Video game fans got a heads up on a new entry-level portable gaming system from Nintendo, which also plans to drop the price of its Wii U Deluxe Set. Will these moves help spur hardware sales during the holiday shopping season?
First up, the company took the lid off the Nintendo 2D. As its name suggests, the device plays all Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS games in 2D. The new device launches Oct. 12, the same day as Pokémon X and Pokémon Y game titles. The Nintendo 2DS will come in red and blue and retail for $129.99.
According to Nintendo, the handheld features a slate-type form factor. Otherwise, the new model offers many of the same hardware features as Nintendo 3DS: dual screens, game-play controls and touch-screen features. The system also has backward compatibility with the existing library of more than 2,000 Nintendo DS games, as well as access to wireless connectivity features like multiplayer online game play.
Seeking New Opportunities
We asked Billy Pidgeon, a video games analyst in New York, for his take on the new gaming device. He told us Nintendo has been doing well in the portable sector, so it makes sense to take steps to broaden the opportunity.
"The Wii 2 is an interesting tablet style device and it's 2D, "Pidgeon said. "Some people don't really appreciate or use the 3D aspect of the 3DS. Also, having a cheaper model available opens the door to more sales in the U.S. and overseas, where extra tariffs drive up the prices a little bit higher."
Meanwhile, Nintendo is dropping the price of Wii U Deluxe Set by $50. Beginning Sept. 20, it will be available at $299.99. At that time, the company will also offer a limited-edition Wii U bundle featuring The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Games for the new system will include also Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101, EarthBound, New Super Luigi U, Super Mario 3D World and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
The bundle includes a black Deluxe Wii U console; a GamePad controller; a gold Hyrule crest and gold symbols from the game; a download code for the digital version of Hyrule Historia; a book that details the chronology, history and artwork of The Legend of Zelda series; and a code that can be used to immediately download The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD from the Nintendo eShop at no additional cost.
Watching the Holidays
"Lowering the price on the Wii will be helpful in tandem with the new games coming out; I expect it will improve hardware sales," said Pidgeon. Like all video game analysts, he's watching the fourth quarter to see if Microsoft will lower the price on the Xbox 360 and how the seventh generation and eighth generation consoles sell.
"I expect the new consoles will sell out but I don't expect to see supply very robust at launch. I think next year we'll see a new generation of consoles sell more slowly," Pidgeon said. "With the upgrade cycle, people don't feel it's as necessary as the previous upgrade cycle."