Releasing Cool New Games On 3DS Is Such A Waste

You have probably been here before. A Japanese company announces an exciting new game. The concept sounds great, the trailer has you hyped, and everything seems perfect... until you see those three words that you’ve grown to loathe in 2018. “Only for 3DS.”

Only July 28, Nintendo released a new WarioWare, the first in nearly 10 years. This would be more exciting for hardcore Nintendo fans if it weren’t exclusive to the 3DS.

Then, over the weekend, Atlus re-revealed Persona Q2, a sequel to 2014's excellent Persona Q, which blended the charm and style of Persona with the mapmaking and dungeon-crawling of Etrian Odyssey. Exciting news — until we learned that in true Atlus style, Persona Q2 is 3DS and nothing but the 3DS.

Add upcoming remakes of Luigi’s Mansion and Bowser’s Inside Story and you might be fooled into thinking that the 3DS is a modern, thriving system.

But the 3DS is not a modern, thriving system. It’s seven years old, and while it’s been a great little portable console, it was usurped last year by an even better one.

Nintendo’s red-hot Switch is a better piece of hardware than the 3DS in many ways. The screen is larger. It feels sleeker and more refined. There’s no finicky clamshell or crevasses full of dust, and there’s no need to worry whether you have the 2DS or New 3DS or New Mega-3DS Plus — it’s just a Switch.

That’s not to mention the bulging library, which is already full of incredible platformers and adventures and Metroidvanias thanks to the widespread indie and AAA support.

The Switch has momentum the likes of which we haven’t seen for a Nintendo system since the Wii in 2006. It is fun to use and great to keep in one’s stable of regular gaming consoles. If you’re travelling somewhere, you’re probably going to take the Switch.

Granted, Nintendo believes that the Switch and 3DS can co-exist, not only because the company inexplicably sees the Switch as a “home” console (I haven’t docked mine since the '80s) but because the 3DS is cheaper and parents are more likely to buy multiple systems per household.

Here’s former Nintendo boss Tatsumi Kimishima, speaking to investors:

Given that Nintendo Switch is a home gaming system that can be taken on the go, this situation may change if it grows from being a one-per-household system to a one-per-person system. But the price of Nintendo Switch is not something with which most parents would buy a system for every one of their children in a short period of time.

Moving forward, we will work to ascertain what kinds of play people want at which price points, and as long as there is such demand, we will continue to sell the Nintendo 3DS system. I see the product coexisting with Nintendo Switch at this point in time.

Which, OK. You can see why Nintendo might release games that appeal to children — WarioWare Gold, Luigi’s Mansion and so on — on the cheaper, more kid-friendly system.

But Persona Q2 is very much not that. Persona Q2 is a hardcore dungeon crawler full of adult themes and death traps — in the first game, you could lose hours of progress to a single unlucky spell — and it’s wasted on the 3DS, which most of its potential audience has likely already deposited safely in their closets.

(One might argue that the dual-screen design is necessary for Persona Q’s map-drawing, which is done with the 3DS stylus, but I’m sure there are plenty of ways to rework that for a modern system.)

So I’m sure I will dust off my 3DS, hunt down the charger, and spend a couple of hours playing through Persona Q2 whenever it does come to the West. But I can’t imagine I’ll stick with it. Like many Nintendo fans, I’ve removed the 3DS from my gaming rotation. The Switch is too superior, too full of great games to get through. It’s a shame Persona Q2 won’t be one of them.


    So much this. I die inside every time something cool gets announced as a 3DS exclusive. The Switch has completely superseded the 3DS and the Vita for me.

    It's fine to release on 3DS or Vita, but if you have to do that, release it on Switch as well.

    All that said, MeiQ / Etrian Odyssey are the games that get a pass for not wanting to move platforms yet. The whole EO design makes mapmaking on the second screen an essential part of the experience, and going back to a single screen basically ruins their biggest point of differentiation from the other Wizardy-like dungeon crawlers. It's one of Atlus' big cash cows and extremely popular and likeable, and their team is strongly attached to them. The games are very cheap and easy to make, well received and they've been doing them basically yearly for a decade (EO was out in 2007, and they've made 6 mainline games, remade the first two for 3DS, two Mystery Dungeon crossovers and Persona Q and now Q2). The series simply won't be the same without dual screens, it really is going to die along with the 3DS, and I can understand them wanting to hang onto it as long as possible as a result. I'm sure they'll try to transition it to Switch at some point, but I don't think it'll be the same.

    Stop wanking over your Switch, Jason. It's getting plenty of software. And remember, Nintendo has specifically said that the Switch is NOT replacing the 3DS (yes, probably a lie, but at least it gives Nintendo an excuse to keep releasing software for the 3DS).

    Loving all the love my 3DS is getting at the moment. Forgot about Wario will totally pick it up this weekend though.

    Only thing that concerns me is that it is actually a game cart, and not only a download, because you pay just as much online as you would for a physical game and no way to get anything back in the future.

    Game development takes years. Switch is only out not that long ago. It's probably too late for them to change their codebase from one platform to another?

    A port to Switch at some point in the future is all we can hope for.

      Devs don't hear about the Switch at the same time we do.

      Switch was initially announced in October 2016, and games publishers as big as Atlus/Sega knew about the hardware significantly before then.

      Etrian Odyssey V came out in August 2016 in Japan. Etrian Mystery Dungeon 2 in August 2017, and Etrian Odyssey X came out this month.

