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Nintendo is bringing out new hardware faster than software these days, with the New 2DS XL being the latest piece of gaming kit to step into the limelight. According to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, this particular portable console was developed with a specific audience in mind.
When Nintendo unceremoniously unveiled the New 2DS XL through Youtube last week, it left a lot of folks scratching their heads as to who, exactly, the stylish device was being developed for. In speaking with Time, Fils-Aime explained that Nintendo believes there are plenty of gamers out there who have not upgraded their current 3DS console because, among other things, they have no interest in glasses-free gaming. Similarly, they feel there's a crowd of consumers who would buy a 2DS if its design was more in line with the 3DS. It's a gamble, but one Nintendo seems to feel is worth taking.
There are currently a handful of Nintendo portable consoles on the market. There's the standard 3DS, which comes in a more pocket-friendly size and offers -- as the name implies -- 3D gaming. There's the 3DS XL, which does everything the 3DS does but with a bigger size to accommodate bigger screens. There's the New 3DS and New 3DS XL, which add a couple of extra shoulder buttons, an extra analog nub for things like camera control, the ability to scan Amiibo without extra hardware and a few other bells and whistles. Finally, there's the 2DS, which does everything the standard 3DS does except minus the third dimension. The design is also more kid-friendly, shaped like a door wedge that doesn't fold, which makes it harder to break.
Finally, the thing that the "New" 3DS models do that the other models can't is play a couple of special games (Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, The Binding of Isaac Rebirth, Fire Emblem Warriors, etc.) and Super Nintendo titles via the Virtual Console.
If you're a bit confused after all of that, you probably aren't alone. We genuinely feel sorry for any parent who receives a child's birthday or Christmas list with the words "Nintendo DS" on it. Throw in all of the models with special designs, and you're entering a gift-giving mine field.
And then there's the Nintendo Switch, the company's new home/portable console hybrid that many think, despite Nintendo arguing to the contrary, will soon muscle the 3DS family out of existence.
Despite all of that Fils-Aime said Nintendo feels there are people out there who the New 2DS would be perfect for and, speaking from experience, I have to agree with him. In my case, I have a standard 3DS. I'm bummed about the extra features and games I can't enjoy on the New 3DS, though I would prefer to not deal with the extra size of the XL models. Also, I have barely used the 3D functionality of my current console. I've been toying with getting a New 3DS and have never quite taken the plunge. This New 2DS XL might just get me to buy yet another Nintendo console. It's got all of the added functionality and gaming I wanted, drops the 3D and the console looks real slick, too. The only thing that would make it more perfect for me would be a smaller size, but I doubt they'll be bringing that out anytime soon.
Then again, this is Nintendo we're talking about, so it's probably set to launch three weeks after the New 2DS XL.