Why the Nintendo 2DS Isn’t the Handheld We Need

Why the Nintendo 2DS Isn’t the Handheld We Need

A quick analysis of the “newest” addition to Nintendo’s handheld family.

By now, opinions have been coming in from every angle regarding Nintendo’s newest release, heading to stores on October 12. It is undoubtedly one of the most surprising announcements to emerge from the company to date (well, other than that initial ordeal related to EVO and Super Smash Bros. Melee). The general consensus all have come to the same conclusion:

Iis the Nintendo 2DS actually necessary?

Seriously. It’s not like Nintendo has been struggling to maintain market share in the handheld landscape. To date, the 3DS has sold more than 5.5 million units last year, with a global forecast of 3DS sales reaching 18 million for 2013. That doesn’t sound like a sign of failure to me.

Contrary to our featured image, if you scan social networks, blogs and mainstream media outlets, there’s very little hype and fanfare to be found for what’s arriving on deck this fall. Despite the intentions and potential benefits Nintendo assures it will bring to newcomers – time and resources could have been applied elsewhere. The following is a quick outline that goes into detail why the Nintendo 2DS isn’t worth the time of day:

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Timing

According to Gamespot, the 3DS recently dealt with a significant financial impact in which former Sony employee, Seijiro Tomita was awarded 15.1 million in damages from a case that he accused Nintendo from copying from using certain elements from his invented technlogoy. The news suggests Nintendo might be looking to distinguish itself from the allegations, or maybe it’s just an unfortunate event that will blow over in due time.

Call it an identity crisis, or just an unnecessary experiment. 

Perception

The Nintendo 2DS is being released at a time which leaves most critics feeling confused and surprised by the handheld’s existence. It may even be safe to conclude that even Nintendo didn’t find the 3D component to be relevant and serves as a mere gimmick to garner interest. Currently the running joke is – everyone with a 3DS already owns the 2DS – how’s so? Simple, you simply turn the 3D filter off. Wakka-wakka!

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Design

Do we really need to say it? Compared to the rest of Nintendo’s handheld portfolio, the Nintendo 2DS is FAR from attractive. While impressions have reported the unit as being sturdy, the aesthetics aren’t cutting edge, boasting a somewhat dull, plastic form factor. However, the absence of a convenient ability to both screens after use leaves me to conclude that kids/casual users will need to think twice about toting this thing around unprotected.

Sorry, but the clamshell design was warranted, logical and effective. Taking that away simply to eliminate potential confusion (let’s be honest here – some consumers aren’t always willing to make the effort to research a product thoroughly) to me just sounds like further analysis is in order.

If they were going for a slate-inspired design, surely the R&D personnel could have come up with something, anything better than the final design rolling out on October 12. We scoffed at what Apple came up with the iPhone 5C too, and in comparison – even that looks more appealing to carry around in public.

To be frank, the Nintendo 2DS should have been released sooner, rather than later.

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Purpose

Call it an identity crisis, or just an unnecessary experiment. Nintendo considers this an “entry level” design, but in reality – this is a slick move to push more units this holiday season when consumers will undoubtedly have their eye on portable devices. That includes everything from the Kindle, iPads, PlayStation Vita, and yes, Nintendo’s crop of handheld units (3DS, the super-sized 3DS XL, and now. . . the bastard child of the family, Nintendo 2DS). The only saving grace that is sure to turn heads? The price. It’s $40 cheaper than the current 3DS and $70 cheaper than its greatest competitor, the PS Vita, which has been struggling for market share too. But we’re not here to talk about their woes today.

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Longevity

Is the Nintendo 2DS really going to establish a new bankroll for the Kyota-based company? Doubtful. Many consider the decision to roll this system out puzzling and there’s a strong possibility that it won’t achieve a respectable degree of sales to warrant keeping it on store shelves. Kids have selective tastes and they’re certainly a lot more keen to what’s cool and cutting edge these days. If given the choice, I personally wouldn’t buy this for my kid and I am sure most of you would agree. The only matter to consider is – the device is being released in North America and Europe, but isn’t coming to it’s native country? That seems extremely odd. Perhaps Nintendo feels the unit will be a bigger hit in other markets.

To be frank, the Nintendo 2DS should have been released sooner, rather than later. It may be the ideal entry device, for younger, less-demanding audiences, but its gaudy looks and the omission of the 3D capability makes a tough sell that will appeal to consumers on a case-by-base basis. It leaves me to wonder if Nintendo is actually planning to revert back to the 2D-based models in the near future. If so, then the age of seeing our gaming experiences in a new dimension may be running on borrowed time.

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Chris has worked in and around the gaming industry over the past 16 years, including two gaming enthusiast websites and several freelance positions with mainstream media covering trade show expos, strategy guides, and game reviews.