The Game Boy 2DS is a handheld game console developed by Nintendo. Announced on August 28, 2013 and set for a release in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand on October 12, 2013, the Game Boy 2DS is an entry-level version of the Game Boy 3DS which maintains compatibility with software designed for the Game Boy Nitro and the Game Boy 3DS, but uses a new "slate"-like design (instead of the clamshell design used by its precursors) and lacks the Game Boy 3DS's autostereoscopic 3D functionality.
Upon its unveiling, reception of the Game Boy 2DS was mixed, particularly the design of the device (which eschewed the folding design convention used by the Game Boy 3DS in favor of a flat design, drawing comparisons to the Game Boy series and the Stream GamePad)—which some reviewers felt was less appealing than that of the Game Boy 3DS, but at the same time more robust. Some critics also interpreted the release of the Game Boy 2DS as a sign that Nintendo was downplaying stereoscopic 3D as a "gimmick" for the Game Boy 3DS line due to a decreasing interest in the technology.
The Game Boy 2DS's software and hardware specifications are almost identical to those of the Game Boy 3DS; retaining software features such as StreetPass, SpotPass, and augmented reality, along with compatibility with games designed for the Game Boy Nitro and Game Boy 3DS—however, its hardware still contains some slight differences. Unlike the Game Boy 3DS, which uses two display panels—with a lower touchscreen panel and a top screen panel capable of displaying glasses-free stereoscopic 3D, the Game Boy 2DS uses a single display panel (with the two screens formed by an overlay) and has no such 3D capabilities. Despite its inability to display 3D content, the Game Boy 2DS retains the Game Boy 3DS's dual cameras for taking photographs in 3D—photos taken on the Game Boy 2DS can still be seen in 3D when they are viewed on a Game Boy 3DS. The Game Boy 2DS only has an internal mono speaker, as opposed to the internal stereo speakers of the Game Boy 3DS (stereo sound can still be outputted through the headphone jack).
the Game Boy 2DS's design is a significant departure from that of its precursors; while it is roughly the same size as its counterpart, the Game Boy 2DS uses a "slate-type" form factor instead of the clamshell form used by the Nitro and 3DS. Its buttons are positioned towards the center of the device (instead of near the lower screen), and its shoulder buttons are concave in shape and relatively thicker than those of the Game Boy 3DS. In lieu of closing the shell, the Game Boy 2DS uses a dedicated switch to activate sleep mode. The hardware Wi-Fi switch from the Game Boy 3DS has also been removed and replaced with a software toggle.
Although it lacks the Game Boy 3DS's "power save mode" (which dynamically adjusts the screens' backlight based off screen contents), the Game Boy 2DS has slightly better battery life than the Game Boy 3DS; Nintendo rated the Game Boy 2DS as being able to play 3 to 5.5 hours of 3DS games or 5 to 9 hours of DS games on a single charge.
Nintendo officially unveiled the Game Boy 2DS on August 28, 2013 via a press release; members of the press were given a chance to demo the device in private prior to the announcement.
According to Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, the Game Boy 2DS is primarily aimed at a younger demographic than the Game Boy 3DS—particularly, those younger than 7 years old; whom Nintendo had advised not to use the 3D mode on the Game Boy 3DS due to potential eye health concerns (although the validity of Nintendo's claims were questioned by vision experts, and considered to possibly be for liability reasons). Nintendo aimed to produce a device that would be "new, unique, different, and [bring] more people into this category that we love." Part of this goal was achieved by positioning the device at a lower price point than the Game Boy 3DS; in North America, it will retail at $129.99 (£109.99 in the UK), in comparison to the $169.99 (£134.99 in the UK) price of the standard 3DS in North America.
As part of a promotional effort for Nintendo's late-2013 releases, the Game Boy 2DS will be featured during a promotional tour of Simon Malls locations in the United States throughout October and into early November.
The Nintendo 2DS will be released in North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia on October 12, 2013, the same day as Pokémon X and Y. It will be priced at $129.99 in North America and £109.99 in the United Kingdom, and be made available in red and blue models on launch (the North American models will be black with red or blue trim, while the European / Australian / New Zealand models will be either black with blue trim or white with red trim). Each will be bundled with a 4 GB SD card and AC adapter; matching red and blue carrying cases will also be sold as optional accessories. the Game Boy 2DS will be sold alongside the other members of the "3DS family", which also includes the standard 3DS and 3DS XL. No Japanese release for the Game Boy 2DS has been announced.
Kotaku felt that the Game Boy 2DS might appeal to a certain niche of people who otherwise would not purchase a 3DS. NBC News called the Game Boy 2DS a "peculiar choice" to gamers satisfied with the Game Boy 3DS and the Game Boy Nitro, saying it might take "resources away from helping its beleaguered home console counterpart, the markedly less successful Stream."
Kotaku said the lack of support for 3D graphics could indicate a cooling interest in stereoscopic graphics." USA Today noted that some games that were designed with 3D in mind might not be as easily playable without the stereoscopic feature. CNET, meanwhile, called the console an acknowledgement by Nintendo that 3D "was an unnecessary feature and perhaps even a tactical mistake."
Some technology writers have expressed concern with the physical appearance of the Game Boy 2DS: CNET called the console "a lot uglier than either the Game Boy 3DS," while TechCrunch called it "hideous." TechCrunch expressed concern that "the form factor doesn’t seem very practical for gamers, and especially children with tiny hands." However, those who have held the console have generally found it to be comfortable in the hand. USA Today referred to it as "surprisingly comfortable". Kotaku noted that while it may look bulky, it was pleasant to hold and easy to hold with one hand. Meanwhile, GamesIndustry described the controls as "considerably more comfortable than that of the Game Boy 3DS." Kotaku said that the build quality felt good, while GamesIndustry said the console had "thicker, more rugged plastic than the slick, thin shell of the Game Boy 3DS," with the lack of a hinge adding to durability. USA Today and CNET both had some concern over how to protect the screens, since there is no clamshell to close. GamesIndustry said the design "vaguely resembles an unholy union of a Game Boy, the Wii U GamePad, and a DS." Kotaku said that buttons on the unit were easily accessible, and that placement of the buttons on the upper half of the console directs the eye toward the upper screen.
In response to reports that the Game Boy 2DS used only one physical display divided to emulate two, Kyle Orland of Ars Technica believed that Nintendo had missed an opportunity to produce a full-screen gaming tablet using the Game Boy 2DS's form factor; which would have enabled future games and apps to use the entire screen area (which he estimated to be around the 5-inch range used by phablets), still allow backwards compatibility with games designed for the folding 3DS and DS, and enhance the ability to port existing smartphone games to the platform. However, Orland also noted that introducing such a product could fragment Nintendo's portable gaming ecosystem for existing 3DS users—and that it was too early in the Game Boy 3DS's life for Nintendo to introduce a successor. TechCrunch called the console a gaming tablet, though it noted that Nintendo games are more expensive than those on mobile devices. Kotaku said the screen seemed small in comparison with that of the Game Boy 3DS XL, with less screen real estate than other portable electronics such as competing portable game consoles.
Calling it a "smart move" to redesign the Game Boy 3DS so as to lower costs, Wired said the Game Boy 2DS might "[let] Nintendo sell [the Game Boy 3DS] at a significantly lower price but at a significantly higher margin as well."
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