The Nintendo Switch has shown that it’s the console everyone hoped it’d be back when it was first announced two years ago. The portable system has been directly competing with its predecessor for over a year now. But that doesn’t mean Nintendo is ready to retire its beloved handheld. The company reported its second quarter financial earnings on Wednesday. In its briefing, Nintendo noted that it was committed to keep the business going for the 3DS into the future.
As of now, it’s unclear what exactly Nintendo’s plans are when it comes to the future of the 3DS. Throughout 2018 and the rest of the Switch’s lifespan, Nintendo has continued releasing titles for the 3DS. That’s a trend that won’t be ending anytime soon, as several new titles have been recently announced with more to come. In the earnings report, Nintendo made sure to highlight the recent Luigi’s Mansion and upcoming Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story.
Alternatively, Nintendo’s re-commitment to the 3DS could mean it has new hardware in the works. Given the emphasis Nintendo has placed on its upcoming releases, I’d say this is super unlikely. But a refreshed console with more modern specs would definitely be one way to ensure the 3DS’s success well through 2019 and beyond.
What’s not a mystery is the reasons why Nintendo would want to keep the 3DS around. The Nintendo Switch retails for $300. And while that’s not expensive compared to the rest of the gaming market, it’s by no means cheap compared to the $150 3DS.
Having an affordable, lower-end console in the lineup makes creating life-long Nintendo fans an easier task. Similar to the NES and SNES Classic, the 3DS’s relatively small price means it can introduce new gamers to the world of Nintendo, or even rekindle relationships with those who have been out of the loop over the past few years.
Nintendo 3DS is set apart from Nintendo Switch by its characteristics as a handheld game system that is lightweight, price-friendly, and highly portable. Affordability is the strong point that positions Nintendo 3DS in a niche clearly separate from Nintendo Switch. In the grand scheme of things, Nintendo 3DS has a prominent position as the product that can be served as the first contact between Nintendo and many of its consumers, and for this reason we will keep the business going.
Nintendo’s comment on prolonging the life of the 3DS adds to the credibility that a more powerful game console could be in the works. At the beginning of last month, we reported that Nintendo was developing new Switch hardware. Nintendo’s desire to keep its more affordable handheld around points to a second generation of the hybrid console with a higher price point than the Switch currently carries.
Most of the company’s emphasis has been on the Switch over the last year, so 3DS fans can only hope Nintendo’s desire to keep it alive results in just a few new titles. There haven’t been too many exclusive titles to draw in fans, making the handheld’s library somewhat lackluster. But with a promising new 2D Mario around the corner, prospects are looking good.
At the end of the day, Nintendo’s desire to keep the 3DS around makes perfect sense. The DS has been a part of Nintendo’s lineup for over 12 years now. Not to mention, it has become synonymous with the company just like the Gameboy. Regardless of what’s to come, it will be interesting to see how Nintendo balances its Switch and 3Ds initiatives.
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