Nintendo drops Wii U price, releases new ‘2DS’ handheld

Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported that the Wii U has two touchscreens. It has one touchscreen, and the story has been corrected.


A Super Mario figure greets visitors as children play at Nintendo showroom in Tokyo, Wednesday, July 31, 2013. Nintendo reported Wednesday an 8.6 billion yen ($88 million) profit for the fiscal first quarter in a reversal from losses the previous year, thanks to a cheaper yen. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi) (Shizuo Kambayashi/AP)
August 28, 2013

Prepping itself for a competitive holiday season, Nintendo announced Wednesday that it will drop the price of its higher-end Wii U console and release a new handheld gaming device aimed at younger, or more casual, gamers.

The 2DS will play games designed for the Nintendo’s DS line as well as its three-dimensional handheld, the 3DS — albeit without the extra depth. The $129.99 device will come in red or blue, and is slated for an Oct. 12 launch.

Similar to the DS and 3DS, the device has two screens, one of which is a touchscreen, and a control layout similar to Nintendo’s existing products. Unlike its predecessors, however, the 2DS does not fold in the middle. Nintendo has not provided measurements for the new WiFi-enabled device, which is still pending approval from the Federal Communications Commission. A commercial for the 2DS, however, seems to show that it’s about the same size as a 3DS or DS-line handheld when unfolded.

The same commercial, posted to YouTube, also seems to indicate that the handheld is aimed more at children than adults looking for a portable gaming option, though 2DS players can use the handheld’s WiFi capability to play games with 3DS or DS owners.

Nintendo also cut the price of its Wii U. The higher-end model of the Wii U got a $50 price cut, taking the console to $299.99 from $349.99. Plus, Nintendo will also throw in a copy of one of Nintendo’s most anticipated titles headed into the holidays, “The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD.”

The lower price, which takes effect on Sept. 20, takes the Wii U even lower under its nearest price competitor for the holiday season, the $399 Playstation 4. That’s a move the company undoubtedly hopes will convince gamers to pick up its latest console instead of, or in addition to, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One when they hit store shelves in November.

There is no word as to whether Nintendo will also drop the price of its basic Wii U console, which already costs $299.99.

Nintendo’s latest launch has been a bit of a struggle for the storied game company. The console followed Nintendo’s popular but fading 2006 Wii to market last September, and has not caught on as quickly. Nintendo reported last month that it was making a loss on the Wii U after nearly a year on the market, which belied suspicions that the company would lower the Wii U’s price to boost sales.

By way of comparison, Nintendo didn’t drop the price of the Wii until nearly three years after its launch.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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