with a smartphone and Microsoft should remove everything Metro except the Start Screen and Metro programs from desktop. (The Metro-ish app switcher, The Wi-Fi window, The second task bar for Metro, The Charms bar, and use File Explorer for search.)

Nintendo has demonstrated an inability to adapt to changes that reshaped the gaming industry. Aside from the Wii that was a pure genius strike - but since rendered obsolete by other innovations - the not so recent hardware history was simply awful. They remain stuck within their Japanese paradigm.

Unfortunately, salvation for them is the Sega way. By leaving the hardware business aside for some time (or longer) they could make their software franchises thrive and reach unprecedented level by embracing the two other major platforms.

This is the outcome, whether we like it or not.

I would rather they sell their games for smartphones and tablets. I might be interested in buying them for near full price, but who wants another device to carry around.

Scott Hellewell said,
but who wants another device to carry around.

Obviously enough people because the DS and now the 3DS have dominated game system sales for the past 9 years now.

Lord Method Man said,

Obviously enough people because the DS and now the 3DS have dominated game system sales for the past 9 years now.


Main reason for that is piracy

I like the idea of it, as 3D ends up giving me bad headaches pretty quickly. However i do think the design of it looks awful, i would sooner buy the 3DS and just turn the 3D off.

weird strategy. even weirder design. wtf. but then nintendo has always have their own unique vision about gaming.

It's for kids. The hingest break easy so it doesn't have them, this makes it more durable. It doesn't have 3D because it isn't good for children. Reviewers have said it is very comfortable to hold also.

Do you have any experience or source for the hinges breaking easily ?

because the hinges on the 3DS are damn solid and I have not seen anyone break outside of one that was stepped on by an adult, face down, and the hinges didn't actually break, a bit out of alignment but the whole thing worked.

Or people who just don't like 3D, but are interested in the games. 3D gives me a headache - I avoid 3D movies whenever possible, and trying the 3DS for 5 minutes was enough to give me a splitting headache for an hour. A less expensive version without the 3D gimmick sounds like an excellent idea to me.

You know you could just turn off the 3d with the 3d slider right? That's how I play the majority of my 3DS games. Also the 3DS seems easier to carry around than the 2DS if you plan to play it on the go.

DarkEnzanArikado said,
You know you could just turn off the 3d with the 3d slider right? That's how I play the majority of my 3DS games. Also the 3DS seems easier to carry around than the 2DS if you plan to play it on the go.
Why pay extra for the 3D display if you're not going to use it?

virtorio said,
Why pay extra for the 3D display if you're not going to use it?

Because 2D version wasn't always available!

virtorio said,
Why pay extra for the 3D display if you're not going to use it?

Well like I said before, if you plan to transport it, it is smaller with the clam shell design and it also protects the screen. Also because it is a clam shell, the top screen is on a bit of an angle to make it easier to see just like how you would angle a multi monitor setup because having it straight on just makes it harder to see. If obviously if that doesn't appeal to you then sure, it isn't worth paying for it. I am not making a total case that you should pay more for the regular 3DS or the 3DSXL. I only own the 3DS XL for Fire Emblem: Awakening and Virtue's Last Reward and that's it. I am just saying that you can turn it off because DConnell sounded like he didn't know that you could even turn it off and you had to be forced on 3D like if it was a movie.

But quite frankly, the design of this system seems like a Fisher Price product or something. I am glad they are trying to focus on a market that clearly seems important to them but it would be nice for the platform to actually have more games that I would actually care for.

I've been checking the pricing, and you can pick up a 3DS for less than they're marketing the 2DS at. GAME and Amazon have both got at least 1 3DS device (brand new) which is cheaper than the initial 2DS price tag.

The main market is children, who are unlikely to have smart phones. Unless you're an irresponsible parent.

Yes you may loan yours to your kid, but with this you don't have to and they can play Mario on it.

IMO smartphones aren't the actual rivals of the 2DS. There are bigger rivals, namely the cheapo 7" tabs (add a bit more and you get a Nexus 7.2), or if the parents are sheep then the iPad Mini.

He's right, the market is clearly children. I'd love to see an adult using one of these things so I could ridicule them, you know when I get bored of correcting people like -adrian- :-)

I'm not saying I would buy a 2DS for my child (they wouldn't be getting anything until at least 7 years old) but other parents give them to 2 year olds so...

(Source for the 2 yo comment, Reddit)

-adrian- said,
Yes. good parenting is a nintendo 2DS for your child. Listen and Learn from that guy

So children shouldn't be allowed to have toys? What kind of parenting is that?

I'm not a parent, but I think its pathetic you guys are arguing over how one should bring up their children. Seriously, grow up.

I do personally think smartphones and tablets are the end for hand held consoles.

If I were to place any bets, I'd say children are more likely to want the 3DS more than the 2DS especially if they see their friends with the cooler 3D model. And most people are willing to spend the extra $40 to satisfy their kids.

Chasethebase said,
The main market is children, who are unlikely to have smart phones. Unless you're an irresponsible parent.

Well, that's an awful generalization...

Chasethebase said,
The main market is children, who are unlikely to have smart phones. Unless you're an irresponsible parent.

What an absolutely absurd and completely moronic thing to say. Giving a child a smartphone doesn't make you an irresponsible parent in any way, shape or form. The inability to govern how long they stare at their screens is irresponsible parenting.