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The Pros and Cons of Nintendo's Nintendo 2DS System

The Nintendo 2DS is a cheaper, entry-level version of the much-acclaimed but controversial Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming device.

The Nintendo 2DS is a cheaper, entry-level version of the much-acclaimed but controversial Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming device.

What Is the Nintendo 2DS?

For many, the announcement of the Nintendo 2DS was a mixture of disbelief and amusement. Indeed, many believed it to be a hoax. However, after confirmation by many sources, including Nintendo itself, the Nintendo 2DS has come under a tremendous amount of fire (and praise) by fans and detractors alike, and for good reason.

For those who are unclear, the Nintendo 2DS is a cheaper, entry-level version of the much-acclaimed but controversial Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming device, which was launched in 2011. The 2DS is identical to the 3DS in every way, barring the fact that the 3DS's stereoscopic 3D feature is removed, as well as the new slab design, which replaces the clamshell design of the original 3DS. This means the Nintendo 2DS plays all Nintendo 3DS games, just without the stereoscopic 3D option.

Pros of the Nintendo 2DS

The Price

Let’s start with the best thing going for this handheld right now: the price. Launching at $129.99 in the US and £110 in Europe, a full $40 (or £35 in Europe) cheaper than the lowest-end Nintendo 3DS system, the price was a major selling point. It is also a full $70 (and £70 in Europe) cheaper than Sony’s competing handheld, the PlayStation Vita. In other words, the Nintendo 2DS was the cheapest gaming handheld on the market when it is launched, but it still had all the power of the massively successful 3DS (which had been greatly outselling the PlayStation Vita) behind it.

No Stereoscopic 3D

For anyone on the fence about buying a Nintendo 3DS, this handheld may sway them due to its low cost. Similarly, parents, grandparents, and family members looking for a gift for their child will easily gravitate to it, as it is cheap and powerful. The 3DS met with problems due to its controversial stereoscopic 3D feature, which was said to cause nausea, especially in young children. Nintendo directly stated it was for ages seven and up only. This meant a large portion of the original Nintendo DS’s buyer base was left out in the cold.

Parents were also reluctant to buy the 3DS due to the damage that the stereoscopic 3D (which could be turned off) might cause to their child's eyes. With those features removed from the 2Ds entirely, parents will be more likely to purchase the device for children of all ages, meaning sales for the 2DS could skyrocket during the holiday season.

Plays All Nintendo 3DS Games

As stated before, the Nintendo 2DS plays all 3DS games. This will entice people to not only pick up the 2DS but also a large number of Nintendo games, leading to greater profits.

Released Alongside Pokémon X and Y

Another of the Nintendo 2DS’s biggest selling points was the fact that it was launched on the same day as Pokémon X and Pokémon Y. Those who do not follow Nintendo news or games or do not know what a massive deal a new Pokémon game is may not realize what a tremendously smart move this is.

Pokémon X and Y were developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS (and as such was available for the 2DS). They were the first in the main handheld series of games to be completely rendered in polygonal 3D graphics. They also sported entirely new Pokémon and many other new features, making these new games hugely popular among younger audiences, Nintendo fans, and Pokémon fans alike.

Once again, those on the fence will see this as a great opportunity to get a great handheld device and a great game, and parents and grandparents will see it as a great value for a popular game that their children (of any age) will enjoy. This may be the greatest reason the 2DS sold well, outside of the price.

The Nintendo 3DS Was Already a Big Selling Device

The Nintendo 3DS was, at the time, the biggest-selling dedicated handheld gaming device on the market—having sold over 30 million units worldwide, dwarfing the Playstation Vita, which has sold only about five million units worldwide. With this in mind, a cheaper version of the 3DS, with the same features, is likely to sell even better than the original.

The New Design Is a Blessing in Disguise

The Nintendo 3DS has a clamshell design, meaning the top half connects to the bottom with hinges, and it can be closed and opened to hide the screen. Though this is a good design and practical for protecting the screen and increasing the portability of the device, it comes with some issues, especially for children. The hinges can break through wear and force, and with children who may sometimes be irresponsible, this can be a big problem. Even among older audiences, the hinge can break or become damaged in a number of ways, necessitating a costly repair or replacement.

The Nintendo 2DS removes this issue entirely, pushing the idea that this new device is targeted toward children. It appears safe and reliable, though with the risk that the constantly exposed screen will be vulnerable. Reputable gaming sites like Kotaku and IGN have stated that the 2DS’s design feels sturdy and comfortable, more comfortable than the 3DS, in fact, which is a godsend for both children who can be careless, and adults with larger hands that made holding the 3DS uncomfortable.

Kotaku's Overview of the 2DS

Cons of the Nintendo 2DS

Terrible Name

The announcement of the Nintendo 2DS rings close to that of the Nintendo Wii U, especially in one major factor: the name. This is not just an issue of nomenclature but of advertising. The 2DS moniker caused confusion and problems. Consider the average gamer or parent who does not follow gaming news. This individual goes to the store to pick up a 2DS for their child, as well as some games. However, when they look at the games, they only see games for the Nintendo 3DS.

