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  1. #1
    Merely a Setback Jtbrig7390's Avatar
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    Is the New 2DS XL Nintendo's last dedicated handheld?

    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/20...cated-handheld

    It came and went with little fanfare. This Friday just gone, Nintendo released the New 2DS XL, a console that - barring any major surprises - will mark the end of an era you can trace back via some noted milestones to 1982, and to some of the Kyoto outfit's very first dalliances with video games. It could mark the end of several eras, in fact.

    Nintendo's DS line has always been a fascinating mongrel that tossed together a handful of the company's various bloodlines, along with some of that lateral thinking that has often exemplified the company at its best. You can see the handheld heritage of the original 1989 Game Boy - a true phenomenon in its own time, yet still a console that was outsold comfortably by the DS itself - as well as that delightful and slightly inexplicable nod towards the multi-screen Game & Watch units popularised by 1982's Donkey Kong.

    I've always loved how the DS wore Nintendo's history on its sleeve, though the machine's success came perhaps despite its curious set-up rather than because of it. When the machine was first revealed in 2004 it was universally mocked, and those astronomical sales would be some time coming.

    It's fascinating to mull over what might have become of Nintendo's handheld line if it had stuck with the single-screen set-up it was pursuing in the wake of the Game Boy Advance, before the order came from up high that the new unit was to have two screens - a call made by Hiroshi Yamauchi that was apparently met with some disdain within Nintendo (and no doubt from outside as well - I've heard of developers working on the prototype known as Iris only being told at the 11th hour that the table was about to be well and truly flipped).

    The DS was what Yamauchi wanted, though, and the DS was what we got. It was a novel creation, following the somewhat conservative Game Boy Advance, and the foundation for a new mass market era. Think back to the best DS games and there's a wealth of hard-edged cult classics - Bangai-O Spirits, The World Ends With You or Elite Beat Agents - but the most important titles were undoubtedly the ones that got the machine into the hands of generations both young and old that were new to games: Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training, Nintendogs or Professor Layton. With its touch-screen and eyes for a wider market, the DS ended up paving the way not just for the success of the Wii but the wider world of iOS gaming.
    And mobile gaming would eventually do for it, too. The DS' successor, the 3DS, was far from a failure, but it nevertheless would end up playing second fiddle to smartphones for many. All of which perhaps shaped it into the fine machine it became, a dedicated gaming device that played host to a more serious breed of game, and one whose back catalogue is a parade of modern classics such as Fire Emblem Awakening, Kid Icarus Uprising or Monster Hunter 4. It's the success of the latter series which largely contributed to the enduring appeal of the 3DS in Japan, and the phenomenon that is Pokémon that's given it a stay of execution with this November's release of Ultra Sun and Moon.

    Those games will help the 3DS go out in style, and while I don't think Nintendo's about to turn its back entirely on the machine's 67-million-strong audience, I don't think the future stretches out too much further, either. A dedicated handheld device just doesn't make any sense in this day and age, especially coming from a Japan in which mobile games dominate and even more dedicated players are comfortable playing something on their handset on their daily commute. This climate is hardly new - it's been over a decade since the iPhone came along and changed everything, after all - and Nintendo has, if anything, been slow to make the shift that was necessary for it to stay relevant.

    Yet adapt it has, and rather well, too. Super Mario Run might have been a low-key debut when it comes to mobile gaming, but Fire Emblem Heroes - despite doubtless being the poorer game - has made a more lasting impact, while the success of the Switch seems to have taken even Nintendo by surprise, if those scant stock numbers are anything to go by. There's a decent balancing act there, in which Nintendo has managed to carve out its own space in the console market while slowly getting comfortable on mobile.

    There has to be a casualty somewhere along the line, though, and I suspect that has to be the company's line of dedicated handheld hardware. Despite Nintendo's assertion that there is a future for its dedicated handhelds - let's not forget that similar overtures were made about the Game Boy line as the DS was introduced - there surely isn't the bandwidth to do anything more than quietly retire it all. You can tell from the relative lack of fanfare around the New 2DS XL's release that this is no longer at the frontline for Nintendo anymore.


    The New 2DS XL is a fine machine, but it's not quite the top of the line. For my money, that prize goes to the New 3DS, which has sadly been discontinued.
    Or, more accurately, you can tell how the dedicated handheld line has transitioned to a new audience. Hold the New 2DS XL in your hands, with its soft-to-the-touch curves and ridged case, and you can sense that this thing is explicitly, brilliantly, a toy. Nintendo's handhelds have never really hidden that side of their nature (Iwata once famously asserted to his engineers that the DS should be able to survive the fall from a child's bike basket) but there was a time when they also aimed for a certain respectability - think of the Apple-aping sleekness of the DSi, for example. This one, however, simply begs to be tossed across a messy living room floor.

