Ever since Nintendo announced and released the Switch, people have been awaiting the long sought after unified Nintendo system—one system that consolidates the company’s handheld and console output into one, enviable portfolio. However, for that to happen, the Switch needs to replace both, Nintendo’s consoles and handhelds.
On the console side, the Switch has done that, completely eclipsing and superseding the Wii U. On the handheld side, however, the 3DS has continued to co-exist side by side with the Switch, even getting a raft of not insignificant games, to the chagrin of many Nintendo fans, who would rather see the company’s energies concentrated on just one system.
Don’t expect that to be happening any time soon, however, because speaking to investors, Nintendo’s president Shuntaro Furukawa reiterated the company’s intent to keep the 3DS around and support it going forward, citing its cheapness and breadth of library as being a key factor in keeping it around as an entry point into the Nintendo ecosystem.
“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,” he said.
“During summer and fall, the hot-selling New Nintendo 2DS XL package was replaced in the US and European markets with sets featuring a pre-installed popular title. Because the suggested retail price was left unchanged in the US, the inclusion of one software title made the system feel like even more of a value to consumers… We are continuing with efforts to expand sales.”
Going forward, Furukawa sees existing Nintendo games on the 3DS as being primary drivers of sales—which at least suggests that Nintendo may stop putting out new games on the system after a while.
“An abundance of titles in a variety of genres have been released for the Nintendo 3DS family. It is important to convey the existence of this rich assortment of Nintendo 3DS family titles and drive sales to new purchasers of the hardware. Our new consumers know that the evergreen titles will continue to be available, so we will do our utmost to foster sales opportunities,” he said.
So that’s good to hear. The 3DS definitely does have value from Nintendo’s perspective—right now you can get specific SKUs at a sub-$100 price, which means it’s the only viable Nintendo hardware available for a large number of children, who have traditionally been Nintendo’s demographic. Until the Switch is available at cheaper prices, I can see the 3DS sticking around for now.