Posted By: wraggster
Nintendo’s 2DS drew the full spectrum of reaction as it was announced this afternoon, described as a smart move by some and batshit crazy by the rest.It’s a flattened-out 3DS minus the auto-stereoscopic top screen – cheaper, chunkier, targeted at kids and set to be launched alongside a new Pokémon game, it’s difficult to argue against 2DS as a business and marketing proposition. Its aesthetic appeal and size can certainly be questioned, though – is this the first Nintendo handheld that doesn’t actually fit in your pocket? Smart positioning can’t disguise just how strange this thing looks – those two screens make sense in clamshell handheld with a hinge between them, but on the front of a flat, tablet-style device? Bizarre.Nonetheless, Nintendo’s retreat from glasses-free 3D isn’t surprising. Once 3DS’ biggest selling point, playing this way just isn’t practical for most. 2DS will remove any lingering doubts over the health effects of 3D, the subject of some damaging tabloid stories around the original 3DS’ launch – Nintendo was even forced to discourage children aged six or younger from using the handheld, an idea completely at odds with its past successes in the handheld market.2DS resets Nintendo’s ill-fated pursuit of the older game player, a trend which can be traced back to the rampant success of DS Lite, which took a little of Apple’s sleek minimalism and applied it to a games handheld. It worked, and spurred Nintendo on to launch DSi, which took that idea further still. With its glasses-free 3D screen, relatively high launch price and a flurry of early marketing targeted at twentysomething tech audiences, the 3DS launch felt like Nintendo had started to neglect its traditional heartland. A weak software line-up certainly didn’t help 3DS’ cause, of course. It took a price cut and two Mario games to really turn the handheld around.Though it has increasingly dabbled in the sexier end of the portable market, Nintendo remains a toy company, not a tech giant. 2DS will be criticised by many for looking a bit ‘Fisher Price’, but surely that’s the intention; in its chunky plastic casing we can see Nintendo reverting to what has always made its handhelds so successful. Fans will always demand new adventures from old favourites, but all a Nintendo handheld really needs is a low price, parent-friendly aura and a Pokémon game or two. 2DS will have all of those in its corner when it launches on October 12.