Nintendo surprised the world last week when they announced a new entry in the Nintendo 3DS family of systems: New Nintendo 2DS XL. Retaining the clamshell design of the Nintendo 3DS and its many variants, the New Nintendo 2DS XL scraps the 3DS' stereoscopic display to provide a cheaper alternative to the New Nintendo 3DS XL.
Though Nintendo already provides the original Nintendo 2DS for $79.99, just over half the price of the newly-introduced New Nintendo 2DS XL, Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime told TIME that the original 2DS is designed as an entry-level gaming system for young children, whereas the New 2DS XL is intended for older gamers on a budget.
"There is a visual impact difference between these different items, and we believe in our market by having these three different variants. The Nintendo 2DS really focused on that entry level gamer, the four-, five-, six-year old that is just getting into gaming, but wants to play Mario Kart, wants to have a Super Mario Bros. experience, wants to play Pokémon. And we feel with Nintendo 3DS XL at $199 that it's a fully-featured product, that it is, if you will, the Cadillac of handheld gaming. And then we heard from consumers, 'Boy, I wish there was something in between.'" — Reggie Fils-Aime
Though the timing may seem odd, as Nintendo recently launched their latest home console, Nintendo Switch, for gaming both at-home and on-the-go, Reggie explains that Nintendo 3DS hardware sales have actually increased 13% in the Americas year-over-year from 2015. That said, he doesn't expect the device to face the same kind of hardware shortages that plagued the NES Classic Edition. As he explains to The Verge:
"We make estimates on what consumer demand is, and if the demand dramatically exceeds what we plan, it creates some tightness in the marketplace. We think we've estimated for New Nintendo 2DS XL pretty well, and we're confident that the consumer who wants to buy it on July 28th is going to be able to do that. We get it right more times than we get it wrong. But sometimes we get it wrong." — Reggie Fils-Aime
Reggie also stated, however, that the Nintendo 2DS only accounts for 11% of the total sales volume for Nintendo 3DS systems.
"If you look life-to-date at the overall performance of the platform, almost 90% of the unit sales have been with 3D visual capability. So maybe said a different way, 2DS to date has represented only 11% of the total volume base. What that tells me is that for the vast majority of consumers, 3D is an important feature." — Reggie Fils-Aime