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Nintendo cuts Wii U by $50, announces 2DS handheld

New 2DS removes 3D effect, sells for the low price of $129, while Deluxe Wii U and special Wind Waker HD Wii U bundle both sell for just $299 [UPDATE: added video of 2DS]

Nintendo has pulled back the curtains on its plans for this fall, and despite the relatively late date they've managed to slip in a few surprises -- not least of which is a new piece of hardware.

The Nintendo 2DS, as the name suggests, offers a new take on the 3DS. While it features a fully different form factor from the standard 3DS and XL (it discards the clamshell case for something that vaguely resembles an unholy union of a Game Boy, the Wii U GamePad, and a DS), the 2DS is functionally identical to its sibling. Every feature has carried across, including the touch screen, the relative sizes of the screens, the Circle Pad, the wireless functionality and software, and the 3D cameras. Despite the slate-style design, it even retains the system's sleep function through a slider on the bottom edge that puts the device instantly into a low-power mode.

However, even though it can "see" in 3D, what truly distinguishes the 2DS from 3DS is its lack of a 3D graphical effect. This, Nintendo explains, is entirely a cost-saving measure. Nintendo has designed the 2DS with younger gamers in mind, and as such its price undercuts the standard 3DS model at $129. And lest there be any doubt about the system's intended market, consider that it's launching day-and-date with Pokémon X & Y Versions... and is sold separately. Nintendo is clearly banking on the popularity of a new Pokémon (and the first to feature the wild 21st Century concept of ) this fall and hopes to coax younger gamers, or at least their parents, into jumping into the 3DS market with a more enticingly priced piece of hardware.

"Nintendo was quick to explain that the 2DS is not really meant for hardcore audiences"

When the 2DS launches on October 12, American gamers will be able to choose from two predominantly black models: One with blue trim and the other with red. European gamers will have the choice of black with blue or white with red. And Japanese gamers don't have a choice at all; the 2DS won't be arriving in Japan when it debuts elsewhere, and Nintendo hasn't indicated when (or if) it will.

The 2DS features full compatibility with the entire lineup of 3DS and DS software, though of course the former games will run strictly in 2D mode. Both cartridge-based and digital software are supported on the system, and the device ships with the same 4GB SD card as the 3DS XL. Besides the major redesign of the hardware layout and addition of a Sleep switch, fans will notice a few other minor changes: The 2DS (obviously) lacks a 3D slider, and its wireless functionality is controlled through software rather than via a physical switch. Finally, the system includes only a single speaker, though stereo sound is available through the headphone jack.

In testing the hardware, I found the 2D to be considerably lighter than the 3DS. It also feels more durable; it consists of a thicker, more rugged plastic than the slick, thin shell of the 3DS, and the lack of a hinge helps make it feel more solid as well. The control layout feels considerably more comfortable than that of the 3DS, with interface elements high on the face (similar to the GamePad). This benefits the D-pad in particular. Perceptually, I found the screens seemed larger than those of the standard 3DS model despite their being the same size.

Nintendo was quick to explain that the 2DS is not really meant for hardcore audiences. Instead, they're targeting those gamers with a new model of Wii U that comes bundled with The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. Effectively the Deluxe edition of the Wii U -- a black model with 32GB of internal memory and a free game -- the Zelda bundle differs in that its GamePad comes emblazoned with Hylian script, similar to the Ocarina of Time 3DS from a few years back. Additionally, The Wind Waker HD comes preinstalled on the system (occupying less than 2GB of the internal storage), replacing the packaged copy of Nintendo Land.

With the Wind Waker bundle, the Wii U will also be seeing a price drop of $50; both the Deluxe and Wind Waker sets will now come in at $299. Curiously, the price of the basic white Wii U model will see a cut, remaining at $299 just like the more value-oriented packages. Nintendo representatives mentioned that the standard set has sold through pretty well and not too many units remain in the supply chain, so it's safe to assume the standard model's days are numbered.

Both the Wind Waker bundle and the eShop version of the game will go on sale September 20, despite Nintendo's previous announcement that it wouldn't be available until October. But they weren't wrong, exactly, as the retail edition of Wind Waker HD won't hit stores until October 4. Similar to New Super Luigi U, the game hits the eShop first, and the retail edition will come in a special case (in this case, one featuring gold foil) -- presumably to encourage double-dipping among the hardcore.

