The Nintendo 2DS is a new, non-foldable dual screen handheld from the Japanese games giant. It plays all DS and 3DS games and is offered at a lower cost, but lacks the 3D feature of the 3DS and 3DS XL. It's out on 12 October.
"Nintendo 2DS is your handheld portal to a world of amazing games and features, allowing you to connect with friends and the global Nintendo community with sharing options. Take your handheld gaming experience even further with Nintendo 2DS…"
- Cheerful plastic construction
- Simple 'door stop' style design
- Plays all DS and 3DS games
If the big next-gen consoles from Microsoft and Sony have been met by bubbling excitement (mixed with cyclical resentment), the Nintendo 2DS has been met with stunned bafflement.
Announced earlier this week with little more than a press release, the new low-cost handheld received an immediate barrage of criticism and laughter. It's called the 2DS, but it plays 3DS games. Just not in 3D. It doesn't have a hinge, but it does have a plastic band where a hinge would be. It's cheaper - Game lists it at £109 so far - but not that much cheaper than the 3DS itself. Which isn't selling badly, by the way. As a product it just didn't seem to make a lot of sense.
In person, it does. For one thing, the 2DS is a lot more attractive when you actually hold it. It's thinner, smaller and lighter than you expect. It's not pocketable, but it feels portable enough to work. The button placement. which seemed so odd at first, makes sense too. It's plasticy, and feels more like a toy than even the Wii U gamepad or 3DS XL, but the black/blue and white/red combination colours work really well. The red/white in particular recalls the original Japanese Famicom really nicely.
Other technical details are just as you'd expect. The screens appear virtually identical to the 3DS (minus the 3D), the battery life of about 3.5 to 5 hours is as expected, and it's running exactly the same firmware. The addition of 3D cameras without a 3D screen to look at the properly is weird, but what the hell. It's Nintendo. Roll with 'em.
The main question that remains here is just whether consumers will "get" what the 2DS actually is.
There are no "2DS" games, after all. Yes, there's a prominent messaging sticker on the box explaining that it plays DS and 3DS games, but we can imagine some people still being a little confused. Polygon nailed it in a piece this week - Nintendo HQ just isn't making it easy enough for consumers to buy their products with confidence. But once they do, the 2DS - like the 3DS before it, and increasingly the Wii U - won't disappoint.