Well, That About Wraps It Up For 3DS

Photo: Nintendo

Nintendo isn’t willing to call the 3DS “dead” yet, but the company’s latest briefing has made the whole thing feel like Weekend At Bernie’s.

One year ago, Nintendo held a briefing for investors at which it said it would “continue the 3DS business” and that it was “preparing new software for release in 2019 and beyond”.

Just prior to this meeting, Nintendo had announced a large batch of new 3DS games, such as Luigi’s Mansion and WarioWare Gold, and the company pointed to this release schedule as proof that Nintendo still planned to support its handheld.

This week, Nintendo held this year’s version of the same briefing, and the difference was night and day. No announcement beforehand of new games for the handheld platform, no mention of the 3DS business in the briefing.

There are currently zero first-party games on the schedule for the 3DS, and just a tiny handful of upcoming third-party retail games — just one in the West, for example, and two in Japan.

“We have nothing new to announce regarding first-party software for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems,” a Nintendo spokesperson wrote in response to an emailed request for comment by Kotaku. “We can confirm that new software is coming from third-party publishers.”

Make no mistake: If Nintendo planned to support the 3DS this year the same way it did last year, it would have announced some new games prior to this week’s financial briefing, and talked them up during its presentation, to give investors the idea that the company was serious about continuing the business in a significant way.

Instead, the most likely scenario here is that Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn ends up being the final first-party 3DS release, and we won’t see much if anything of significance from third parties past Persona Q2.

Nintendo is going to keep the 3DS, the 2DS and accompanying software on shelves this year, as evidenced by the fact that it said in its forecasts this week that it intends to sell one million 3DS systems this year.

Perhaps it will, simply off the strength of its evergreen games. (Or not. Last year, Nintendo forecast that it would sell four million pieces of 3DS hardware, but only sold 2.5 million.) Still, all indications are that it won’t be introducing any new games to boost those sales.

OK, so the 3DS is probably dead now, even if Nintendo isn’t ready to admit it yet. What this is likely leading up to, as has been reported by many different outlets, is the release of a Switch-compatible handheld that is a more adequate replacement for the 3DS line.

Smaller, cheaper, more rugged, built for portable play. Something you’d have no issue giving to a younger kid or maybe even putting into your pocket when you leave the house.

Bloomberg reported that this new Switch could be released as early as June. Later, that outlet reported that Nintendo’s president Shuntaro Furukawa had said that Nintendo does not plan to announce any new hardware at E3.

Of course, that hardly means anything — remember that year at E3 when Japanese newspapers reported Nintendo was making a 3DS XL, and Nintendo said this was all “speculation”, and then it announced one two weeks after E3? That’s what this is all feeling like right now.

Once such a model of Switch is available, there will be no need for 3DS any more. Yes, Nintendo will likely keep selling it for a while, since there’s no way that even a redesigned Switch will be able to be priced at the $149.95 level of the 2DS. So I wouldn’t expect the 3DS line to disappear entirely. But it’s looking very much like, as far as new games go, that’s all she wrote.


Comments

    They're obviously going to push this new cheap switch as the replacement for the 3DS.

    Makes sense since I'm assuming it will be priced the same + probably cheaper and sturdier so kids can get one etc.

      Agreed. If they can maintain the power and.... "dockability" and hit an AUD240 price point that would be very compelling.

        From what I gather (and speculate) it will be more like 3DS XL sized and just have a plug that plugs into the TV. If there even is a dock it will be tiny as all hell but they might as well cut out the middle man to save $ and just have a direct to TV plug.

    Strange to use the word replacement as it’s not like you can play your DS games on the switch or anything. It would be kinda neat if there was a seperate attachable screen you could purchase for this newer cheaper Switch. That said, just use a 3DS in the first place. But this Switch replacement I have to say should be less of a replacement for the 3DS & more of a replacement for the current Switch. Ya.

    The DS/3DS deserves an official Swan song from Nintendo itself one of these days, a proper goodbye, not just a simple announcement that it’s getting “replaced” & that’s the end of it.

    Last edited 27/04/19 6:04 pm

    I'll only call the 3DS/2DS dead when the online store shuts down.

    God forbid it does too, cause 90% of my games are eShop download versions.

      Yeah, it's too bad Nintendo refuse to implement a proper way to transfer games between consoles/to newer generations.

        Oh no. That would make too much sense.

        Much easier for them to just force you to buy games again

        Pretty sure you can transfer between systems fine can't you?

        I can understand not working between systems as the underlying architecture this gen is pretty different. I guess you could probably emulate it as the DS line was always underpowered for it's time and even more so after years on the market.

    anyone else pick up on the how I met your mother joke?

    Last edited 27/04/19 8:59 pm

    Graphics horsepower aside, the 3DS is a much better handheld system than the Switch. It has a lid to protect the screen and it fits in your pocket. I feel nervous anytime I take the Switch out of the house.

      The 3ds is also 100X easier to repair/ Get repaired in the unlikely chance something goes wrong.

      Maybe this cheaper Switch will be clamshell design? Would certainly be welcome from a portability perspective.

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