Along with Wind Waker HD, Nintendo has firmed up release dates for most of the rest of its fall lineup.

The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD (digital version): September 20

The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker Wii U bundle (Wii U price drop): September 20

The Legend of Zelda Wind Waker HD (retail version): October 4

Nintendo 2DS: October 12

Pokémon X & Y Versions: October 12

Wii Party U: October 25

Super Mario 3D Land: November 22

The Legend of Zelda A Link Between Worlds: November 22

Mario Party 3DS: November 22

Donkey Kong Returns Tropical Freeze: December 6

Wii Fit U: Holiday

Mario & Sonic: Holiday

For more on Nintendo's fall plans, please see our interview with Nintendo Vice President of Sales and Marketing Scott Moffitt, as well as further analysis at USgamer.

Jeremy Parish is Games Editor of, a sister site to GamesIndustry International, and the US consumer flagship of Gamer Network.

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Latest comments (33)

Steven Hodgson Programmer, Code in Progress Ltd8 years ago
why would I buy 2DS, it won't fit in my pocket. I don't want 3D, but I'm not getting a 2DS, I'll stick with the good old 3DS XL with the slider on off.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Steven Hodgson on 28th August 2013 4:43pm

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Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
I can see buying this for a small kid or my son. For myself I still prefer the original one. And its great that nintendo will still offer it. But this is great for kids. Knowing how kids treat things its also cheaper too. Kids tend to break the hinges on the folding screen and the 3D visuals arent really appreciated by kids. I also like that both screens are closer together. All in all a great piece of hardware. And anyone who starts flaming this hand held clearly has no understanding on who its aimed at. Finally it also offers a cheaper alternative to casual gamers.

Regarding the WiiU price drop, it was inevitable and I can see myself picking up the WiiU Windwaker bundle when it comes out. Nintendo certainly has a few games down the pipeline Im itching to play and all this make it more accesible.
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Steven Pick Lead Graphic Designer, Atomhawk Design8 years ago
Seems like a smart choice to appeal to younger gamers. I still love my 3DS - I rarely use the 3D though.
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Show all comments (33)
Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 8 years ago
Same here i dont care about the 3D, however i do like the clamshell casing and the more compact design of the 3DS. But i totally understand the concept of the 2DS making it more accesible to kids and more casual gamers. And also a cheaper alternative. For myself id still buy the 3DS.
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Igor M D 8 years ago
In my opinion the fact that Nintendo is able to drop 3D support is a testament of a strong leadership. This thing will probably rock'n'roll this holiday season (highly likely will retail for £99 by then). Well done, Nintendo!
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Shehzaan Abdulla Translator/QA 8 years ago
The double whammy of what amounts to a price drop in the form of the 2DS and the launch of the next Pokemon games. That's a smart move on Nintendo's part.
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Germán Vázquez Executive Producer, Neggi Studio8 years ago
@Steven Does the 3DXL fit in your pocket??
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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee8 years ago
Fantastic business sense at last.

Wii U price drop and something to excite further sales and reach of the fastest selling console right now.
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Steven Hodgson Programmer, Code in Progress Ltd8 years ago
@Germán Easily, just no room for the phone in the same pocket. :(
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd8 years ago
Big announcements. It will be a fun holiday. I suspect the 3DS/2DS will be the sales winner by a significant margin, despite new platforms.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 8 years ago
I think it looks amusingly hideous... but thankfully, it's sturdier than the old model (no busted hinges to suffer through) and does everything except for 3D, which means I'll pick one up. The FUNNY thing is, I'm guessing it's the smaller size (ugh, my eyes!) because if they made a 2DS XL, it would be almost the same size as a tablet and DEFINITELY wouldn't fit in any pocket. Hmmm. cargo pants (Nintendo branded) anyone?
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Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online8 years ago
I wish it'd flip though, would protect the screens a bit more, especially with the target group Nintendo is aiming this at.
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2ds is a great idea... like the xl its a fully compatible model but is a very different hardware form factor. This will boost hardware sales without hurting existing models.

And it will boost software sales. Win win.
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development8 years ago
Clearly Nintendo are responding to what the public have been saying.

In the last 5 years the usage of touch screens and 2d graphic interfaces have been taking the world by storm, used by over two thousand million users worldwide. This is going to be a phenomenal success. Gaming with circle pads and 2d-touch screens is the future!

