In a rather surprising move, Nintendo has recently announced the launch of a new handheld console, slated for an October release in both North America and Europe. The new 2DS is an entry-level console which will support all DS and 3DS games but will not feature 3D capabilities.

Featuring a slate-like design, unlike the DS and 3DS, the Nintendo 2DS handheld is seen by gaming analysts as a budget version of the successful 3DS, aimed mainly at compensating for the Wii U failure.

Nintendo Launches 2DS Handheld for $130

The 2DS will be officially launched on October 12 and will be sold for $129.99 in North America. It will be released in Europe/UK and Australia/New Zealand on the same day. Nintendo’s new console will be available in red and blue and will retail alongside the regular 3DS console (which costs $170) and the special 3DS XL ($200).

According to the Japanese gaming giant, the new handheld will be fully compatible with titles currently run on DS and 3DS. It will also sport all the 3DS features, such as local multiplayer, WiFi and others, but it will not be able to display games in 3D.

The entry-level 2DS console will also include two cameras on the back that will allow users to run AR games and to take 3D photos, which can then be transferred to 3DS to be viewed in full 3D. The gaming system will also include an SD card of 4GB and mono sound via one speaker, but will feature stereo audio through the headphone jack.

Nintendo America President Reggie Fils-Aime explained that the 2DS was designed for the younger consumers of 5 or 6 years of age, while the 3DS is designed for players aged seven and over seven. Its lower price tag is also aimed at making the device more accessible to a larger pool of users.

Analysts said the move is surprising, as they expected a more advanced 3DS version instead of a budget console. However, it makes sense in the context of Nintendo’s Wii U woes, as it will most likely strengthen the company’s profits.

The Japanese gaming company has announced a price cut to the Wii U, which has only sold a disappointing 3.6 million units worldwide since it launched in 2012. Given the arrival of Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One, Nintendo wanted to give an extra push to its console and will sell the deluxe version of the Wii U for $300 instead of $350, as of September 20.

What do you think of Nintendo’s move? Will the cheaper, entry-level 2DS console help the company make a profit more than its other gaming systems?

[Image via wired]