On April 27th, Nintendo unveiled the latest product in the “3DS Family”, the New Nintendo 2DS XL, a cheaper, slimmer version of 2015’s New Nintendo 3DS XL without the 3D display. In October 2013, Nintendo released the original 2DS exclusively in North America, a cheaper version of the smaller 3DS without a 3D display or clamshell design. The 2DS was intended for younger and more budget-conscious gamers for whom 3D was a nonissue.
The New 2DS has all the features of the New 3DS… Well, almost… The C-Stick analog “nub” and the additional ZL and ZR buttons are included for games that utilize the former Circle Pad Pro accessory. The New 3DS’s faster processor is included for quicker load times and extra power (some of the benefits of which are moot — but more about that later). Both the upper and lower screens are the same size as the other XL units. Finally, the New 2DS XL has a clamshell design like the rest of the DS and 3DS family (excepting the original 2DS).
So what feature is missing? The New 3DS’s Super Stable 3D, of course. One of the most impressive features of the New 3DS upgrade was the addition of a front-facing infrared camera that tracked the movement of the player’s head, coupled with a display that adjusted the image so that one rarely lost the three-dimensional effect, making gameplay in 3D a less confining experience. The faster processor also allowed more graphically intensive games to run stereoscopically which would otherwise bog down the 3DS OG. Obviously, both of these features are lost completely.
I mean, I get it. The parallax screen is more expensive to manufacture; and 3D gaming is not as much of a draw as it was in 2010; and recent 3DS games have used 3D sparingly, or not at all; and statistically, a majority of people rarely if ever use the 3D effect anyway — but you know what? Nintendo called the system the “3DS”. They flaunted the glasses-free 3D for months. They set up store displays to show it off. They released games that took advantage of the 3D effect. And they got a lot of gamers excited about being able to play games in 3D who could never afford a 3DTV at the time. Why turn their back on its defining feature now? That would be like releasing a DS without the touch screen, or a Wii without the Remote, or a Wii U without the GamePad. Those features are what made those systems unique in the first place. Besides, the 3D feature has always been optional and adjustable since even the E3 demo.
Anyway, if you are looking to upgrade your “old” Nintendo 3DS, or join the generation in its homestretch, and stereoscopic gaming is something you’re sure you will never be interested in, the New 2DS XL will be released in the United States on July 28 and retail at $149 USD, $50 cheaper than its three-dimensional older brother.