Nintendo unveils new '2DS' and cuts Wii U prices

nintendo 2ds
By unveiling the 2DS and cutting Wii prices, Nintendo is shaking things up ahead of a looming holiday battle with Sony and Microsoft

Nintendo on Wednesday slashed the price of the struggling Wii U and unveiled the new '2DS' portable game console -- one of Nintendo's strangest releases yet.

As the name implies, the Nintendo (NTDOF) 2DS strips out the novel, but not quite essential 3-D display technology that its older sibling possesses. Perhaps even more interestingly, it doesn't fold like all other DS consoles. Instead, it's a wedge-shaped slate.

The analog stick and buttons have been moved closer to the upper screen, but otherwise the functionality is identical to the Nintendo 3DS. Same guts, same screen size, same game compatibility.

Nintendo has a long history of selling slightly altered variants of its portable consoles. There was the Game Boy, the Game Boy Color, the Game Boy Advance and the DS. But the 2DS is the first to remove functionality.

Nintendo keeps betting on Wii U
Nintendo keeps betting on Wii U

The 2DS does come with a price cut, however. While the current 3DS costs $170, the new 2DS will only cost $130. It's arguable that a $100 price tag would have made the introduction of the 2DS a bit more impactful, but $40 is nothing to scoff at either way.

Related story: Microsoft reverses course on controversial Xbox One restrictions

The Wii U Deluxe set was also a recipient of a $50 markdown, going from $350 to $300. The Wii U Basic, which offered less storage space and did not include a premium Nintendo Network subscription, has not been available via retail channels since June and Nintendo has yet to comment on the matter.

The price cut should come as little surprise, given the imminent arrival of the $400 Sony (SNE) PlayStation 4 and $500 Microsoft (MSFT) Xbox One. Those new consoles will be considerably more powerful, and in the wake of the Wii U's anemic sales this year, Nintendo had to justify its value against the competition.

The Wii U price cut will take effect on September 20, and the Nintendo 2DS will arrive on October 12.

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