    There's no finer present for a younger player, really, especially given how the 2DS XL opens up an enviable back catalogue that stretches all the way back to the DS' original launch in 2004 (and if you're buying one for a friend or relative, be sure to bundle in Yoshi Touch & Go while you're at it - you can thank me later). The DS line has been home to a steady string of classics and curios, the hardware's set-up making sure they're all infused with a little eccentricity too. Who can forget stamping a book by shutting the clamshell in Zelda Spirit Tracks, or the brilliant graphic novel presentation of Hotel Dusk?

    Part of me worries that, given the Switch's promise of home console games on the go, we'll lose some of that eccentricity as the DS bows out. The launch line-up for the New 2DS XL captured the traits of handheld gaming in a microcosm - the long overdue western release of Devilish Brain Training was a reminder of the DS' peak years, while Miitopia offers a sharp shot of the zaniness that's possible when Nintendo's working on a smaller canvas. Looking to the further reaches of my own library, meanwhile, there are treasures such as Kokuga, Attack of the Friday Monsters and Pocket Card Jockey. Do such games have a future anymore?

    I'm not entirely sure, so I'm going to carry on cherishing them while I can. The Switch has shown that Nintendo's found the perfect middle ground between home and handheld and I've had one constantly by my side since it came out in March. But wherever I go, I always make sure there's room in my bag for that other handheld whose like we may well never see again.
    IMO this is a good read and to be honest I think the New 2DS XL is the final dedicated handheld. The Switch so far has been a home run and Nintendo has dipped there toe in the smartphone market.

    Time will tell I guess.
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  2. #2
    I think it's pretty obvious that it will be. Hybrid-style consoles like the Switch will be the future for Nintendo - it makes perfect sense and fits well with the type of games they have on their consoles. Though I would expect to see a cheaper, smaller, and more portable handheld-only version of the Switch at some point - that would fill the gap for the people who only buy true Nintendo handhelds... though, the name Switch wouldn't make much sense then I suppose.

  3. #3
    I doubt it will be tbh. Considering how well the 3DS sold.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by RelaZ View Post
    I doubt it will be tbh. Considering how well the 3DS sold.
    here we go again

    the 3ds will die

    there is no point in having both the switch and the 3ds. The only reason they didn't cut the 3ds to begin with when the switch was released was because nintendo had no confidence in the switch. If the switch flopped and they put all their eggs in one basket they would be screwed. Hence why the 3ds is still being supported so if the switch failed they would have something to fall back on.

    But not that the switch is a success - after the current 3ds support cycle is gone everything will be headed to the switch.

    This is years down the line though, the 3ds probably has 2-3 more years on it because of the games coming out and being developed for it.
    Pokemon FC: 4425-2708-3610

    I received a day one ORAS demo code. I am a chosen one.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by zito View Post
    here we go again

    the 3ds will die

    there is no point in having both the switch and the 3ds. The only reason they didn't cut the 3ds to begin with when the switch was released was because nintendo had no confidence in the switch. If the switch flopped and they put all their eggs in one basket they would be screwed. Hence why the 3ds is still being supported so if the switch failed they would have something to fall back on.

    But not that the switch is a success - after the current 3ds support cycle is gone everything will be headed to the switch.

    This is years down the line though, the 3ds probably has 2-3 more years on it because of the games coming out and being developed for it.
    Yeah but eventually something will replace the Switch. And I guess we'll see what that will be, depending on the success of the Switch (over time).

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by RelaZ View Post
    Yeah but eventually something will replace the Switch. And I guess we'll see what that will be, depending on the success of the Switch (over time).
    yea the "new" nintendo switch

    the only thing that will replace the switch are better versions of the switch
    Pokemon FC: 4425-2708-3610

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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by zito View Post
    yea the "new" nintendo switch

    the only thing that will replace the switch are better versions of the switch
    Sure. Nice logic.

    Good to see you're a master debater.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by RelaZ View Post
    Sure. Nice logic.

    Good to see you're a master debater.
    Besides VR there isn't anything that would replace the switch. They literally merged handhelds and home console together. Pay attention
    Pokemon FC: 4425-2708-3610

    I received a day one ORAS demo code. I am a chosen one.

  9. #9
    Probably not. There will be a budget handheld only Switch down the line to replace the 2DS line as the cheap entry into the Nintendo library.

  10. #10
    Honestly this is something kinda expected with the Switch announcement. Nintendo has never been on part with Sony and Microsoft in the console battles, but dominates the handheld part of the market.

    3DS family has the biggest issue of having not enough horsepower to even compete with mobile games in certain cases. Sad to say this, but graphics matter in a market where everyone is pushing for the best visual quality every single time.

