While most of the Nintendo buzz lately has been focused on the portable/home console hybrid, the Switch, a surprise announcement today shows the company hasn't completely dropped its other portable gaming line. The New Nintendo 2DS XL sports a larger screen and better processor than the existing 2DS, brings back the clamshell design and adds an extra thumbstick and built-in Amiibo functionality.
The current 3DS family can be a bit hard to keep straight: there's the classic unit, the bigger XL model, the more kid-focused 2DS, the upgraded New Nintendo 3DS and then the XL version of that. The newly announced addition slots in as a cross between the 2DS and the New Nintendo 3DS XL.
That means the New 2DS XL sports the same size screen as the New 3DS XL, measuring 4.9 in (12.4 cm), and has the same increased processing power. Also making a return is the C-stick, the additional mini-thumbstick added to the righthand side of the "New" line – although only a tiny handful of games ever made use of it. Built-in NFC support is a more useful addition though, allowing players to tap their Amiibo figures and cards to the device.
Gone is the solid slab form factor of the original 2DS, in favor of the tried-and-true clamshell design of the 3DS line, and the original DS before it. For now, the device will only be available in the US in a black and turquoise color scheme, but other regions appear set to get an orange and white version too. Knowing Nintendo's tendency to constantly release new designs, more color options are likely to follow in the future.
As its name suggests, the main difference between the New 2DS XL and the New 3DS XL is the fact that the games will display in 2D only. It might seem odd to strip away a key selling point of the 3DS line, but Nintendo originally said that there were potential concerns that the 3D function could affect the visual development of younger kids, and designed the 2DS as a more child-friendly alternative. This new version continues that trend, alongside a lower price.
The New Nintendo 2DS XL is due to launch in North America on July 28, and will cost US$149.99. Check out the device in the trailer below.