Today Nintendo confirmed the discontinuation of the New 3DS. Although other 3DS models are still available — a new one is even coming out soon — this marks what could be the beginning of the end of the 3DS console family. That sounds morbid. Anyways.
Nintendo is, in my opinion, portraying a slowly growing detachment from the 3DS in all but words. Even after the Switch released, the company vowed their commitment to the long-running family of handheld consoles. And sure, a few new exciting games have been announced, but where are all the big reveals going? The Switch.
Nintendo’s “3DS Support”
So what is even on the 3DS release calendar right now? Below I’ve listed all major upcoming games for the handheld system, straight from Nintendo’s website.
- Hey! Pikmin
- Culdcept Revolt
- Metroid: Samus Returns
- Pokémon Gold and Silver
- Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions
- Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon
- Monster Hunter Stories
- YO-KAI WATCH 2: Psychic Specters
- Antipole DX
- Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth
- Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology
- Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux
- Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido
If some of those titles are unfamiliar to you, you’re not alone. There just aren’t a lot of big games coming to 3DS. Hey! Pikmin looks cute, but Pikmin 4 is what fans really want. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Moon aren’t actually main series games, and most Pokémon players are 10 levels more excited about the in-development Switch title.
Sure, there are a few solid 3DS games coming up, like Metroid: Samus Returns, Monster Hunter Stories, and Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions, but look at what’s coming out on the Switch. Fire Emblem Warriors, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Splatoon 2, Pokken Tournament DX, Skyrim, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, FIFA 18, Super Mario Odyssey — all big first-party and third-party games. And the indie game scene on the Switch’s eShop is undeniably poppin’.
It’s tough to deny most major new games are going to be coming to the Switch. It’s the hot new console with much better specs than any 3DS. Consumers, for the most part, aren’t going to be excited about new 3DS titles, and developers know this.
But Nintendo is releasing the New 2DS XL!
True, the Big N has a new handheld console on the horizon — the New Nintendo 2DS XL, hitting shelves July 28th for $149.99. It has large foldable screens like the 3DS XL and 2DS screens. Plus, it’s coming in at a pretty attractive price point.
It makes sense for Nintendo to discontinue an expensive, unpopular console (New 3DS) and replace it with a cheaper, more accessible one (New 2DS XL) — for now. The company can’t shift its entire focus to the Switch all at once, but they have to know the 3DS has an expiration date. That’s why they’re keeping up 3DS support with a modest list of releases and a new cheaper console until a big transition is made.
What could the transition be? Discontinuing the 3DS family and focusing 100% on the Switch? That could be possible down the road, but some people don’t like the Switch’s $300 price tag paired with lower-end specs.
A good move for Nintendo might be to release a handheld-only version of the Switch that’s a bit smaller and cheaper. A big bummer right now is the lack of compatibility between Switch and 3DS games. You can’t play one on the other.
A dedicated handheld that plays regular Switch games would be a gold mine that phases out a dated console in the proper way. In fact, an analyst already predicted a “Switch Mini” will be out by 2019.
Do you think Nintendo is starting to phase out 3DS systems, even if it is pretty gradually? Or will those dual-screen handhelds stick around for years to come? Let me know in the comments.