The design follows a classic wedge shape that is reminiscent of books and potato chips, which is not made to fit in your pocket but your bag. It seems Nintendo are really serious about winning not only the living room but the school ruck-sack, while their 3DS range can fit inside your pocket.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 28th August 2013 10:15pm

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Gareth Eckley Commercial Analyst 8 years ago
The devices "3D" functionality is completely unsuitable for small children, due to potential damage to their eyes' natural focal length (as stated in the accompanying literature).

So given the target marget, killing off the 3D element hardly seems like a big issue as no responsible parent would be letting their child use it in 3D mode anyway. Price point, on the other hand, is much more sensitive.

Adult gamers will be using their iPhones or Android devices, given the only major drawback to the platform is the plethora of inappropriate software available for it and the comparative difficulty effectively locking such devices down.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 8 years ago
While I can see the market Nintendo is going for with the 2DS I won't be picking it up. My 3DS suits me just fine although I also never use the 3D on it because it distorts unless you stay perfectly still. But it's another handheld from Nintendo so it and the 3DS will further distance themselves from the Vita this holiday season because people are going to want their Nintendo handhelds.

As for the Wii U price drop, smart move indeed. The system is selling absolutly atrociously so every boost it can get is deserved. This price cut and Nintendo's upcoming holiday releases should position it quite well to compete with the XB1, 360, PS4 and other systems come November.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 28th August 2013 11:10pm

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Andreia Quinta Photographer 8 years ago
Nintendo no longer wants to compete with Sony or Microsoft
Have they ever? Nintendo is it's own thing, always was.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 8 years ago
That butt covering legal malarkey . There is no evidence of any potential damage to developing eyes from 3D.
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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd8 years ago
I would say it was always Sony and Microsoft that wanted to compete with Nintendo. They are the least reactionary of all the companies (sometimes to their own detriment, but it makes them unique as well).

@ Jeff Agreed, no studies have shown any risk to children of 3D.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Do YOU really need to be marketed to before you decide on a product?

We're industry people. We hear about products the day they are announced and then do our own research. The average moms and pops of the world more likely need the marketing push to decide on a purchase but how does it affect YOU? What is a cleverly marketed commercial written and directed by an external ad agency going to do for YOU that this very announcement already didn't?
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Isaac Kirby Studying Computer Games Development, University of Central Lancashire8 years ago
Damn! If i hadnt acquired a 3DS at its first price drop i'd be getting this. It's great. I'm one of the minority who get migraines with 3D of all types so this is a very good step.

As for it's market, little kids will love the design, its like "My First iPad". That and the double whammy of the Pokemon launch. I think Nintendo just took all the Primary School (11 and under) console present sales this christmas!
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James Prendergast Process Specialist 8 years ago
I was waiting for a 3DS price drop but this 2DS suits me fine! I never go out and play a handheld anyway and this will fit in my luggage or rucksack just as well as the 3DS/original DS do.

I just hope that it's not a complete 1:1 price ratio between US and UK - even though that is better than it currently is. I'm also tempted to pick up a copy of Pokemon X and Y.... played Soul Silver a few years ago.... UGH! Will this franchise never release me?!

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Matthew Hill Head of Recruitment, Specialmove8 years ago
A timely link to this excellent post by Rob Fahey which expands on observation's above that Nintendo are a very different business to MS and Sony
[link url=""][/link]

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Matthew Hill on 29th August 2013 9:16am

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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany8 years ago
Did Nintendo lost their their track? hey don't need a new console. They need games and third party support on WiiU. You don't need an expert in marketing to tell them that...
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Admiration for Nintendo to be honest to themselves. The company has plowed a singular furrow for themselves, separate of the hype of the rest of the trade; and with these announcement they have achieved a separation of sorts:
- launch 2DS =(translation) Fisherprice-esq., game tablet to capture the kid sector that avoids the 3D issues for young players
- WiiU first price drop =(translation) attempt to redress the retailer issue on price and position for 2014 re-branding/re-launch
Regarding the whole 3-D disclaimer issue; with many of us working hard on evaluating the pros and cons of immersive 3-D, Nintendo's move comes over as a fence sitting position - remember 2014 sees the conclusion of a number of research studies into player susceptibility to harm from gaming; including violence and young player vision development. Hidden away within these studies is also one that also looks at Repetitive Strain Injuries(RSI) from motion control gaming on young gamers, so Nintendo may be doubly cautious to hoist their flag too prominently just at the moment (anyone say "Claim for Injury Compensation"!)
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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development8 years ago
The 3D halved the displayed graphical power and they should have only made the device 3D if they had a killer application for it because the economics just don't stack up.

