<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Nintendo dropped a surprise announcement a few weeks ago, one that literally nobody saw coming. Six years after the release of the original 3DS, the aging handheld is getting one last big gust of wind its sails in the form of the New 2DS XL. Set to launch this summer, the new model will fill the role of the ‘middle option’, sitting between the original 2DS and New 3DS XL. While some think this is completely unnecessary, I have to say that this is actually a good idea.</span>
<img class=”aligncenter” src=”http://enthusiast.gg/images/posts/FAAFC3B2-6160-48CA-9FF4-D467E734A257.png” />
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The 3DS got off to a pretty rough start when it launched back in 2011. With a lackluster line-up of games and ‘high’ price-tag, the new handheld did not make the waves Nintendo expected having come off the insanely popular DS. After slashing the price and releasing more complete titles, the 3DS finally took off. Although it hasn’t been selling as well as its predecessor, it’s still managed to amass over 65 million units worldwide and counting. Nintendo launched the Wii U a year after the 3DS, and it ran into a very similar situation of having a rocky start. Unfortunately, Nintendo could not turn the ship around like it did with the 3DS. As a result, the 3DS has been Nintendo’s primary money-maker for the past six years. With that said, it’s no wonder why the company is keeping it </span><a href=”http://enthusiast.gg/11328/3ds-support-will-continue-says-kimishima”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>going a little longer.</span></a>
While the 3DS has had to deal with the competition of mobile devices, it’s still managed to find a dedicated user-base that’s been eating up the wide variety of software. Across the whopping five (soon to be six) models, hardware has also been selling considerably well. Just like any other for-profit company, Nintendo’s primary goal is to make money. So, put yourself in Nintendo’s shoes: if you were in charge of the company and you had a product that’s generating profit, would you try and slow it down?
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The New 2DS XL is basically the last hurrah for the 3DS family. The last additions to the hardware lineup were the New 3DS/XL which were first released in October of 2014. That means it’s been well over two years since the 3DS family got a hardware refresh. The release of the New 2DS XL will give Nintendo a good reason to advertise the 3DS and its massive library of games, despite the recent release of the Switch. And now that I’ve mentioned the Switch, that brings up the question: shouldn’t Nintendo be focused </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>only </span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>on that? Well, let’s take a look at the situation.</span>
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<h3 style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”color: #ff0000;”><em>The arrival of the New 2DS XL will give Nintendo one last good reason to seriously advertise the profitable handheld family. </em></span></h3>
No doubt, the Switch has hit the ground running. The system has had the best launch for a Nintendo console since the Wii, and it doesn’t show much sign of slowing down anytime soon with major titles set to release throughout the rest of the year. Some Switch owners aren’t happy that the current library is so thin, and wants Nintendo to kick game production into high gear ASAP. That seems to be the main source of negativity towards the announcement of the New 2DS XL—Nintendo should be diverting all attention to the Switch. While I definitely understand that argument, that wouldn’t be a very wise decision.
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>It’s true that the Switch is doing well so far, but it’s still a bit early to conclude that things will remain this way. The chances of its situation going sour are relatively low as things currently are, but this industry is </span><i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>very</span></i><span style=”font-weight: 400;”> unpredictable. As a result, Nintendo is making the best use of its two cards. While the 3DS isn’t getting any younger and is definitely entering its twilight years, it’s still a money-maker. Not only that, but it’s also relatively simple for Nintendo to make a profit off of the 3DS versus the Switch. The hardware is much cheaper and more simple to manufacture. On top of that, software can be developed more quickly, all while using less resources. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Nintendo is trying to keep the handheld running for as long as possible—it’s ‘easy money’.</span>
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The Switch will eventually be Nintendo’s sole platform (</span><a href=”http://enthusiast.gg/9442/nintendo-3ds-successor-comments-clarified”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>hopefully</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>), but for now it makes the most sense for Nintendo to balance both systems. In fact, the company is doing a pretty decent job at differentiating the two by targeting them at different markets. The Switch has been primarily marketed towards adults, and that’s exactly who makes up the </span><a href=”http://enthusiast.gg/11331/most-switch-users-are-males-ages-25-34″><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>most of its user-base</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>. Being cheaper and more simplistic, the 3DS is being mainly targeted at kids and adolescents. Since they rely on their parents to buy things for them, it makes sense for the cheaper system to be marketed towards this demographic; $150 for a New 2DS XL (or even $70 for the OG 2DS) is a lot easier on the wallet than a $300 Switch.</span>
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<h3 style=”text-align: center;”><span><em><span style=”color: #ff0000;”>The Switch is being targeted at adults, whereas the 3DS/2DS is a much better fit for kids and families. </span></em></span></h3>
Having considered all this, I actually do wonder if the New 2DS XL will sell very well. The role that it’s filling is pretty specific: it has the clamshell design for those who prefer it, with the guts and screen size of a New 3DS XL, minus the 3D. It can be argued that anyone who really doesn’t like the 3D-feature but wants the clamshell design can simply buy a New 3DS/XL and just keep the 3D turned off. Alternatively, you can even buy an OG 3DS/XL used or refurbished if you don’t mind losing that extra bit of processing power. On top of that, the majority of people who really want a 3DS definitely have some form of it by now, especially after the release of the insanely cheap OG 2DS. Even with all that said, the New 2DS XL is still a member of the 3DS family, so that’s arguably all it needs in order to sell.
<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The 3DS will see its conclusion eventually. As Nintendo continues to establish the Switch, support for the little handheld will naturally decrease. Before long, the Switch will take its proper position as Nintendo’s unique one-two combo: the simultaneous home console and handheld platform. I stand by my past statement that there should be </span><a href=”http://nintendoenthusiast.com/news/the-3ds-should-be-nintendos-last-handheld/”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>no new dedicated handheld after the 3DS</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>, and also that the Switch should be the </span><a href=”http://nintendoenthusiast.com/article/can-the-switch-change-the-console-industry/”><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>start of a whole new era</span></a><span style=”font-weight: 400;”>—the hybrids. For now, enjoy having both platforms…it just may be the last time.</span>
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<h3 style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”color: #ff0000;”><em>Eventually the Switch will be Nintendo’s sole platform. Let the 3DS enjoy its last hurrah.</em></span></h3>