On the official website for the Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market—the European Union agency responsible for managing Community trademarks and registered Community design—some interesting design registration filings by Nintendo were found.
A series of five filings (submitted on August 23rd, 2013) for Nintendo’s recently-released 2DS were noticed by NeoGAF member Disorientator, three of which were registrations for the system’s current design with a short list of slight differences.
Two of them, however, are quite different. The first filing shown below has many of the features of the final 2DS, but both screens are smaller than their final incarnations.
It’s the other filing, however, where things really get interesting. In that example, the 2DS only has one screen: the touchscreen.
Obviously, going with only one screen would have brought up a whole list of issues in terms of maintaining compatibility with current 3DS software. Nevermind not being about to see the 3D effect of your games on the 2DS—you wouldn’t be able to see your games period.
So, what could this design have been for? Maybe the 2DS started life as a completely different product. What if it was a 3DS “adapter” of sorts for the Wii U? Connected to the console, the TV could be the main screen for 3DS games, while this device would provide the controls and touchscreen elements?
Of course, you could do that with a Wii U controller, but blowing the 3DS’ touchscreen up that big could no doubt cause problems with touch accuracy or compatibility. (Plus, you’d need digital versions of your 3DS games, and a Wii U 3DS emulator versus running the games through this makeshift controller.) Or, maybe the initial use of the 2DS was as additional add-on controllers for the Wii U, to provide a cheaper way for multiple players to have a touchscreen of some sort.
Then there’s a theory brought up over on NeoGAF: the design of the single screen model was simply registered to help potential fights against knock-off systems. There’s countless clone devices out there made to look like our favorite electronics, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see a company somewhere take the 2DS design, slap a small solo screen into it, and call it a day.