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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Why the Nintendo 3DS is Still Around (2018)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - There's a year in that title, because we might revisit this in 2019 and have a different answer.

Are you someone who does not understand why Nintendo is keeping the Nintendo 3DS afloat, instead of combining all of their development and marketing efforts behind one console? I admit, I was one of those people. But take a look at Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime's answer in this Game Informer interview question about what the 3DS means for Nintendo:
[The Nintendo 3DS] continues to be a vibrant system. The reasons are, for the target audience we are going after – parents with kids – we see this as a great first device for that five, six, seven, and eight-year-old. The portability, the ability for the hardware to take damage and survive the drop test, over a thousand games available with new ones coming, that’s what’s driving the performance. It becomes a gateway for these kids that turn 10, 11, and 12 to then jump on to Nintendo Switch. It’s a strategy that’s working, and we’re going to continue to support that platform. We have more games coming, and certainly into 2019, we see it as a key part of our business.”
One wonders what Reggie expects nine-year-olds to play. Maybe he wants the number nine nixed.  I'm also not sure how “key” the 3DS is to Nintendo's business when two Nintendo presidents in a row decline to mention it in their letters to investors.

Anyway, I guess Nintendo is able to present remakes/ports of old games as “new” because their target audience for the 3DS wasn't even born when those games were first released. Nintendo will be able to selectively re-release titles for the Nintendo 3DS and then be able to help parents nurture their children on games that will prepare them for a lifelong pursuit of quality gaming excellence. (As opposed to having them start on mobile trash.) That strategy is exactly what I was asking for many years ago. Obviously, I can't and won't be mad at Nintendo for fulfilling this important and underappreciated role in the gaming ecosystem that I was the pioneer for advocating.

Hopefully you agree. If you don't, then you need to expand your thinking past just yourself. After all, if Nintendo is successful with their strategy, it indirectly and eventually benefits you as a Nintendo Switch-focused person.

Do you agree with how Nintendo is positioning the 3DS? If you're an active 3DS user over the age of eight years old, do you feel that Nintendo is underselling the 3DS by reducing it to a child's system? (And throwing its many E10+ or over games, like Ace Attorney, under the bus?) Alternatively, do you feel that Nintendo is underselling the Switch by not marketing it to children? Does this hint to how long Nintendo is planning to maintain the Switch's lifespan?

The Nintendo 3DS can also save you a trip to France, which can save your (and your child's) life.
Also from that Game Informer interview: An update on Nintendo's amiibo plan!


  1. I wonder if Nintendo looked at the data and saw that a lot of their older audience was moving to the Switch, while a lot of their younger audience wasn't. (Could it have something to do with price, too? An older player being more likely to be able to buy a console themselves, while a younger player needs their parents to buy it and the 3DS's lower price makes it more appealing?)

    1. I would hope that they would look at that data before Reggie would make claims like that.

      Nintendo did reveal the results of a survey they did in April 2017 about purchaser age and gender distribution, which I took a screenshot of here:

      I'm guessing the 3DS's numbers are more skewed towards older purchasers than this.

  2. "Anyway, I guess Nintendo is able to present remakes/ports of old games as “new” because their target audience for the 3DS wasn't even born when those games were first released."

    That's a really good point, actually. My disdain for that practice just went down several notches.

    1. I like to think I make really good points consistently and often!
      Anyway, thank you.

      It's sort of like how the Labo is for children and not us, but unlike the Labo, the 3DS isn't hurting anyone by its existence.


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