Nintendo wants to compete with cheap tablets more than ever, but just not the way you think. The company will release a new version of the 3DS — the Nintendo 2DS, which has a tablet-esque form factor. As the name suggests, it is a 2D-only handheld console compatible with 3DS and DS games. At $129.99, the 2DS is $40 cheaper than its sibling. The company also announced a $50 price cut for the Wii U on September 20, ahead of the releases of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
While the 3DS is doing well, it’s another story for the Wii U. As of June 30, Nintendo reported 3.61 million sales. As a reminder, in July 2007, seven months after the release of the Wii, the company was selling 1.8 million consoles each month. Now, Nintendo wants to compete on price to stay relevant.
But the console still lacks games. Many third-party publishers, such as Electronic Arts, Activision and Ubisoft, will only release their games on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The PlayStation 4 will cost $399 and the Xbox One $499.
Nintendo probably thought that launching the Wii U a year before its competitor was the right move to get a head start. But it is hard to convince existing Wii owners that the Wii U isn’t just a tiny upgrade with a tablet-like controller. The name of the console itself doesn’t help. It finally is an HD console from Nintendo, but it’s hard to communicate about the number of pixels on a screen.
With the 2DS, Nintendo finally built a gaming tablet. It could have a certain appeal to parents who are hesitating between a cheap Android tablet and a Nintendo handheld console, but the form factor doesn’t seem very practical for gamers, and especially children with tiny hands.
Available on October 12, the 2DS will retain the same features as the 3DS, except its main feature — the 3D display. It has the same stylus, Wi-Fi and comes with a 4GB SD card. While $130 is cheap, 3DS games are still more expensive than iOS or Android games. But you won’t find Mario on your iPad.
As Nintendo suggests in the 2DS promo video, the new console is “a handheld gaming system from Nintendo like you’ve never seen before.” Everyone can agree that Nintendo is right on this one.
An earlier version of this article misstated the price of the 3DS. It is $40 more expensive than the 2DS ($169), not $50.