2DS: Nintendo's $129.99 Stocking Stuffer
Considering how much the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 cost, at $499.99 and $399.99 respectively, $129.99 seems like a bargain.
That's the price of Nintendo's 2DS, the surprise 3DS-like redesign that has everyone talking.
It plays all DS and 3DS games, but doesn't include glasses-free 3D. Not only that, but it ditches the clam shell design we grew accustomed to with the Game Boy Advance SP, in favor of a slate/tablet-style appearance that brings to mind the original Game Boy/GBA.
As satisfied 3DS owners, the 2DS is a bit of a curve ball. We don't use the 3D feature all the time, but enjoy having the option. The biggest sticking point, though, is the design. It's been so long since we've used a Game Boy or GBA, that the thought of not being able to close the system seems bizarre.
At the same time, we think 2DS will have a bright future, largely because of the price. Selling it for a mere $129.99 allows Nintendo to reach a wider audience unable to buy the 3DS and 3DS XL; in addition, it plays all DS games.
Considering high-powered smart phones and tablets sell for $199.99 and up, this allows Nintendo to aggressively compete with mobile. Then we have the traditional handheld space and PlayStation Vita. Sony just slashed the price of its portable to $199.99, and Nintendo has once again taken the proverbial wind out of it sails with a price cut; suffice to say, no one expected the big N to have new hardware in 2013.
Bottom line, hardcore fans will want 2DS because they need everything Nintendo, while budget-conscious parents will splurge for their kids because it's a great deal.
The only roadblock? Communicating to the average consumer that 2DS isn't a step backwards (three is greater than two, after all), and that it works with all existing and upcoming 3DS games. Considering a segment of the population in 2011 originally thought the 3DS was a super charged DS, this may prove difficult. Of course, Microsoft just went from Xbox 360 to Xbox One, so perhaps this will be easier than expected.
In addition, it'll be interesting to see whether consumers truly care about 3D. It's one thing to say you never use the feature with 3DS and 3DS XL, but how will you feel if it's gone altogether? For some people, this could be an issue.
Otherwise, this is a potentially great move, and we look forward to getting our hands on 2DS in the weeks ahead.