You could be forgiven for initially laughing off the Nintendo 2DS announcement. At a time where Nintendo are refining their Wii U marketing strategy, introducing another handheld into the mix risks potentially scuppering the hard earned success that the Nintendo 3DS is currently riding.
Positioned as a cheaper alternative within the 3DS family it is sure to find the audience it seeks, therefore proving hard to find fault with the thought behind its introduction. But on the other hand, we also discover a product that, at face value to the unknowing consumer at least, will baffle in that it appears by name alone to be older than that which is already on market.
Naturally, that’s a battle for Nintendo’s marketing teams and their retail partners to conquer, though Nintendo UK’s emerging advertising campaign for Pokémon X and Pokémon Y certainly appears to be making the right approach, citing it as being “the newest and best value addition to the Nintendo 3DS family.” It’s certainly a promising start in getting the message across, and the more long-form video below does much to aid that.
As per usual with Nintendo’s continued drive for absolute perfection, there’s little criticism to throw toward the hardware itself. Sit yourself down with the device for even the briefest of gaming sessions, and you’ll be quick to disperse any concerns that had clouded your mind.
Knee-jerk reactions were dismissive of the 2DS announcement, hardcore gamers circling to criticize the handheld’s “Fisher Price appearance” and asking whether it was April Fool’s Day. Whilst it must be understood that not every product is geared toward attracting the widest possible market, it’s once again the case that you don’t truly understand Nintendo’s hardware decisions until you actually place them in the palm of your hands.
Looking beyond the admittedly perplexing design, the new slate form approach has seemingly striven to produce a far more robust product. Now free from the clamshell design popularised by (and used since) the Nintendo DS launched back in 2004, parents will be safer in the knowledge that, without troublesome hinges, they’re handing their children a product that is far less prone to break.
With the 3DS, Nintendo warned that children under seven shouldn’t use the 3D function, triggering a smear campaign from The Sun which claimed users were reporting the handheld making them feeling sick – something that seemingly only affected the newspaper’s reporters.
It still unsettled consumers and the removal of the function entirely not only allows the price point to be lowered but removes such unnecessary fear from parents wary that their child’s eyes are in danger of bearing witness to Nintendo’s technical prowess.
Leaving the 3DS XL on the market as being that with the largest screens, everything else about the 2DS echoes that of the original. Similarly sized screens and a five-hour battery life will satisfy most circumstances, although the single speaker disappoints – decrying Nintendo’s own wistful melodies through its unsatisfactory mono output.
Comparatively priced, the 2DS certainly sits at the lower end of the spectrum at £109.99 in relation to the 3DS (£139.99) and 3DS XL (£164.99), although the supporting carry case – a necessity to protect from the risk of scratching either screen – will set you back a further £9.99. At £119.98, the cynic in me points out that there’s only a saving of £20 here, although that’s still money saved that can be reinvested in software.
And with the software library now already in place, and in a position where it has heavy hitters covering all genres, there’s little else for Nintendo to worry about. Now to see how it fares in the run-up the Christmas…