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Why is the Nintendo 3DS Still a Thing?

| September 26, 2017

Why is the Nintendo 3DS Still a Thing? Articles  Nintendo New Nintendo 3DS New Nintendo 2DS

Nintendo has a great problem; they have two successful consoles that require their support. At this point everyone is very aware that the Nintendo Switch is a huge success. It’s still difficult to find on store shelves and it has an impressive software lineup. The Nintendo 3DS family of systems, as it is so lovingly referred to by Nintendo Corporate, has an outrageous install base of more than 66 million units with 7 million coming in 2016 alone. Seriously, Nintendo sold 7 million 3DS systems in 2016. They recently released the New 2DS XL along with a few New 3DS XL systems that have a fresh coat of paint. One of which is Metroid themed.

Nintendo has gone all-in on the marketing push to make Metroid: Samus Returns a success. The aforementioned Metroid-themed New 3DS XL, a new set of Metroid amiibo and a deluxe edition of the game round out the product line for Metroid: Samus Returns. Metroid is a beloved video game franchise that dates back to the 1980’s. You can easily make a case for it being the best space-themed video game franchise of all time. Fans have been clamoring for a real installment for years (Metroid Prime: Federation Force and Metroid: Other M do not count and I’m 98% sure they don’t even exist). And what has Nintendo done? They have released the first new Metroid game in over a decade on its aging 3DS platform. Ugh. Nintendo has said they plan to support the 3DS family of systems (they have to be tired of typing that, right?) through 2018, and possibly beyond. This isn’t helping.

It feels like they are delaying the inevitable.

Look, we’ve been here before. Nintendo had a huge success on their hands with the Gameboy Advance (RIP). It was a great system with a quality software lineup. Then Nintendo released the Nintendo DS in 2004 and it was all over for the GBA. Despite Nintendo insisting that the DS would act as a “third pillar” alongside the GBA and Gamecube, the writing was already on the wall. The DS was an instant success and the GBA withered and died. They were done with it.

It has become clear though that this is a new Nintendo. A very different Nintendo from 10+ years ago. They’re taking chances. They’re playing it fast and loose. They’re refusing to let the Nintendo 3DS family of systems (seriously, I hope that is the last time I ever have to type that) suffer the same fate as the GBA. But why? We all know the Switch will eventually become the only Nintendo console on the market. Why release Metroid for it?

The Nintendo Switch is nothing short of groundbreaking. People love it. We all know what it does; Nintendo has done a brilliant job of marketing its new console. And yet here we are, getting a new installment to a beloved franchise on the old hardware. The 3DS will eventually be phased out; but old habits die hard. It would behoove Nintendo to put all of their efforts into developing games for the Switch and letting the Nintendo 3DS family of systems (seriously, I’m done) ride out into the sunset. Or better yet, taking it out back and shooting it. Just put it down! It has served its purpose and now there is a new sheriff in town.

Not to mention that Nintendo has also decided to develop games for smartphones. So if you’re keeping track, that is 3 portable platforms that Nintendo are currently developing for. Uhh…what? Or two portable platforms and one home console that you happen to be able to play on the go. However you want to word it.

The 3DS has had an amazing run, but it’s time to pass the torch to the Nintendo Switch. The Switch is the future. No one has said “I love that Nintendo decided to release the first new Metroid game in a decade on the 3DS instead of the Switch.” And, to be honest, it probably will come out for the Switch in 3 years; with a shiny HD update and a new amiibo. And I’ll buy it. Again. Because I can’t help myself. And Nintendo knows that. And that is why the 3DS is going to hang around for as long as it possibly can.

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  • ShinjiOda

    Because Nintendo can’t just up and drop support for a successful product line. Dozens of games are being developed for it by 1st and 3rd party devs. Unless Nintendo wants to comp all those devs with money to make for the time needed to change systems then it’s best to let most games come out and ramp down slowly.

    • Grantz

      Hey I don’t disagree with you. It just feels similar to when Nintendo was at the end of the GBA / beginning of the DS. They announced the DS would not be a direct replacement to the GBA. But that changed very quickly when the DS turned out to be a hit.

    • Gregory Weagle

      The other reason is that Nintendo doesn’t know when their supply issues with Nintendo Switch are going to end. So the decision to keep 3DS around is more of a pragmatic approach. It’s not like Nintendo 3DS has copious amounts of games for it outside of what was on the Nintendo Direct a few weeks ago. Also; Nintendo is notorious for supporting systems well after their prime. NES continued support for three years after SNES was launched.

  • Andreas Sjöberg

    The 3ds is the minimum viable product to be able to have any genre of games run and be playable on it. There is a big advantage to being simple like that, it gives a long term durability, unlike most computers today, smartphones and stuff, that are pushing so hard on the boundaries of computing capabilities that they will literally burn themselves out after about 2 years, and it seems the Switch is moving in to that territory. It has a complete contained formfactor, it has basically the controls of any modern controller, with the added bonus of a touch screen that can stand in for any keyboard intractability, all without any peripheral needed. And to say that the 3ds has “a lot of games” doesn’t really capture it, not counting backwards compatibility with DS, and the virtual console, it literally has a thousand games for it, 1194 as of now to be specific, thats about how many games are on the mayor consoles, PS4 and Xbox.