      These are very simple games. Gameplay-wise they're just a highly refined Wizardy game . A small team can knock one of these games out in a year or less.

      Atlus absolutely could have started looking at the Switch by now. The reason they haven't isn't because it's too late, it's because the entire gameplay loop is designed for two screens.

    I've got 3 3ds's so I'm glad more games are getting released on the system. I'm only disappointed when games like Dragon Quest 11's english version gets cancelled.

    You have probably been here before. A Japanese company announces an exciting new game. The concept sounds great, the trailer has you hyped, and everything seems perfect... until you see those three words that you’ve grown to loathe in 2018. “Only on mobile.” There, fixed that for you. ^_-

    I still play my 3DS regularly, in fact ATLUS is predominantly the reason I play it at the moment with SMT: Strange Jounrey Redux being my current focus. Once the new Etrian Odyssey comes out I imagine that will change after I finish it but that's also most likely the reason they're doing it this way. Persona Q uses the EO engine which is currently developed for the 3DS so the choice would be to either delay the title as they work out how to bring the concept to Switch or bring it out now for the existing fanbase.

    The 3DS has a user base of more than 70 million while the Switch only has around 20 million.

    That's not a waste, That's smart business.

    It would be like apple only selling the iPhone in a small country with less than a million people rather than the USA.

    Don't let your butthurt cloud the obvious reasons for this.

      Are those numbers based on hardware sales? If so, you’re missing some REALLY important metrics. For example, how many of those 3DS units are actually in the hands of active users, and how many are collecting dust? It’s not difficult to envision a scenario where the Switch - by virtue of how new it is - has a similar amount of, if not more, hardware in the hands of active users.

      I’m a 3ds owner too, and I haven’t touched that thing since I played Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice on it ~2 years ago. I’m also a Switch owner and I’ve been playing it very recently. Even if I’m just a 1-man case study, it adds a very different dimension to the picture you’re painting around install bases.

      Last edited 07/08/18 9:14 pm

      That's a bit of a false analogy, though.
      Here's a few things your business case doesn't take into account:

      70 million is lifetime sales, not factoring in users that own multiple consoles/broken consoles.
      Nintendo are projecting to sell another 20 million by April next year, bringing the total up to 40 million.
      More and more users are not buying new software for the 3DS in favour of buying software.
      Software sales for the 3DS last fiscal year was 6.4, while Switch sales were 6.35.

      By your logic, developers should be forusing more on supporting the Playstation 2, as it's the highest selling console to date.

        No, that's not my logic at all.

        Nice try though. Thanks for the laugh

          Cool, thanks for making clear how much effort I should put into responding to you from now on.

          Well yes that was precisely you’re logic as far as I can tell.

          When someone calls you out and presents a better logic, you’d be wise to listen.

          You may become a better/smarter individual rather than sounding petulant.

    I'm just wondering if PQ2 will be available locally, because I remember it was years before the first one was. I imported and homebrew'd my 3DS to play it and the 2 Devil Survivor games at the time because of Nintendo's archaic region locking system

    I have a switch and 3DS. I havent turned on my switch in months but play my 3DS every night. So many great games on it still to play.

    Why is it that people keep wanting the 3DS to be abandoned, groaning whenever there's a new game released to it.

    "Oh it's an old machine", "It's underpowered", "It's older than dabbing".

    What are you, Apple? Fellas it's obsolete/vintage, close the 3DS eShop, take it off the shelves and suspend all support, tell the ACL that it's a dinosaur cause here comes the new beaut' $469 hand held that you can buy for you and each of your kids, cause F me if there's a market for a cheaper hand held with a massive affordable library.

      Yeah, was thinking about picking up a 2DS for my kids at some point in the future. Finding the old games will be an issue however. Ebay full price I suppose...

        We got pur 3 boys 3DS's for their birthdays this year. Fairly cheap console with a huge catalogue of games.
        No problem finding them either, eb sales they go for like 15-30 bux
        And theres always ebay

          Will be a little while for us, oldest is still in prep and working on reading still.

    My 3DS is still kept charged and beside my bed, and will continue to do so until Nintendo releases another proper Animal Crossing.

    I love my 3ds, please stop all the hate. Just because a system is old doesn't mean it still doesn't have value to some people.

    The NES mini was the highest selling console last month. Think about it people.

    Last edited 08/08/18 4:19 pm

    I feel like the people who moan about new releases on the 3DS are people who traded in their 3DS for a Switch and are regretting it (giving up their 3DS that is, not the Switch purchase).

      Nah you were right the first time. Regretted the Switch because it wasn't getting any games, they were all going to 3DS instead. Though it wasn't a trade-in.

    I can see your point about wanting it on the Switch, but I think that should be in addition to the 3DS.

    Recently been playing Octopath Traveler on the Switch undocked and I find it to be unwieldy as a handheld. I actually wish it had come out for 3DS because that's the right size for me to stick into my pocket and pull out on the fly. A huge difference from needing to wrestle the Switch out of a protective case in order to play it. Yes it has a tempered glass screen protector as well but I'm paranoid I'm going to drop it because for me it's too large to be entirely comfortable about running around with it as a hand held.

      This for sure. The Switch is a garbage handheld that only becomes remotely usable with some kind of grip case to give it some body to hand onto, and there's no way I'd take it anywhere without a carrycase, which means it'll most likely stay home especially if I'm travelling light. Whereas the DS and 3DS happily went with my in my pocket everywhere.

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