I know I just talked about video games, but please allow me to rant about the stupidity of Nintendo’s latest console move. It does actually have something to do with frugality, I promise.
For those of you who haven’t heard, Nintendo is coming out with a new gaming system: the 2DS. That’s a joke, I guess, on the other model’s name of 3DS. So essentially, they’re denigrating their other device and yet still reminding customers that the newer one is inferior. Yeah, that’s a solid marketing plan.
The newer console is made for entry level gamers. In other words, they’re trying to get parents to buy consoles for even younger kids.
But, when you’re aiming at younger kids, shouldn’t you maybe make your console even more secure? The 2DS doesn’t fold the way current models do, so their screens are unprotected. Apparently, kids are sometimes too rough and break the hinges. But then what hope does an exposed screen have?
The 2DS is $40 cheaper. That’s nothing to sniff at. But if you’re going to invest in a new console, you should make sure it’s going to last. Saving $40 is not worth my peace of mind every time the kid throws the system in his backpack. And those savings probably won’t pay for many replacement screens. And it’s definitely not worth a “portable” system that no longer fits in your pocket.
I rant about this because a) Nintendo is making a series of increasingly stupid decisions and b) it’s a worrisome trend in this new economy: faux frugality.
Companies have long been manufacturing needs. That’s a necessity to survive. But especially since the market bottomed out, they’ve focused on getting us to spend money, while still feeling frugal. They offer a nice product that a lot of people can’t afford or wouldn’t buy for other reasons. Then they offer a different version, with fewer desirable qualities, for a price that’s still considerable. But we see the price drop and feel like smart shoppers.
Pay $499 for an iPad? No way! But $329 while sacrificing screen size and resolution — what adult’s eyes would mind that? — and processor speed? Sign me up! Unless you actively wanted a smaller tablet, you’re not saving $170. You’re costing yourself $329.
And as for younger gamers… If they can’t take care of an item, you probably shouldn’t chunk down money on it. If you’re afraid that your kid would break a $160 system, the answer isn’t getting a $120 one. Just don’t get him one. Or, at best, check out yard sales, Craigslist and GameStop for an older (and probably more durable) model.
What other faux-frugal examples have you seen? If you play games, what do you think of the 2DS? And just how young should kids start gaming anyway?