Today’s announcement of the new 2DS handheld console has sparked a lot of controversy in the gaming community, with concerns about the design of the console itself and worries that the lack of 3D on it means that Nintendo will lose focus on that particular part of their handheld development.
Nintendo have come forward to say that they have no plans to walk away from 3D gaming, hoping to assuage fears that they are backpedaling on features and gimmicks.
Scot Moffitt from Nintendo spoke with GamesIndustry.biz about both the issue of target audience, and Nintendo’s plans for 3D functionality:
I guess all I can say is that you weren’t directly in our crosshairs as we were assessing the market potential for this initiative. You never can guess who’s going to respond to a new piece of hardware.
But I think our expectation was that we were primarily trying to address the value barrier that might exist for some consumers to playing a 3DS.
They could be DS owners that haven’t yet upgraded to the 3DS because of price and because they love playing their old DS games. It could be young kids just entering the video game market, and parents not wanting to buy them a $200 gaming system. Now we’re much closer to $100, which makes it much more affordable for them.
I think that was probably the audience we expected or intended to design the unit for.
The console was clearly designed with a much younger audience in mind, and it’s good to see that Nintendo are embracing as many audiences as they can. The kneejerk reaction of gamers when they saw the 2DS revealed was rather sad to see, considering that Nintendo are just trying to bring more people into the gaming fold, and what’s wrong with that?
As for 3D gaming, Moffitt had strong support for 3D and the 3DS:
Clearly our development efforts all include 3D games. Our installed base, we have eight million units installed. If 3D wasn’t selling and wasn’t part of our future, we wouldn’t be seeing and enjoying the robust sales we have on 3DS right now.
I think you know that the 3DS is the number one gaming platform on the market. We’re having a very good year with 3DS. Our games continue to sell extremely well. Our forecast for pretty much everything we’ve launched this year has surprised us on the positive side. We’ve been very happy with the 3DS part of our business.
Any fears that Nintendo are just going to put aside the 3D aspect of their console should be put aside for now. The new 2DS isn’t any reason to believe that they’re abandoning great 3D games just because they’re introducing another 2D gaming console onto the handheld market.
When you consider that the 2DS is being marketed at a younger audience, it’s actually a very smart move to remove the 3D functionality; it’s no secret that the 3D function of the 3DS has caused headaches and motion sickness in a number of people, and the 3D should be used in moderation.
Parents probably don’t want to expose their children to a gaming console they’ll use regularly if that console will make their children ill or cause them pain. Overall, this seems like a very smart move by Nintendo.