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Gamers shrug at Nintendo 2DS console

Gamers shrug at Nintendo 2DS console
Photo provided by CNN/Nintendo
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POSTED: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 12:00am

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 11:55am

Announcement of a Nintendo 2DS handheld console is causing a collective "eh" among fans of the pioneering gaming company.

The new console hopes to entice the entry-level gamer (i.e. kids) with a large catalog of games designed for the Nintendo 3DS and DS while appealing to parents with a low price point ($129). Unlike its counterpart, the 2DS does not have 3-D visual effects, nor can it be folded shut like other DS handheld consoles.

Instead, the 2DS remains flat and fixed, much like a tablet. The controls are similar to other Nintendo handheld consoles and screen sizes are the same as the 3DS unit.

While critics are split over whether this is a good idea for the company in the long term, fans in forums and social media are shaking their heads. Some are asking why a 2DS model is needed when 3-D can be turned off on the current console, while others are calling for Nintendo executives' heads.

Much of the confusion lies in the naming convention. While the Nintendo DS can only play DS games, the 2DS and 3DS can play games designed for the DS or the 3DS.

The problem arises because the games are clearly labeled for the DS or the 3DS, but not for the 2DS, and could have parents wondering, "Where are the 2DS games?"

It was a similar problem when the Wii U was announced and players couldn't play Wii U on Wii systems. The names weren't distinct enough to create separation for a casual audience.

The move to a non3-D environment for the handheld console is a welcome one to some fans. "Oh I'm so happy they're creating a 2DS," said @omglazerkittens on Twitter. "That's the whole reason I haven't bought one yet."

Nintendo, for its part, has said the new device is designed for young kids, despite having promotional videos with adults using it.

Despite the nonplussed reaction from many older gamers, some fans understand the need for a device aimed at the young audience.

The new console may appeal to "parents who want to buy their kids Pokémon and a 3DS at an affordable price," wrote Haziq, a member of popular online video-gaming forum NeoGAF. "Plus, the flat design kind of reminds me of a tablet. I wouldn't be surprised if this is Nintendo's way of directly competing with that market for small kids."

The October 12 release for the Nintendo 2DS is the same day the company plans to launch the latest titles in the Pokemon universe, "Pokemon X" and "Pokemon Y."

But other gamers aren't so quick to accept the need for the new console or Nintendo's explanation.

"To those who say the 2DS is a kid-friendly option, where does the inability to protect the screen with folding fall into that?" wrote @JustinMcElroy on Twitter.

Twitter user @kellyherron27 wonders whether Nintendo is not happy with the 3DS market anymore. "Feels like they're saying, 'OK, so our novelty really is a gimmick. Oops.' "

But in explaining the need for the Nintendo 2DS, another NeoGAF member may have offered the most clear-eyed assessment.

"Parents will be buying this for kids and that's the point, hence the price," wrote Alpha_eX. "They're aiming at kids wanting the new Pokémon game and if parents can get it cheap, it'll sell over a more expensive 3DS model."

"This console isn't aimed at any of us (adults)." 

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