Nintendo made a few waves this week by announcing the impending launch of the 2DS, a budget version of their current handheld, the 3DS. The 2DS is fully compatible with all 3DS and DS games, but differs from the 3DS in a few major ways—it drops 3D support and ditches the 3DS’s clamshell design, essentially taking on the form factor of a fully-extended 3DS without the ability to fold. Predictably, the internet masses issued forth a wave of displeasure (as internet masses are wont to do upon the announcement of, well, pretty much anything). However, in the case of the 2DS, there may be a few legitimate reasons for skepticism.
Put simply, the announcement of the 2DS certainly raises more questions than answers. As Gamasutra’s Brandon Sheffield puts it, Nintendo is, in some ways, offering up brand confusion in a box. For example, why is Nintendo forwarding a portable gaming system that is apparently eschewing portability? The size of the 2DS, while not outright ridiculous, is a considerable step away from the normal convenience associated with handheld gaming. This handheld will flat-out not fit in your pocket. Perhaps a bigger issue is the impression the 2DS announcement projects—the system, on the surface, looks like a step back for Nintendo and developers alike (albeit intentional, since it’s a budget system). But ditching 3D and form factor without adding anything new is stagnant, at best. As Sheffield notes, does this mean developers no longer develop in 3D for the 3DS? And then there’s the name of the system, as well, which will undoubtedly confuse parents galore come gifting time.
The obvious advantage of all this to the gamer is, of course, that ditching 3D support and a clamshell design enables Nintendo to push the 2DS out at a pretty sweet $129.99 price point—a full $70 cheaper than its nearest competitor, Sony’s PlayStation Vita. Furthermore, some reports indicate that Nintendo may be trying to tap into the tablet market, as the 2DS will contain one large touch screen rather than two individual screens. But will the 2DS’s mixed messages end up spelling consumer confusion for customers? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.
In other gaming news this week, Blizzard reveals more on Diablo III’s expansion, Final Fantasy XIV launches, Prey 2 gets reset, and more. Read on!
- Diablo III’s upcoming expansion, Reaper of Souls, doesn’t have a release date yet, but Blizzard revealed its opening cinematic during Gamescom. Take a look. And remember, no one can stop Death.
- Bye bye, Microsoft points. Microsoft has officially switched over the Xbox Live Marketplace to real currency.
- Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn launched this week. Check out IGN’s review-in-progress to see how Square Enix fared. Better yet, if you’ve already gotten your hands on it, let us know your thoughts below.
- Amazon is reportedly set to launch its own Android-based console system before the year is out. While this obviously has no ramifications for Sony or Microsoft at this point, the creators of the Ouya might nervously be looking over their shoulders.
- You guys, the GTA V soundtrack is going to be pretty spectacular. As if we needed any more incentive to buy the game…
- Resident Evil 6 was, well, not good, to put it simply. However, Capcom claims to have learned from their mistakes, saying that the next entry into the franchise will be a return to classic survival horror.
- Prey 2 appears to be getting a reset. Rumor has it that Bethesda has shipped its development over to Arkane, developers of last year’s fantastic hit dystopian steampunk RPG, Dishonored. While nothing is confirmed yet, early reports indicate that Prey 2 is now envisioned as a spiritual successor to System Shock, and any game that aspires to System Shock is going to have our full, undivided attention. On a related note, Arkane has yet to confirm if or when another Dishonored game may be coming, as well.
- Finally, in case you missed it last week, Sony will launch the PS4 on November 15.