3D just isn't hot anymore. (If it ever really was.) You know it, mom and dad know it and now Nintendo is sort of admitting that 3D, glasses-free or not, isn't a big selling point.
Not since the GameBoy Micro has Nintendo sold a handheld without a clamshell design. The Nintendo 2DS is a budget 3DS slapped together into a plasticky wedge-shaped "slate" design. It has the same size screens as the 3DS (not the 3DS XL) and plays all existing 3DS games — just in 2D. There is no depth slider. This is Nintendo going back to two dimensions. The stereo speakers have also been replaced with a mono one. In addition to playing 3DS games, the 2DS is backwards compatible with over 2,000 DS titles. The 3DS's three cameras (one on front, two on the back) have all made the leap to the budget handheld, too.
We haven't played with the 2DS ourselves yet, but several people who have, say the device is surprisingly comfortable to grip because the Circle Pad and ABXY buttons now flank the top screen, instead of sitting below it. The fact that the 2DS doesn't fold also might mean it's easier to play when laid on a table or flat surface.
It's not a particularly elegant design and the screens are left exposed for scratching (Nintendo is selling pouches at $12.99), but the 2DS does lower the barrier to 3DS gaming. Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime claims the 2DS will be perfect for kids under seven. Why kids under seven? Their eyes are still developing and the 3D effects on the 3DS could have negative impact on them.
The 2DS hits stores on October 12 for $129.99. If it isn't obvious by now, the 2DS is NIntendo's new gateway to fending off the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming.
In other Nintendo news, the company slashed $50 off the Deluxe Edition of the Wii U from $349 to $299 and announced a special edition Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD bundle that includes a Wii U GamePad with Triforce designs will launch on September 20.