    The Switch represents the shift in design. With different hardware come way better performance (compared to 3DS) and you still have the option to dock it to a TV for couch play. Even if they market it as a console, it's pretty clear that the Switch is an handheld with the possibility to use it as a console.

    I'm more than fine with this. Nintendo has good games, and while some Switch design decisions are basically insane (wtf about the paid online and crappily design vocal chat system) they're taking steps towards a new road.


  11. #11
    I am Murloc! Video Games's Avatar
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    I really hope not. I don't like the switch for portability at all. It's too big.

  12. #12
    Probably. With Iwata gone we have seen nothing but shifts to different ideals that isn't going to stop anytime soon. They are less and less seeing themselves as 'a company that makes toys' and more a low tier apple where you buy the brand. I think we are going to see a Switch revision at the time they admit the 3DS is gone and then that will be that. It plugs in your tv, it goes on the move. The only barrier right now is making the replacing for the Switch smaller. The DS archetype had an amazing run in both years and sales but like the Gameboy its not going to last forever.

    Look at it this way: The next mainline Pokemon game and the next monster hunter port are coming to the Switch not the 3DS. I think after Ultra Sun and Moon Nintendo is done with the system.

    -plus lets be honest, the Vita is dead much as i wish otherwise. Why waste time and money making ANOTHER console to divide your userbase when you can just have a unified hardware every one of your consumer uses with no competition on the 'take it round a friends in your bag' market anymore? With the 3DS gone and Vita dead Switch has no competition at all. So why make anything else when you are the only option for the consumer already?
    http://theeorzeanfrontier.blogspot.co.uk/ Neckbeard rambling about this weeaboo trash

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by dope_danny View Post

    Look at it this way: The next mainline Pokemon game and the next monster hunter port are coming to the Switch not the 3DS. I think after Ultra Sun and Moon Nintendo is done with the system.
    The MH game the Switch is getting came out on the 3DS in March of this year.

    MH is headed in a new direction chasing the west on PC/PS4/XB1 anyways. I doubt capcom gives a rats ass unless they fall on their face(which they won't the PS4 and PC sales anyways are going to be crazy)

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by zito View Post
    Besides VR there isn't anything that would replace the switch. They literally merged handhelds and home console together. Pay attention
    Except regular handhelds which have sold very well in the past.

    Just because you don't think it could replace it doesn't mean it won't.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by RelaZ View Post
    Except regular handhelds which have sold very well in the past.

    Just because you don't think it could replace it doesn't mean it won't.
    this is the new regular handheld, can you not comprehend?
    Pokemon FC: 4425-2708-3610

    I received a day one ORAS demo code. I am a chosen one.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by zito View Post
    yea the "new" nintendo switch

    the only thing that will replace the switch are better versions of the switch
    With the only improvements being mild at best cpu/gpu arch requiring less power, generating slightly, offering more performance, less heat, but not large enough increases to matter unless there isn't a new version of the Switch for 6+ years.

    We hit a threshold a while ago, we can hope for things like a larger screen, but it would have to be within whatever Nintendo's ratio is for graphics fidelity/features vs battery life.

    What's really needed is a revolution in battery tech and one that makes it to a consumer level. Even the 3DS' GPU was downclocked by 50% due to power consumption. Although, that also could have been done so they hit their performance target with less heat as the gpu wasn't stressed as much.

    Give me a Switch with the ability to be very loud via speakers, headphones, and with a larger screen and I'd be quite happy.
    Last edited by MrPaladinGuy; 2017-08-02 at 05:20 PM.

  17. #17
    Warchief Akande Ogundimu's Avatar
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    I do wonder when they'll start building the 2nd version of the Switch (much like how Xbox 1 and Xbox 1S works)
    I would love for bigger internal storage.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Akande Ogundimu View Post
    I do wonder when they'll start building the 2nd version of the Switch (much like how Xbox 1 and Xbox 1S works)
    I would love for bigger internal storage.
    More internal storage? Don't get your hopes up, one of the major issues with Switch stock is Nintendo bargain hunting and refusing to pay the same prices for flash memory as Apple/Samsung/Amazon/whoeverthefuckelse will.

  19. #19
    Warchief Akande Ogundimu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech614 View Post
    More internal storage? Don't get your hopes up, one of the major issues with Switch stock is Nintendo bargain hunting and refusing to pay the same prices for flash memory as Apple/Samsung/Amazon/whoeverthefuckelse will.
    Man, Nintendo's leadership needs to be replaced in that case.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by zito View Post
    this is the new regular handheld, can you not comprehend?
    It's a weird hybrid, not a "regular handheld".

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