Many are questioning the future of both the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS now that the company has confirmed the Nintendo Switch is going to be a console/handheld hyrbid. Obviously, with both areas covered under a single device, these questions are legitimate.
Speaking with Polygon, Nintendo has not confirmed anything regarding the future of the Nintendo 3DS.
Nintendo Switch is a home gaming system first and foremost. We have made no announcement regarding the future of Nintendo 3DS.
Obviously with sales of almost 60 million 3DS portables worldwide, there’s still a huge hunger for new games, such as Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. There are many more games in the pipeline.
Nintendo said the exact same thing about the DS
While it might sound like it still has plans to support the Nintendo 3DS from that statement, don’t expect this support to last forever. Back in Nov. 2003, Nintendo unveiled the Nintendo DS for the first time, saying that it was an experimental device that had no intention of replacing the Game Boy Advance and GameCube.
Nobody is going to come out and say that 200 million lifetime sales across the Game Boy brand name were going to just go up in smoke, but what exactly happened to the Game Boy Advance? It got replaced by the Nintendo DS, and the company quickly changed its tune after it sold 154 million units on its own.
Two things: it is smart not to say your new product is going to replace the successful older one because you need something to fall back on if the new product fails. If the Switch is not a hit, Nintendo is going to have to drag out the Nintendo 3DS’ lifespan and depend on it for a while.
The other point is that Nintendo Switch doesn’t look like it will be able to support backwards compatibility for Nintendo 3DS games because it has only one screen and no confirmed touchscreen. Backwards compatibility allowed the fanbase to transition from the Game Boy Advance into the Nintendo DS with relative ease. If that option is not here, I can see why many might be sticking with both the Switch and 3DS.
Lots to unpack here, but if the Switch is a huge success, the Nintendo 3DS could be seeing its final years. The idea of two screens was a huge success that Nintendo set into motion, but maybe it’s not the future.