Nintendo 2DS can play all 3DS games now and in the future, and it's compatible with more than 2,000 games in the DS library.
That's perfect for the younger demographic Nintendo is targeting, but it's also going to be a bit challenging for games in which 3DS is a function of the gameplay and not just a graphical selling point.
Super Mario Bros 3D Land, for example, has "3D visuals [that] make it easier for players to judge the depths and distances in their environments," according to Nintendo's official marketing bullet points.
"Players can more accurately judge the jump to the next platform or how far Mario is from a question block."
All of a sudden, gamers are going to have a little more trouble (and a lot more untimely deaths) when playing one of the system's best platforming games.
Effect on developers
Existing Nintendo 3DS owners may think that the 2DS doesn't matter, especially if they just bought a brand new 3DS XL.
However, they may start seeing fewer groundbreaking 3D games on their still-3D console due to the fact that the third dimension will matter even less to developers after Oct. 12.
After all, why go the extra mile for 3DS effects when a growing part of the post-DS hardware lineup can't even enjoy the ill-fated technology anyway.
Nintendo 3DS vs Nintendo 2DS
The surprise announcement of the Nintendo 2DS might leave you wondering which to buy if you're in need of a new handheld.
Nintendo 3DS has stereoscopic 3D graphics, but despite being a fun tech demo, the novelty wears off quickly. Likewise, developers may be less inclined to push 3D in future games now.
The 2DS is cheaper and shifts the Circle Pad and face buttons closer to the top screen action. But it's bizarre non-clamshell design makes it less pocketable and it still doesn't have a Circle Pad Pro accessory available.
This is not the 4DS console we're waiting for. Meet the new generation - different, but no better than the old one.