At the same production cost a 2DS would have had much better graphics or a much longer battery life. At the same graphical output the 2DS would have had a much lower price point, could have again benefited from longer battery life and there wouldn't have been all the technical issues that 3D presents, such as the fact that it gets in the way of making use of the gyroscope.
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Nick Parker Consultant 8 years ago
I have no doubt that the 2DS will sell this Christmas but for some reason I feel a little underwhelmed. We, the industry, have come to respect Nintendo and recognise its position in the market so, as adults, we would give it the benefit of the doubt and try out the 2DS; my concern is that consumers beyond children age groups have moved on for good and this device will just exacerbate the perception that Nintendo's target market is too young for them.

The standard Wii U model could be phased out, leaving a clearer proposition for Nintendo but a $50 cut is not enough on its own; educational marketing and more titles are required in the fall. Year to date sell-through is indicating a tough ride for Wii U as a credible platform for publishers so with five months to go, Nintendo needs more than sticking plasters.
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Henry Durrant Programmer, SUMO Digital8 years ago
For some reaon i would expect the controls on the 2DS to stand out from the black background and the buttons to be brightly coloured ( SNES Controller? ) - "Black is Chique" is an older-market concept right? Its hard enough to 'read' the controls and text in the hi-res screenshots.
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John Arnold Video Production 8 years ago
@JimWebb Thank you for your response. I agree with some of what you've said, it doesn't effect me. However I think where the problem lies is that a lot of people I know have little knowledge and interest in the Wii U and seem to be more focused on the PS4. In my country people clearly haven't lost interest in games consoles and haven't been lured to phones; just as with every console era it takes time for people to switch.

I strongly believe the Wii U has a lot of potential and I think Nintendo clearly has done a incredibly great job with their TViii and hardware, but I largely feel Nintendo in some aspects has faded into the background for many people; of course Nintendo is nowhere near ignored through the means of the internet. But most gamers I know in real life have never even heard of Nintendo Direct and if Nintendo had done their presentation in a big press conference, which could have been dramatic and exciting like all of Nintendo's conferences have been for the past ten years.

As much as I want the Wii U to beat the success of the Wii, they're really going to need to reach out to those gamers who have for seven years been occupied by Sony and Microsoft. If Nintendo and Valve could work together to make an account system and really flesh out some popular exclusives, Nintendo will do great.

Some popular third party developers are unsure about developing their games for the Wii U and if Nintendo can't encourage them I think that if Nintendo can incorporate more japanese developers and create some fantastic FPS and RPG franchises, the Wii U is great to go.

The Wii U has only been out for nearly a year and I'm fully open to the fact things might just change.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Greetings, John.
I fully agree with much of what you stated above. With regards to the majority of people, Nintendo has done a very poor job in the area of communication. It is these people indeed that are not jumping on the Wii U wagon because they have not been properly communicated with.

I simply thought it odd when you said you'd buy a Wii U only after they show more ambition in marketing but I see now you were directing it more towards the average person though speaking from the first person.

To all:
If anyone needed more validation for the existence of the 2DS, look no further than Samsung's new Galaxy Tab 3 for kids.,24025.html#xtor=RSS-181
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Andrea Montanari Performance Advertising Manager, Wargaming.Net8 years ago
Here comes the latest Gameboy Color iteration.
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John Arnold Video Production 8 years ago
Thank you Jim, I am glad you agree with me. That original comment of mine was badly structured and largely hypercritical of my honest views.
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Michael Vandendriessche Studying Computer Science, K.U. Leuven8 years ago
I think this move is important in making the Nintendo brand stronger among kids.
Like they are making sure they don't lose in this market like they do in the core market.

It's not something for me but I'm glad it exists. if i get a Nintendo handheld, It'll be the highest version of the 3DS, even if I won't use the 3D much I still want the option to turn it on.
I only get devices if I need it and for now I have enough with my psp.
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