Three years later Nintendo makes the ‘switch’ as production on the 3DS ends.
It held in there. In a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, Nintendo confirmed 3DS production already ended earlier this year in March. The 3DS page on the Nintendo website has also been updated to reflect this fact. The news comes over three years after the release of the Nintendo Switch and nine years after its first 3DS system’s release. This also includes the 2DS consoles, if you were wondering.
The system is still a testament to Nintendo’s ingenuity. Although it received less focus over time, and was outright dropped in latter consoles, the 3D effect is still impressive today. Nintendo seems to be keeping that creative spirit alive in Nintendo Labo and the recently revealed Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit.
I still remember the surprise there was at the steady, continued release of games on the family of systems alongside Nintendo’s Switch plans. Such games included Metroid: Samus Returns, Luigi’s Mansion, WarioWare Gold, Captain Toad: Treasure-Tracker, Pokémon Ultra Sun, and Pokémon Ultra Moon.
The reality is that 3DS worldwide hardware sales remained steady for the first two years of the Switch’s life cycle, sustaining numbers of 7.27 and 6.4 million sales in 2017 and 2018. This was before major drop-offs in 2019 and 2020 to 2.55 million and 0.65 million respectively. Understandable for the latter, perhaps, if the console’s financial year ended in March.
It’s still not over for the handheld, though. A Nintendo spokesperson confirmed to GI.biz that “Nintendo and third-party games for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems will continue to be available in Nintendo eShop, on Nintendo.com and at retail.”
Shutdowns recently affected 42 countries that accessed a limited version of the eShop, and it remains to be seen how long support will last everywhere else. With that in mind, Nintendo’s promise of continued retail support for the 3DS seems surprising.
Although the 3DS family saw gargantuan sales numbers in its lifetime, selling 75.9 million units worldwide, it falls short of many of Nintendo’s previous handheld families. The Game Boy and Game Boy Advance hit totals of 118.7 million and 81.5 million units, whilst the original DS family reigns supreme with a staggering 154 million units – over double the 3DS’s lifetime sales.