Last Level Press

Is the Nintendo 2DS a Cash Grab?

By: Olen Bjorgo

Recently, Nintendo announced a new version of their handheld called the Nintendo 2DS. For those of you that are unaware of what this is, it’s essentially a 3DS but without the 3D, has no hinge so it’s a single form like the old Game Boys, and is cheaper than the standard 3DS. Some are crying foul about how this could be nothing more than a cash grab, but some don’t see it like that. And wouldn’t you know it, I’m one of them. Why? Because it’s a smart move on Nintendo’s part, but maybe not for what you’re thinking.

For starters, let’s look at the 3D aspect. I know quite a few people who have a 3DS: they love the games, they love the system, but rarely do I ever hear them say “I love the 3D,” or “I play with the 3D on,” or the like. Truth be told, I never play with the 3D on, and only mention it in passing with any 3DS game I review. It is a gimmick, and there has yet to be a game to come out where it is required or enhances the experience. If you need a gimmick, go with one that actually requires its use. People didn’t buy copies of Duck Hunt for the NES without the zapper, people didn’t buy console versions of DDR without the pad, people didn’t buy Samba de Amigo for the Dreamcast without the maracas, people didn’t buy Guitar Hero without the guitar, and the only reason you wouldn’t is if you already owned these peripherals. But the 3D can be adjusted or turned off, so there’s no reason to make a whole new version of the handheld.

Of course, that’s not true because the 3D is not a solitary issue. The design choice to not implement a hinge, thereby breaking the trend of the clamshell design that has been a hallmark of Nintendo’s handhelds since the Game Boy Advance SP and popularized with the DS series, could be seen as a step backwards, but it’s actually smart on Nintendo’s part. Granted that the tablet-like design is not exactly what you could call aesthetically pleasing compared to DS or Game Boy series of handhelds, or even compared to other handheld consoles, it does do away with a common repair issue that the DS series has: broken hinges.

The Nintendo 2DS is, first and foremost, designed specifically with small children in mind. I’ve seen how flimsy the hinges can be on a DS. In fact, I remember the one time I broke my Game Boy and when I got my shiny new teal colored Game Boy Color my mom told me “Don’t break it or you don’t get another one.” Sure enough, I kept it in pristine condition because how else would I have played my awesome Pokémon Yellow version I got for my birthday if I broke my favorite toy as a kid? (This is also a funny story, but that’s for another time) Those were still like bricks, and I still broke one, so I can only imagine how reckless kids these days are, even if they break the damn things on accident. The only other repair issue I hear people worried about is a scratched screen since the clamshell design protected the screens. I have a solution: don’t scratch your touchscreen. A more practical solution is to invest in screen protectors. They only cost a few dollars. Problem solved.

But the big reason why this is a smart move is, as you may have cynically guessed, the cost. The 2DS will be significantly cheaper, and will be launched on October 12, 2013, the same day that Pokémon X and Y will be released (hint hint).  A cheaper system with all the same software that a regular 3DS has with a game that will last you at least 60 hours will make Timmy and Susie happy kids, and that doesn’t break Daddy’s bank.  So this just makes it sound like a cash grab, right?

I’m thinking not, and here’s why: Nintendo wants a system that moves people still stuck playing the old DS towards getting a new system, one that will still play that catalog of old DS games as well as all those shiny new 3DS games. They’re launching a cheaper but modified version of existing hardware under the guise of “caring for kids” simultaneously with the latest entries to one of the system’s standby franchises that has been around for fifteen years at this point. This means they will get an influx of profit from these sales. One possibility is that this could result in a price reduction for the regular 3DS models currently out for people who don’t want to carry around a funky looking tablet to play games. Another is that it will mean more money to fund other projects, especially titles that the Wii-U is desperately lacking.

But what if this really is a poorly named cash grab by Nintendo and nothing more? What if my theory of a wide scale price reduction is completely shot and dead in the water come this holiday season? If that occurs, I suppose it’s still a win for us. More people will be playing 3DS titles, and that will increase the demand to make more. More people will have access to hardware and software that was previously not accessible due to price. There will be a clear choice for consumers to make as for their gaming and, hopefully, is not a repeat of the now-forgotten Game Boy Micro. And, of course, it means nobody will be playing a Vita.

Last Level Press © Copyright Cliff Davenport  Est. 2013.   | Legal Notices

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