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The Nintendo 3DS and 2DS are Discontinued, Long Live the Switch

Nintendo Japan image

It’s been nine and a half years since the original model of the Nintendo 3DS was released, and the various incarnations of the handheld have sold a combined 75 million units around the world. It’s an unqualified success, even given Nintendo’s portable pedigree, but it’s time to put the horse(s) out to pasture. The Nintendo 3DS is no more.

On Nintendo’s Japanese website, all of the current models of the 3DS are now listed as “out of production,” with a message on the main page saying that the series will no longer be manufactured. The hardware has also disappeared from the online stores in both Japan and the US, though the eShop is still selling digital copies of games for the 3DS family. The 3DS eShop was shuttered in 42 smaller markets earlier this year, along with the Wii U.

With the Switch being both a home console and a portable, and the newer Switch Lite offering an even smaller, cheaper option, the writing has been on the wall for the Nintendo 3DS and its various spin-offs. Nintendo’s strategy for the foreseeable future seems to be to lean almost entirely on the Switch and its software sales, with extra revenue coming from lucrative partnerships in toy sales like the LEGO Super Mario line and the new AR-enabled Mario Kart cars.

Wikipedian image of the 3DS article
Nintendo 3DS hardware models, from Wikipedia. Wikipedia

As the successor to the Nintendo DS and Game Boy, the Nintendo 3DS had a lot of variety, even for a Nintendo portable. Between 2011 and 2017, Nintendo released the original dual-screen lenticular 3D system, the 3DS XL with larger screens, the 2DS with its super-cheap, non-hinged body, a slightly tweaked version called the “New 3DS” (plus an XL variant) with more power and a small secondary thumb stick,  and a 2DS XL system that was extremely popular as a cheaper version of the main system, sans the 3D screen. The last one came out a few months after the Switch. That’s six different hardware designs, to say nothing of the dozens and dozens of special editions released over the years.

Low prices, backwards compatibility, and a wide software library, anchored by Nintendo’s strong first-party games, helped the 3DS absolutely trounce Sony’s competing PlayStation Vita. While the 3DS family sold less than half the units of the Nintendo DS (due in no small part to the rise of mobile gaming on the iPhone and Android), it outsold the Vita five to one.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to find a 3DS when you want one, don’t be. With millions of the things floating around on the secondary market, and Nintendo’s kid-proof hardware design, these gadgets should be available and playable for decades.

Source: The Verge

Michael Crider Michael Crider
Michael Crider has been writing about computers, phones, video games, and general nerdy things on the internet for ten years. He’s never happier than when he’s tinkering with his home-built desktop or soldering a new keyboard. Read Full Bio »