Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Nintendo Announces the 2DS, Nobody Knows What the Hell
In a stunning, out-of-friggin'-nowhere announcement that Nintendo made today (alongside a few others), it seems that they've developed and created a new 3DS that will be out in just under two months when Pokemon X and Y hit the shelves. Actually calling it a new 3DS is...a little tricky, however, because it lacks the titular element that made the 3DS the 3DS. So much so, that it has a different name entirely: the Nintendo 2DS. It means exactly what it says on the tin, because the shiny 3D effects that the 3DS outputs and whatnot are entirely stripped from this new system, leaving every game (even the ones specifically designed around the 3D effect) stuck in the 2D plane literally and figuratively as opposed to the quasi-3D plane that they previously achieved through the 3DS' (admittedly alright) methods. Because, you know, that was necessary.
The 2DS does quite a bit more to differentiate itself from the 3DS aside from simply losing the 3D, however. Gone is the clamshell design that, while it apparently sometimes causes scratches to the upper screen, made the device a portable one which is...you know, the point of it. Size Comparison shots put the new 2DS at about the size of an original 3DS unfolded, but just a bit smaller while retaining screen size. I think. Looks like it at least. Basically this thing is not going into your pocket to make use of Streetpassing and the mobility-centric things that Ninendo designed for the 3DS specifically so you would walk around with it in your pocket unless you just really have big pockets and aren't worried about the exposed screens getting all mussed up. Thanks to the shell-less design, however, we finally do have proper Start and Select buttons (possibly....they have to be better than the crappy ones on the 3DS and XL) and a Home Button that looks a -little- better, even if it's specifically reminiscent of iDevices. The entire aesthetic and layout is changed as well and looks....terribly uncomfortable, with the main things directly in the middle with the shoulder buttons on the top of it. Given its smaller size, maybe it's better than it looks (in fact, it almost assuredly is) but it doesn't give the best first impression.
Something else that's rather interesting about the 2DS is that, thanks to the lack of a Clamshell design, the two screens of the handheld are actually -one- screen this time around. Which means that the whole thing is a touch screen, but you can only make use of the bottom half of it. This is mostly a cost-cutting measure as is most of the design choices with the 2DS. And at a pricepoint of $129.99, it's pretty obvious why. By cutting all of the bells, whistles and some basic functionality, they're able to put out a really dumb iteration of the 3DS which is selling fine thank you specifically to market towards kids on the day that Pokemon comes out. Because the people who really want Pokemon are not the people who have already bought a 3DS, clearly. The fence-sitting "only going to buy one when Pokemon comes out" crowd is clearly a large one that deserves some subset of pandering to. And the argument, again is, "It's for kids!" but what kid has been crowing about a 3DS since it came out that -doesn't- have one? And how many of those kids who haven't gotten one are actually going to get this one?
The answer is: Probably a lot. Because it doesn't make sense. The only -actual- level this makes any bit of sense on is the financial one, which I suppose is the only level it needs to function on, but still. It's beyond silly to design a console specifically around a feature and then remove that feature just because. You could draw some allusions to Microsoft and the recent shenanigans they made, but it's a highly different beast for very simple reasons: 1) Microsoft's original XBone was detrimental and harmful to the gaming model as a whole and would have not been sustainable on the level they were expecting and 2) Their decisions to remove the functions was purely reactionary. Perhaps if the 3DS had been the 2DS from the on-set after the original announcement and people went "We don't need 3D, 3D is lame!" and such, then, yes, that would have been reactionary and comparable. But this is just mucking about with something simply to squeeze a little more money out of it in a ridiculous fashion and it comes off as one of those "Nintendo Desperate" moves in an atmosphere where they don't need to be desperate just yet.
I really had to resist the urge to add the "I never asked for this" jpeg