Nintendo recently confirmed that it will support the 3DS console for the foreseeable future, past 2018 in fact. At the company’s recent E3 showcase it introduced a slew of new games for the system that included the return of Samus herself in Metroid: Samus Returns.
The Big N’s commitment to the handheld that first released in 2011 is awesome for the 60 million plus people that own the system, but is it a good decision at a time where the company has so much on the line with the Nintendo Switch potentially being the company’s last piece of hardware if it isn't successful? Here are the reasons for and against Nintendo supporting the 3DS:
The Switch needs as much first-party love as possible
One of the biggest reasons that the Wii U failed was due to the massive droughts the console experienced when it came to games. In this instance third-parties didn't want to support the struggling console and Nintendo wasn't outputting first-party titles quick enough to keep a flurry of games coming to the system.
Nintendo has clearly learned its lessons from the Wii U by scheduling a big game on the Switch almost every single month until the end of the year, but imagine if all the developers making games for the 3DS were making Switch games instead? With even more quality titles being pumped out onto the Switch, the console would be even more appealing and Nintendo’s further commitment would surely entice third-parties to pick up the phone and call the Big N.
3DS messaging is becoming muddled
The Wii U was a perfect example of confusing messaging by Nintendo, tons of people thought the console was just an accessory to the original Wii instead of being a fully-fledged successor to the acclaimed system. With Nintendo releasing a new version of the 3DS that the company claims is more powerful than the hardware that was released in 2011 and is capable of playing some exclusive games, the messaging has become somewhat muddled with the handheld of late. The latest iteration of the 2DS is arguably the perfect time for Nintendo to give the system one last hurrah before starting a fresh slate with the Switch.
The 3DS limits developers
Even new models of the 3DS or even 2DS for that matter are still fundamentally running on the same hardware that the console released with in 2011. Since then developers have embraced the massive technical capabilities of consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One that are now both emphasising 4K as the standard to which games should be played. Although the handheld market isn't going to be giving gamers 4K, HDR experiences, the Nintendo Switch gives developers more power to play with that ultimately lets them achieve their vision greater than six year old hardware can.
You can’t ignore the substantial user base
Sure, the 3DS is over six years old, but in that time the console has amassed a player base of over 60 million, that’s a number that Nintendo and third-party developers can’t ignore. 3DS players are loyal and usually jump on new games as soon as they’re released for the system. As long as the handheld is still selling, both in terms of hardware and software, Nintendo surely sees no reason to stop supporting the console, this is something that is very understandable given the company’s presumably huge losses with the Wii U project.
Graphics aren't everything
The announcement of Metroid: Samus Returns, is proof that a game doesn't have to melt your eyeballs in terms of its graphical prowess to get gamers screaming with excitement. This title in particular is looking to take the series back to its roots with a return to the side scrolling exploration gameplay that made the series so popular on the NES. This is the kind of game that fans have been wanting for years and will surely sell incredibly well despite that fact it’s running on six year old hardware. The 3DS is a huge success because its library of games has always played to the strengths of the system, the announcement of new games at E3 shows that trend is not going to end anytime soon.
The hardware isn't meant to compete with Switch
The new 2DS will be available for £129.99 when it releases at the end of July, this positions the console at a price point that is not meant to infringe on the sales of the Switch that retails for a more hefty £279.99. The DS is much less of a commitment than the Switch and has an extremely unique game lineup compared to Nintendo’s newest system. The DS is perfect as a present to get a kid for their birthday that isn't incredibly expensive, but will keep the youngling entertained for hours on end. Although the Switch will be picked up by kids, Nintendo is pushing the hybrid console as more of a second system that will sit alongside a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One than a 3DS killer.