Four Reasons Why the Nintendo 2DS is a Brilliant Idea
If you haven’t heard the news yet, Nintendo is launching a new handheld gaming device called the 2DS on October 12th. The design of the hardware has been taking lots of flack from the gaming community, probably because Nintendo’s stock photos of a scruffy 30-something playing the device look absolutely ridiculous.
Unfortunately, most people are missing the point of the release. It’s not targeted at 30-somethings, 20-somethings, teens or even tweens. It’s squarely targeted at the elementary school crowd—the legions of children who are playing mobile games on Mom or Dad’s smartphone or tablet instead of a traditional handheld gaming device. Based on that fact, here are a few reasons why the 2DS will be a success for Nintendo:
1. Parents are Still Fearful of the Effects of 3D
There’s a reason Nintendo slaps an ominous warning in front of every 3DS game, basically telling parents to keep the device out of the hands of children under 7. The visuals simply aren’t suitable for young children due to possible eye strain and dizzy vision. While you can minimize the 3D effect, there’s no parental lock to keep the child from cranking the 3D effect back up using the slider on the side of the device. Heck, it’s pretty easy to bump the slider accidentally when playing a game.
In addition, it didn’t help that 3D technology within the home theater never caught on over the last few years. Television manufacturers have mostly given up on using 3D as a selling point. Instead, it’s just an added feature now as they try to pitch consumers on the benefits of 4K televisions. All-in-all, 3D has been a non-starter in the consumer electronics industry.
By removing 3D from the system entirely, parents can feel safe putting the 2DS in the hands of their kids. It will allow Nintendo to win back a key demographic that was lost over the last few years: elementary school kids. Kids who grow up with the Nintendo 2DS are probably more likely to transition to a 3DS or Wii U system as time wears on. Hook them young on Pokemon, Animal Crossing, etc. and they will keep coming back for more.
2. It May Be Ugly, But It Can Take a Beating
Yes, the design is akin to a small brick. In the hands of a kid between 4 and 7, that’s a good thing. Kids rarely take care of their own toys, thus it’s important that the system can be tossed around in the car or on the playground. While the clamshell design of previous systems protected the two screens, it was also susceptible to breaking at the hinge if a child played rough with it. Fingers could also get pinched in the clamshell case if closed quickly.
The design of the Nintendo 2DS reminds me of the original Game Boy, a device that I dropped countless times as a child and it kept on ticking. It feels like Nintendo is returning to the days of the past with the 2DS design and that’s perfectly fine. It also looks more comfortable to hold in your hands. Alternatively, I always feel like I’m going to break the 3DS.
3. Developers Will Come Back
Since the 3DS was released, parents with young children have had to continue to rely on the regular DS. However, many developers have moved onto games targeted at older crowds on the 3DS or games for mobile devices targeted at extremely young kids.
If you look at the upcoming DS release schedule, there are only five new games scheduled to come out for the DS through the end of 2013. Alternatively, there are 30 to 40 scheduled for the 3DS and countless games for iOS and Android devices.
Assuming Nintendo is successful putting the 2DS in the hands of young kids this Christmas, developers looking to target that younger market will flock back in droves. It also helps that 3DS titles can be played in the 2DS, thus the learning curve for development may be shorter.
4. The Price is Right for the Nintendo 2DS
Nintendo is matching the same debut retail price of the 2006 launch price of the DS Lite: $129.99. Admittedly, Nintendo stumbled out of the gate in 2011 with a hefty $250 launch price for the 3DS. Even after knocking down the price to $169.99, the company is still have trouble moving systems in North America.
The $130 starting point of the Nintendo 2DS means that there will be a much shorter path to $99 promotions at major retailers and system adoption will increase more rapidly. It definitely helps that it’s a bit more than 40 percent cheaper than an iPod Touch, one of the cheapest options to provide iOS game access to kids.
In addition, the system is backwards compatible with thousands of DS games, thus parents may not have to invest in a stack of new games at first. And if an older child in the family already plays the 3DS, those games can be played on the 2DS without the 3D feature.
Check out the release video below if you want more information on the launch of the Nintendo 2DS: