If you haven't heard, Nintendo has announced the latest addition to its handheld family, the 2DS.

Many people are wondering what this means for the 3D feature incorporated into the 3DS and 3DS XL and Nintendo has been quick to point out it is still very much a part of its future plans.

In an interview with Games Industry International, Nintendo's executive vice president of sales and marketing Scott Moffitt said the introduction of a 2DS is certainly not an admission that 3D was not a big deal to begin with, and pointed to the healthy install base the system currently has.

Clearly our development efforts all include 3D games. Our installed base, we have eight million units installed. If 3D wasn't selling and wasn't part of our future, we wouldn't be seeing and enjoying the robust sales we have on 3DS right now. I think you know that the 3DS is the number one gaming platform on the market. We're having a very good year with 3DS. Our games continue to sell extremely well ... This is really all about addressing that next opportunity in the US market.

Of course, there are many games for 3DS that utilise the 3D feature brilliantly, with the likes of Super Mario 3D Land and the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Nintendo plans to carry on developing software such as this for the 3DS. Of course, it will all be playable on the 2DS, it just won't be in 3D.

There's a lot of great 3D experiences that gamers have come to love. We don't want to walk away from that at all.

Moffitt said this move is all about targeting a new market rather than replacing the current models. Nintendo currently feels there is a barrier to entry for some consumers and the 2DS breaks down a few walls with its imminent release. He made reference to DS owners who haven't yet upgraded to the 3DS because of price and because they still enjoy playing their old DS games. Then there are the young children just entering the video game market who need a more affordable and sturdy console.

Now we're much closer to $100, which makes it much more affordable for them. I think that was probably the audience we expected or intended to design the unit for.

Removing the 3D element allows Nintendo to manufacture the system at a lower cost, meaning the saving can be passed on to the consumer. Moffitt revealed a 3DS with a price point lower than $129 is looking increasingly unlikely and the 2DS offers a solution to this problem.

It's less about wanting to have 3D in and it's more about trying to get to the value price point that's going to allow us to open up that next part of the market.

Another aspect gamers are concerned about is the size of the 2DS and its inability to close. However, Moffitt believes it is still portable, though children do not carry their system in their pockets as much as they used to, hence why a carry case is being added as an optional extra.

I think portability is still a factor. My point is just that I don't think kids fold it and put it in their pocket very often. This shouldn't be any less portable than a base 3DS or a DS today. But portability is clearly important.

With the new addition, gamers may be tempted to pick up a 2DS to play 2D games, such as the ones found on the Virtual Console; however, as purchases are connected to a console and not an account this could prove frustratingly difficult. Moffitt said Nintendo is working on fixing this problem, as it has shown with the Nintendo Network ID on Wii U, but has not devised a solution for the handheld yet.

Meanwhile, President of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aime has been speaking to IGN, where he said the 2DS will be great for those aged between five and seven who are looking for their first handheld gaming device.

We’re always thinking about what we can do that’s new, unique, different, and brings more people into this category that we love. And so with the Nintendo 3DS, we were clear to parents that, "hey, we recommend that your children be seven and older to utilize this device." So clearly that creates an opportunity for five-year-olds, six-year-olds, that first-time handheld gaming consumer.

You can read the full interview with Scott Moffitt over at Games Industry International.

What are your thoughts on the Nintendo 2DS? Let us know in the comment section below.

[source gamesindustry.biz, via uk.ign.com]