Nintendo’s low-cost 2DS takes on kid-friendly gaming tablets

Nintendo2DS

Those weird and wacky folks at Nintendo sure know how to turn out a console. With little warning, the Japanese gaming company released a video of a new handheld gaming device that marks the company’s third model in two years: the Nintendo 2DS.

A wedge-shaped console that looks as if the current 3DS and the old-school Gameboy had a dual-screened baby, the Nintendo 2DS is able to play all current 3DS games and original DS titles, as well as access classic games from the Nintendo eShop via Wi-Fi. But the biggest difference, as its name suggests, is its distinct lack of 3D.

But it’s a small price to pay for a big price drop. The 2DS will only set you back $130 — much cheaper than the $170 DS and the $199 3DS. Check out the debut video below:

While it’s a departure from Nintendo’s passion for the clamshell design, the 2DS’s form factor indicates that the game titan is throwing down the gauntlet against the burgeoning gaming tablet industry. It’s certainly undercutting the price of most kid-oriented gaming tablets on the market: Compared with something like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, the 2DS offers gaming to kids in a bargain-friendly package. Plus it features a rich library of those infectious, grade school-friendly games that have not (and will likely never) make it to mobile. That point is clear, given that the 2DS will hit stores on October 12, the same time as the highly anticipated Pokemon X & Y

But there are still a few niggling issues with the 2DS. The first is that the “value” aspect of the console will not appeal to traditional gamers — instead, it will rely on the casual gamer or the discerning parent to spring for it in order to experience a few high-value titles. Given the pervading popularity of free-to-play mobile games, it could be a hard sell. Second, the 3D feature is actually very important for some games — especially when a challenge requires a level of depth perception to execute. It’s going to be quite a challenge to chase after grasshoppers in Animal Crossing: New Leaf if the player can’t tell how much more to the left or the right the net should be cast.

All in all, the 2DS is a gamble Nintendo is more than willing to make. As the mobile gaming world becomes bigger — especially for kids under 10 — a value option for its handheld console could convince a few parents to make a purchase.

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