Yes, I thought it was a joke too when I first saw it, but this is in fact the real deal – pictured above is the Nintendo 2DS, a stripped down 3DS console with a baffling design.
Though playing all existing Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS games, the 2DS removes the glasses-free 3D functionality that makes the 3DS handheld unique, and removes the DS family’s traditional clamshell design in favour of a more tablet-like tapering slate look. A mono output speaker is offered, though stereo is enabled when headphones are plugged in. Otherwise retaining all of the console’s buttons and the control stick, a slider now controls whether or not the handheld enters standby state.
Somewhat less elegant than the standard 3DS’s lid-shutting design, its aimed at kids now being reared on tablet devices and, from a parenting viewpoint, removes the 3D functionality that some have claimed causes headaches.
“We’re always thinking about what we can do that’s new, unique, different, and brings more people into this category that we love,” said Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, speaking to IGN.
“And so with the Nintendo 3DS, we were clear to parents that, ‘hey, we recommend that your children be seven and older to utilize this device.’ So clearly that creates an opportunity for five-year-olds, six-year-olds, that first-time handheld gaming consumer.
“Let’s have the consumer have access to all of these great games – Mario Kart 7, Animal Crossing – but do it in a 2D capability with a device that has a dramatically lower price point. That’s just an example of how we’re always thinking about, ‘how do we get more people playing games? How do we get more people playing Nintendo games?'”
While the 2DS is clearly not aimed at wizened old gamers like me, I can’t help but feel it’s a bit of a pointless product. If you’re aiming to put it into the clumsy hands of kids little more than toddlers, surely the clamshell design (which is designed to protect the dual screens) is a far more sensible form factor?
Even on pricing its a tough sell. Though starting new at $130 (no UK pricing is confirmed yet, but we’d hazard a guess at around the £100 mark), you can pick up a standard Nintendo 3DS for around £130, and far cheaper second hand, with the benefit of a) being able to protect the screen, and b) advancing to the 3D visuals when the kiddy “comes of age”.
If it’s got you sold though, expect to see it in stores from 12 October.