The future for Nintendo is the Switch, or is it? The Japanese company beat its own sales goal for the first month, they've increased production, and are now predicting 13 million units shipped by the end of the next financial year. It all looks positive, meaning there's really no future for the 3DS, right?
Well, long term that may be the case, but short term Nintendo wants to continue making a profit from its handheld and associated game sales. So today, we got a 2DS XL announcement, or 2DS LL if you're in Japan.
Nintendo isn't shy about launching new iterations of existing hardware and tweaking the naming ever so slightly. We've had five models of the 3DS so far, including the original 3DS, then the 3DS XL with larger screens, then the 2DS, which dropped the clamshell design and 3D feature, and most recently we got the New 3DS and New 3DS XL, which added the C-Stick, ZL/ZR buttons, and extra performance required for a handful of more recent titles.
The 2DS XL therefore counts as the sixth iteration of the hardware, and it basically merges the 2DS and New 3DS XL. What we get is a device with the same size screens as the 3DS XL, but without the face-tracking 3D output. There's also a C-Stick and ZL/ZR buttons making the 2DS XL compatible with all games, and Amiibo support through a built-in NFC reader.
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The Nintendo comparison page shows that, although the 2DS XL includes the same displays as the New 3DS XL, it's actually slightly smaller, measuring 6.4-by-6.3-by-0.8 inches. The New 3DS XL is taller, at 6.78 inches. Nintendo also managed to make the 2DS XL weigh the same as the 2DS at 9.2 ounces. The New 3DS XL weighs 11.6 ounces. There's no mention of battery life, but it should at least match the New 3DS XL considering there's no power-hungry 3D output available.
Unless you really enjoy the 3D feature of the 3DS, the 2DS XL looks like the best option going forward. It will launch in the US on July 28 for $149.99 and will only be available in black/turquoise color (Japan gets a white/orange color option). The New 3DS XL costs an extra $50 at $199.99. Another reason to select the 2DS XL? It ships with an AC adapter in the box (New 3DS XL doesn't) and a 4GB SD card.