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Nintendo goes flat with inexplicable $129 2DS handheld

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Nintendo 2DS
Nintendo 2DS

Never let it be said that Nintendo isn't willing to experiment. Take the just-announced Nintendo 2DS — a cheaper version of its 3DS handheld console that does away with the 3D features and, more notable, the familiar clamshell form factor in an effort to hit a lower $129.99 price point. That's a good $40 cheaper than the 3DS, but the wedge-shaped, tablet-esque form factor is a huge compromise over the original 3DS. Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime called the 2DS "an entry-level handheld gaming system" in a conversation with Kotaku, noting that it'll give families a more affordable option come the holiday season. And while it's still over the magic sub-$100 price point, there's a good chance the 2DS could slip into impulse buy territory for both parents as well as gamers who haven't tried the 3DS yet.

On the plus side, it does play any 3DS or DS game, just without the 3D effects, and it includes Wi-Fi, multiplayer games, and the Nintendo eShop. Overall, the only major change compared to the current 3DS console is the redesigned form factor and the lack of 3D. It'll come complete with the same stylus that the 3DS uses, a 4GB memory card, and even the cameras will still shoot in 3D (despite the fact the 2DS's screen won't support it). According to Kotaku, the console will be available on October 12th in red and blue versions, although Nintendo's own PR didn't give a firm launch date.

Update: US Gamer reports that the Nintendo 2DS doesn't actually have two screens. As a cost-saving measure, Nintendo uses a single touchscreen to simulate both of the traditionally separate screens on previous portables, and masks out unnecessary areas using the handheld's case.