The 3DS is cheaper, which means it has a broader reach.
The big question people have is, why does Nintendo continue to keep the 3DS around? While on one had, Nintendo’s dedication to supporting their older system even after the successor has launched needs to be admired, the Switch is over a year old itself. The 3DS is over seven years old now, and software sales for it are beginning to slow down. Nintendo would be much better served by keeping all their games on one system- so why keep the 3DS around?
Speaking to investors in a Q & A, Tatsumi Kimishima, the current president of Nintendo, and Shuntaro Furukawa, the person set to inherit the mantle from Kimishima next month, talked about why the 3DS is still supported by Nintendo. The simple answer- because it’s cheaper, which means it has a broad reach.
“[The 3DS] has an ample software lineup at a price point that makes the system affordable especially for parents looking to buy for their kids. We expect that demand to continue during this fiscal year as well, so we will continue to sell the product,” Kimishima said.
“Given that Nintendo Switch is a home gaming system that can be taken on the go, this situation may change if it grows from being a one-per-household system to a one-per-person system. But the price of Nintendo Switch is not something with which most parents would buy a system for every one of their children in a short period of time. Moving forward, we will work to ascertain what kinds of play people want at which price points, and as long as there is such demand, we will continue to sell the Nintendo 3DS system. I see the product coexisting with Nintendo Switch at this point in time.”
Eventually, one day, I can see the Switch be cheap enough that people might be willing to buy one for each of their kids, for example- but until that happens, you can’t begrudge Nintendo for keeping a cheaper entry into their ecosystem for kids and less afluent gamers around.