Nintendo has confirmed that a new budget-priced model of their Nintendo 3DS handheld is coming. Known as the 2DS, it features screens of the same size as the original 3DS model as well as a flattened, tablet-esque design. It is compatible with both original DS and 3DS games but has no 3D functionality.
The 2DS will be available in North America on Oct. 12 and will retail for $129.99. A European launch has been confirmed, though a specific date has yet to be revealed. There is no word of a Japanese release.
“Imagine a standard 3DS laid all the way flat, and with the depth slider all the way down,” Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime explained to the press. “Everything else is there in the system.” Fils-Aime went on to explain that the idea for the 2DS came from a desire to appeal to very young children, as the standard 3DS is aimed at players age seven and up.
“We’re always thinking about what we can do that’s new, unique, different, and brings more people into this category that we love,” Fils-Aime said. “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.”
“We’ve always been thinking about, ‘how do we approach that as one target?’” he continued. “And that certainly helped spur the idea of the Nintendo 2DS. 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?’”
The announcement has stirred up a lot of discussion on the net, with the general consensus so far seeming to be that while the device is pretty much hideous, it is also obviously targetted at children, with the 3DS XL obviously meant to remain the model of choice for older audiences. Though the odd design will no doubt make the 2DS less of a portable device, it will likely appeal to kids in their desired age range, who are growing more and more comfortable with tablet devices in recent years. It’s price point of $129.99 will also place it competitively with other popular devices like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7.