They might ask, “Where are the 2DS games?” and as a result, they might not buy the 2DS.

The Wii U

The Wii U

This issue is very similar to the Wii U, where even today, people still believe the Wii U is only an accessory for the original Wii console rather than an actual next-gen console. This is simply a matter of advertising, however, and can be solved if Nintendo aggressively advertises the 2DS for what it is, getting the word out as clearly as possible to as many potential buyers as possible; otherwise, the 2DS may go the same direction as the Wii U.

No Stereoscopic 3D

The stereoscopic 3D aspect of the 3DS was a major selling point of the system, seen by many as an integral part. Though the stereoscopic 3D option can be turned off, many games that benefited from it may seem lesser on the 2DS system. This, however, is a minor issue, as the stereoscopic 3D on the 3DS was difficult to utilize on a handheld, as it required the system to be held perfectly steady to be viewed properly, with movement potentially leading to nausea. As a result, many played 3DS games with the feature off anyway. That being said, the option being removed may be an issue for some and may turn them off the device.

Here are Just a Few Examples of the Internet's Reaction to the Nintendo 2DS

  • The Internet Reacts to the 2DS Reveal
    Think what you will of the Nintendo 2DS, but at the very least, we can't say that it's a hardware reveal that went unnoticed. Nintendo's curiously-designed budget handheld started getting reactions from the internet almost immediately.

No Significant Improvement to Formula

The largest issue many have had with the 2DS's announcement was the fact that it resembles Nintendo’s previous attempts at entry-level versions of gaming systems, such as the Game Boy Micro, which sold poorly. The belief is that people would rather buy the original 3DS and gain all the features rather than buy a less-than version. This is a shallow way of looking at the 2DS, however, as the 2DS is not gimped. Aside from stereoscopic 3D, it provides all the features of the 3DS for a lower price, meaning it is far more likely to succeed.

Similarly, unlike the significant improvement the Nintendo DSi was over the original Nintendo DS, the 2DS has no extra features or improvements apart from physical design, and indeed is seen by many as a regression. A second analog stick or better speakers might have been good improvements but would have likely driven up the price. Many have made jokes that the 3DS can be made into a 2DS by turning off the stereoscopic 3D of the 3DS and laying it flat, which, again, is a rather shallow understanding of why the 2DS was made. It does, however, help to highlight the issues of public perception.

Decide for Yourself!

Whatever one thinks of the Nintendo 2DS, it cannot be denied that there is some logic behind its creation. Has this article convinced you to pick one up? Perhaps with some of the great 3DS games out there? Or do you already own a 3DS and see this device as redundant?

Let me know in the comments below!


wavy on November 02, 2017:

its really good but the camera and video needs improvement cos the video has a 2 secs delay and they are both bad quality but other than that its great 4/5 (2ds)

EJRC on December 28, 2016:

It was a wise decision by Nintendo. When the 3ds came out my mother tried it and felt like the 3D feature would cause harm as it bugged her eyes. I wasn't allowed to get one and with the announcement of Pokemon X&Y I was freaking out trying to get my hands on the console. The 2ds convinced my mom to get me the console and the game because 1) The 3d feature was removed 2)You could buy the console and the game for a similar amount to the 3ds alone. I'm grown now so I considered buying the New 3ds with Sun and Moon but I genuinely enjoy my 2ds as it's comfortable to use. I just bought Pokemon Sun and decided to stick with my 2ds. The only problem I have is the lack of ability to carry around but concidering the 3ds XL is also extremely big and may have issue carrying around, I can say the 2ds was worth every penny and was definitely a smart move by Nintendo otherwise me (and probably many others) wouldn't have been able to play 3ds games until later on in life. I wouldn't have played XY or ORAS until the release of Sun and Moon so the 2ds saved me from a horribly long wait!

Geiger on September 23, 2015:

I really love the 2ds. I just recently got one...and I haven't had a nintendo console since n64. I have held a 3ds before and while the games where always interesting...namely the rpgs...I hated the 3ds flip flop design. I also hated the 3d gimmick and that's all it ever was... a gimmick. The 2ds provides me a better design no gimmick cheap price and it doesn't hurt my hands to hold. Seriously this is the first handheld that I can play for any length of time without being uncomfortable. I think this is the best thing nintendo has done in a long long time.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on July 22, 2015:

All in all, a pretty cool handheld, though.

Great hub!

Samuel Franklin on September 13, 2014:

I agree that the whole Stereoscopic 3D definitely hurt sales more than most people realise.

M.O.B. on August 23, 2014:

That's ridiculous, your argument is flawed and not well explained. The 2ds feels in every sense like just another ploy for money from Nintendo. Oh, don't like that mean old 3D that was the reason for making the first model in the first place? Ok, we'll make another one. And for being such good sports, we''l knock $40 off. Where's the logic in that?

SJ on July 26, 2014:

I just bought a 2DS and love it. Feels good to hold and use

Raz on November 29, 2013:

just bought one instead of a 3ds and I totally love it, pokémon y, Zelda and all 2ds and 3ds awesome games