Just as Apple is rumoured to be working on a budget-price iPhone to attract a larger audience, Nintendo is hoping to capture a different userbase with the 2DS, the latest iteration on its handheld formula. Its launch is unlikely to upset anyone who's recently bought a 3DS or 3DS XL - and don't expect either of those two models to disappear any time soon. Positioned at a lower price point and targeted at a wider market, the fact 2DS will launch alongside family-friendly titles Pokémon X and Y on 12th October is no coincidence. The wedge-shaped handheld will be a sibling to the existing 3DS family, an additional option rather than any sort of replacement or improvement.Top of the list of changes is the removal of the console's 3D option. Once the 3DS' headline feature, Nintendo's much-boasted-of glasses-free 3D functionality was quietly sidelined as an additional novelty following the console's price cut and marketing relaunch. No 3DS games technically require 3D, after all, although some are undoubtedly enhanced by it being an option (Super Mario 3D Land's viewpoint shifting puzzles spring to mind).Much could be made of Nintendo's decision to excise even the option of 3D, then, but its removal here is less of a U-turn than immediate impressions might suggest. The feature is still present in the 3DS and XL, after all - there is no indication of new models for either of those tiers. A version of the handheld without 3D is simply confirmation of what has been apparent for some time across the wider technology and entertainment sectors - that the pull factor of 3D as a point of differentiation is not as convincing as once expected. The post-Avatar 3D bubble burst a long time ago - this is Nintendo finally moving on.
The 2DS' other big change is the removal of Nintendo's iconic DS and 3DS clamshell design. It's the first Nintendo handheld since the days of the Game Boy Advance family to be a simple, flat shape, and there is something of the company's earlier handhelds in its form. Nintendo has imagined a taller version of the first Game Boy Advance, now with two screens nestled in the middle instead of one.The twin displays are back to the original 3DS' dimensions following Nintendo's supersized XL versions. Simply put, there's no difference in how games look on 2DS and 3DS when the latter is set to its 2D mode. Another change is the 3DS' dual speaker setup. The 2DS only has one, although stereo and surround options are still available via headphones. And, unlike the 3DS XL, you will get a charger included.Inside the console it is very much the 3DS in a new shell - it runs the same firmware and has the same DS back-compatibility. It even has the 3DS' twin camera on its rear so you can take 3D photos. These are displayed in 2D, naturally, but can be swapped over to 3DS via SD card to be viewed in three dimensions.