In a move that sent the Internet into fits of insanity, Nintendo this week announced a new product in the 3DS line, the 2DS. The device, available on October 12 for $129, will be fully compatible with all games that the 3DS and 3DS XL can play, but without the 3D capabilities. It also has an altered design, looking more like a tablet that a clamshell; imagine an open 3DS.
After the immediate backlash on social networking sites, as well as my own immediate reaction to the news, I decided to consider what Nintendo was thinking, and whether it made sense or not. As it turns out, this might just be a genius move. Here's why.
October 12, the launch date of the new handheld, is the same day as the launch of the new Pokémon games. Nintendo has always made a ton of money off of these titles, but there is a problem this time around: there simply aren't enough 3DS handhelds in the wild. How can Nintendo solve this problem? A low-cost device.
Obviously, the easiest way to lower the cost on the device is to remove some of the high manufacturing cost items. Those two clear winners are the 3D screen and slider and the hinge. That is precisely what has been done here - little change to the device itself, just removing some of the higher cost pieces. That gets it a full $40 cheaper than the next cheapest device in the family.
So, while the Internet may have had an immediate negative reaction to the 2DS, it seems to me as if Nintendo is going to absolutely clean up with the new addition to the family, all because of Pokémon.