The Nintendo Switch appears to be on its way to becoming one of the Japanese gaming giant’s most successful devices, selling millions of units since its recent launch. In the midst of the Switch’s success, however, Nintendo has done something that has completely taken its fans by surprise. It announced a new portable gaming console, the 2DS XL, which is set to launch this coming July 28.
The Nintendo 2DS XL is the spiritual successor to the original 2DS, Nintendo’s non-hinged, portable gaming device with stacked screens. Unlike its predecessor, however, the 2DS XL follows the traditional DS form factor, featuring a hinge and displays that are as massive as those found in the company’s acclaimed 3DS XL device, according to a TechCrunch report. To get a better idea of what the 2DS XL really is, it is basically a 2015 3DS XL, without the 3D capabilities.
The upcoming handheld console has been announced with an extremely competitive price of $149.99, which is an excellent value considering that the device is far more affordable than both the New 3DS XL and the Nintendo Switch. With the upcoming release of the 2DS XL, Nintendo appears to be doubling down on gamers who are still on the fence with regards to committing to the Japanese firm’s gaming ecosystem.
The 2DS XL is not just a powered down New 3DS XL, however, as the new device also features a number of improvements over the last few handhelds that the gaming firm has released over the years. For one, the 2DS XL is equipped with the new C-Stick and the ZL/ZR buttons, features which were introduced on the company’s flagship handheld, the New 3DS XL. Also, the Nintendo 2DS XL is equipped with NFC for Amiibo support. The 2DS XL is lighter than both its predecessor and the Nintendo Switch as well, making the device ideal for users who value portability.
According to Paul Tassi of Forbes, however, Nintendo’s decision to announce the 2DS XL at this point in time appears to be unorthodox at best. After all, the Nintendo Switch, the gaming giant’s flagship hybrid console, is an extremely capable portable device on its own. During the Switch’s launch, speculations among longtime Nintendo fans emerged stating that the gaming firm might be abandoning the DS handheld line altogether. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the Nintendo 2DS XL appears to be a device without a definite place in the Japanese firm’s overall strategy.
Nevertheless, the impending launch of the 2DS XL does show that Nintendo has every intention of keeping its handheld business alive. While this might appear to be quite strange in the West, the 3DS XL has actually been performing pretty well in Nintendo’s home turf of Japan. So far, the Nintendo 3DS series has sold 65 million units since the device was introduced, which makes the handhelds pretty profitable for Nintendo. Even if Nintendo is setting up the Switch as its one console for both handheld and home platforms, it will take a while before the system could fill the gap that the DS line has been filling over the past years.
Nintendo has always been a pretty unorthodox company, and announcements such as the upcoming 2DS XL launch have become a trademark of the Japanese gaming giant. Inasmuch as the timing for the handheld’s debut appears to be unsurprising, however, there is a very real possibility that the 2DS XL might end up cannibalizing some of the Switch’s revenue, and vice versa. With Nintendo even extending its reach into the mobile gaming market, the gaming veteran has a very challenging balancing act to maintain.
[Featured Image by Richard Drew/AP Images]