    A 3ds can do all the things well enough, it’s a great value investment. And for anyone, like me, who don’t really care about having the latest most fancy graphics, it’s just, by far, objectively better than any other console.

    I understand that a great many ppl like to have the latest and greatest and get bored by old things, but many others just like simple, calm, and reliable fun. Plz just let us little pleb potatoes have our one little thing <3

  • Andreas Sjöberg

    The 3ds is the minimum viable product to be able to have any genre of games run and be playable on it. There is a big advantage to being simple like that, it gives a long term durability, unlike most computers today, smartphones and stuff, that are pushing so hard on the boundaries of computing capabilities that they will literally burn themselves out after about 2 years, and it seems the Switch is moving in to that territory. It has a complete contained formfactor, it has basically the controls of any modern controller, with the added bonus of a touch screen that can stand in for any keyboard intractability, all without any peripheral needed. And to say that the 3ds has “a lot of games” doesn’t really capture it, not counting backwards compatibility with DS, and the virtual console, it literally has a thousand games for it, 1194 as of now to be specific, thats about how many games are on the mayor consoles, PS4 and Xbox.

    A 3ds can do all the things well enough, it’s a great value investment. And for anyone, like me, who don’t really care about having the latest most fancy graphics, it’s just, by far, objectively better than any other console.

    I understand that a great many ppl like to have the latest and greatest and get bored by old things, but many others just like simple, calm, and reliable fun. Plz just let us little pleb potatoes have our one little thing <3

  • Shah

    You forgot that Nintendo in shareholder meetings has confirmed that the 3DS is getting a separate successor, because quote “the 2 systems (3DS & Switch) demographics have proven to be too different; after launch of the Switch.

  • Shah

    You forgot that Nintendo in shareholder meetings has confirmed that the 3DS is getting a separate successor, because quote “the 2 systems (3DS & Switch) demographics have proven to be too different; after launch of the Switch.

  • Timothy Martin Bungeroth

    Another amateur hour article from some over zealous Switch bandwagoner heralding the death of the 3DS. I hate you people. Really, I do. The Switch replaced the Wii U so the Game Boy Advance analogy doesn’t work. Plus it offers an entirely different game play experience from the Switch (HD Console with portable capabilities vs.Dedicated Portable with dual screen 3D technology). Also, it delivers a product with a drastically lower price point, making it an affordable option for parents that don’t want to blow $299 on a fragile piece of hardware their eight year old will promptly destroy. If anything, we’ll get a 4DS in 2019.

    I own a Switch and I love it. But these lame brain millennials who just started playing Nintendo again after breaking for Sony and Microsoft and now proclaiming the Switch as the second coming of Christ are absolutely insufferable.

    Also, I don’t put my pets down when they’re still alive and kicking. These articles are disgusting. Please stop writing them and wasting all of our time.

  • Barstool Blues

    Whether or not nintendo supports the 3ds it will still be supported by 3rd parties. Sony hasn’t supported the vita in years and keeps on going because of this. There’s a huge install base and a lot of 3rd parties can’t take the chances that nintendo can to just leave a system with a 66 million install base to one with not even 1/6th of that.

  • Adam

    Consider the fact that all games in the GBA era were physical. Now you have 3rd parties creating download exclusive content. It’s an entirely different market than it was 10 years ago with the GBA and the DS.

  • Adam

    Consider the fact that all games in the GBA era were physical. Now you have 3rd parties creating download exclusive content. It’s an entirely different market than it was 10 years ago with the GBA and the DS.

  • Chris D

    But where do you honestly go from Switch and 3DS? Switch is a full fledged console on the go and 3DS is the same thing just restricted to portable only and with less power but with ability to display 3D. I think 3DS is the perfect handheld and shouldnt be changed. They should just keep getting bigger in size. Imagine a 3D screen the size of a large tablet. The console is what needs to keep evolving.

  • Chris D

    But where do you honestly go from Switch and 3DS? Switch is a full fledged console on the go and 3DS is the same thing just restricted to portable only and with less power but with ability to display 3D. I think 3DS is the perfect handheld and shouldnt be changed. They should just keep getting bigger in size. Imagine a 3D screen the size of a large tablet. The console is what needs to keep evolving.

  • son_michael

    Nintendo Switch is not a handheld, it’s a home console experience that you can take on the go. Completely different.

  • Foosilli Jerry

    So because you stood in line and bought a Switch on Day 1 of release, Nintendo must stop all support for 3DS because you want your Metroid on your new system. The 3DS “family of systems” has sold 70 million units, including 4 million this year. That’s why 3DS is still getting games.

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