The Nintendo 3DS exists in an awkward place right now after the release of its cousin, the Switch, in spring of last year. The Switch brought with it console gaming on-the-go, providing both a solid home console and useful handheld device all in one. Many have since wondered how long Nintendo plans to support the 3DS and keep it circulating. In the latest financial results briefing from Nintendo, they cover this exact topic. The simple answer? Affordability. While the 3DS only gets a small talking segment in the briefing compared to the Switch's mammoth-amount of topics, it is good to see that it's still being given support. Truth be told, I still play my 3DS, albeit slightly less than I did before the Switch came out. One of Nintendo's most recent shows of support for the handheld was the release of non-3D versions, for consumers who saw the feature as unnecessary.
"Nintendo 3DS is set apart from the Nintendo Switch by its characteristics as a handheld game system that is lightweight, price-friendly, and highly portable," Nintendo states in the briefing. "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." Due to the 3DS' cheaper price point, a lot of this rings true. Some kids likely end up with a 3DS before a Switch, even if just due to the price alone. The handheld is still receiving new games of its own too, such as the Luigi's Mansion port, and it still gets prominent talking points in every Nintendo Direct.
The briefing doesn't only cover the company's plans for the 3DS, but also for the Switch, Switch Online, and the upcoming holiday season (as well as beyond). Nintendo has been making a push for continually updated services in their games long after they release. Big examples include games like Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with their post-release add-ons, as well as Kirby Star Allies and Mario Tennis Aces, both of which got content updates for free. This is to encourage long-term play on the Switch as we lead into the holiday 'blitz' of new titles, the biggest being Pokémon: Let's Go and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. As for the games beyond that, Nintendo could only provide release windows. Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe and Yoshi's Crafted World are the closest to release, the former being January and the latter being Spring of 2019. Also set for Spring is the next new Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Later on in 2019, we can expect Luigi's Mansion 3, the new Animal Crossing game, and the next 'core' Pokémon game. 2019 will be a busy year for Nintendo.
Do you still play your 3DS? If so, how often? While it's unknown what Nintendo's support for it might look like in, say, 2020, it's always good to see these things stick around for as long as possible. This is especially true when you consider the recent news behind Sony's PlayStation Vita, which will soon have to cease production on physical games. The Switch, meanwhile, is selling like hotcakes. Nintendo's sales show no sign of slowing down, nor do their partnerships with a variety of developers. According to the briefing, as of October, more than 1,300 titles from over 500 publishers are available for purchase on the Switch eShop. It's an impressive number of games, and the Switch has also proven to be popular with indie games and indie developers thanks to its ease-of-use. For the full financial results briefing, you can read it all on Nintendo's website. It gives plenty of interesting background info not covered here, so stop on by if you're curious. In the meantime, I think I'm going to go give my 3DS a spin.