I imagine that is very important for a company like Nintendo.
The Nintendo Switch is such a tremendous success, and every classic Nintendo handheld franchise seems to be making the jump to it including Pokemon, which has never launched on a gaming console before, having stuck exclusively to handhelds. So- that rings the death knell for the 3DS, and Nintendo’s handheld line, right? Sure, Nintendo have long maintained that the 3DS will stick around for a while to come, and there are still some games to come for it, but on the whole, it’s clear it’s on the way out, right?
According to Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime, no. The 3DS will stick around because it represents a unique value proposition to Nintendo- that of being a cheap entry point into the Nintendo ecosystem.
“The role for Nintendo 3DS, as a family of systems that range from a hardware standpoint, from $79.99 to $199.99 and has a back catalog of well over a thousand games, we see this system doing two things for us,” Reggie said in an interview with Forbes. “One, it’s an entry vehicle. If you’re a mom or dad, you’re trying to take care of multiple kids and to give them a great experience that you feel good about, couple of 2DS as a holiday purchase, is a fantastic value. And again, [you get] access to all of this great content.
“Similarly, if you’re an active gamer, and there’s a particular game that you have to get your hands on, and it’s only available on 3DS, well then buying a 2DS XL or a 3DS XL is a great way to scratch that itch. That’s the role that it’s gonna play for us. It’s gonna be an entry vehicle, a vehicle where you have to play a particular game that’s only available as part of the library of games for 2DS and 3DS. That’s the play. And from that perspective, it’s been very effective for us, and we believe it’s gonna continue to be very effective.
“This past weekend I was in Florida. I’m going through a Walmart, I’m going through a Target. I’m looking across the landscape of consumers, and not every consumer is going to be able to afford a piece of $299 hardware plus a couple games, maybe some Amiibo. It’s a $400 or $500 proposition. With Nintendo 2DS and 3DS, you can satisfy a lot of holiday gifts for $100 to a $200 purchase. That is a key strategic advantage.”
I think the importance of having a cheap Nintendo device on the market cannot be overstated for a company like Nintendo, which has kids representing a very large subset of its audience- parents are unlikely to spend $360 on a Switch plus game for a young child, but far likelier to spend $80 on a Nintendo 2DS that comes with a free game. As a result, I fully believe that Nintendo is likely to keep the 3DS on the market until they can drop the price of the Switch to more mass market friendly levels- presumably around the end of 2018.