5 Reasons the 2DS Will Succeed... (and 5 Reasons It Might Not)
Just over a week ago, Nintendo went and blindsided everyone by announcing the new handheld, the 2DS. A 3DS... without the 3D? The internet promptly threw a collective tantrum and the resulting twit-storm was the biggest we've seen since Hollywood had the tenacity to cast someone some people don't like as some nutcase dressed as a bat. It's fair to say that the buzz was overwhelmingly negative and the interwebs was full of people declaring "Nintendo has finally lost it!" "It looks like a toy" "Is this a joke?".
I'm here today to try and cool your jets a bit. I'll admit that I too was mystified at first, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. So without further ado, I present today 5 reasons that I think The 2DS Will Succeed... and 5 reasons that it might not.
1) Nintendo Know Their Market
There's no getting around the fact that Nintendo has a large following among young children. At one point, practically every child on the planet had a DS, or so it seemed. Their are however a couple of barriers that keep many young DS owners from upgrading- or more accurately keep their parents from buying them for them. Although there is no evidence that 3D actually causes damage to young eyes, Nintendo have sensibly played it cautious, advising it not to be used by the under 7s. Although of course you can turn the 3D off, it's understandable that parents don't want to risk it when it comes to their little darling's peepers. After all, it's not like the average five year old wouldn't be able to work out how to turn it back on again in about five seconds after mummy leaves the room.
2) The all-important Price Point
The other factor that is mostly likely to hold back many from making the jump to 3DS is the relatively steep price point. A price-cut alone would likely have stimulated sales, but because that 3D tech is expensive to produce, Nintendo would go back to making a loss on each until sold. By stripping out the stereoscopic feature, the 2DS is able to launch at a much more appealing price point, and leave room for further cuts in future.
3) The 3D Factor
Hang around among frequent movie-goers and one thing is clear: 3D has a lot of haters. Sure, Avatar was awesome, but most 3D flicks since have felt tacked-on, half-arsed afterthoughts, purely designed to wring extra cash out of the unsuspecting audiences. The glasses-free tech the 3DS uses is more appealing, and it certainly can add to games when used well but many players prefer to play in good ol' two-dimensions most of the time. As well as the concerns about kids, many adults claim it gives them eye-strain or headaches. Then there's the sizeable population for whom the 3D effect just does not work. Why pay for a feature I'll never use, many ask? So now they don't have to.
It's no coincidence that the 2DS débuts around the same time as the latest Pokemon game (the first 3DS instalment). Parents the world over will find that their pride and joy is positively distraught that they can't play the latest incarnation of their favourite game. With that pesky 3D removed and a much more budget-friendly price point, parents might be much more likely to give in to pester power.
5) Never Count Nintendo Out
Despite what a thousand arm-chair analysts might say about Ninty's days being numbered, and the Wii U's current problems, the big N are doing just fine. The pile of money generated by DS and Wii is larger than the GDP of most countries, and will sustain them for some time. With the possible exception of the original 3DS, every recent Nintendo console unveiling has been met with scepticism from some quarters. When it comes to handheld systems, Nintendo generally know what they're doing. The negative reaction is coming mainly from hardcore gamers but this is a model that's not aimed at them. This is squarely aimed at the entry-level market, for young kids and casual gamers. And what's wrong with that?
1) The Market has changed
It's most likely that the 3Ds family (ie 3DS, XL and now 2DS) will never quite reach the heights achieved by it's illustrious predecessor. Everyone, their mum and their neighbour's dog seemed to own an original DS of some variety at one point (although oddly, not me) and it helped bring new gamers to the fold. Yet with the rise of gaming on mobile, tablets and Facebook, it is often claimed that a sizeable chunk of the casual market has migrated to these platforms. Mind you, even half of the original DS's sales figures would still be impressive, and the stuff of the Vita's wildest dreams.
2) It could create Market confusion
One of the main criticisms the 2DS has faced is over that name. It's pretty logical- it's a 2D 3DS- but it will potentially only serve to muddy the waters further. But then what else could they have called in? 3DS 2D? 2D 3DS? Would that have been any less confusing? Nintendo faced criticism for not establishing clearly enough that the Wii U was a new console and not a Wii add-on, so let's hope they have learnt from their mistakes. I was working in retail during the height of the Wii and DS boom, so I know how clueless some consumers can be ("Do I need a Wii to use Wii Fit?" "This Mario game won't play on my Xbox!"). If you're working games retail when this comes out... I pity you.
3) The design leaves something to be desired
Lets face it, the 2DS is not the sleekest piece of hardware you've ever seen. Frankly, it's a bit of an eyesore, and the loss of the clam-shell certainly limits portability. The jokes that it looks like it's been designed by Fisher Price are not a million miles off. Maybe the move to more of a tablet design makes sense, and I realise it's not designed for me, but boy, it ain't pretty.
4) It loses the 3DS's Unique Selling Point
The thing that separates the 3Ds from every other console out there is the glasses-free 3D. That may have turned some gamers off, but it is definitely the console's biggest USP. Offering the gamers the option is not the same as completely abandoning the feature, but it's hard not to feel that maybe less games which really make use of it to enhance the gameplay will be made if the new model takes off.
5)Why no Second Analogue stick?
Nintendo released a second analogue stick add-on for the original 3DS, so it's been a bone of contention for many that the subsequent redesigns have not contained a second stick as standard. It was true with the 3DS XL and now the 2DS can also face the same criticism. In reality, this is probably due to the fact that so few games make use of the extra stick, and it's hard to see it bothering too many 6-year-olds. Still, had this latest model included it the Circle Pad Pro built in, maybe gamers would look on the new model with slightly kinder eyes?
Overall I'm pretty mixed on the 2DS. It doesn't appeal to me but I can see how it is right for the target demographic. With the smart timing of it's release, I can see this being a hot-seller come Christmas. It's certainly a lot cheaper than the Xbox One! How about you guys? Are you haters or do you think it's a shrewd move?