One of Nintendo’s most beloved handheld consoles, the 3DS, has been discontinued. Nintendo confirmed in a statement today to Polygon that “manufacturing of the Nintendo 3DS family of systems has ended.” The announcement comes a little over a year after Nintendo said the Switch Lite wasn’t going to replace the 3DS.
“We’ll continue to support our 3DS family of systems as long as there is demand,” said Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser at the time.
It looks like there is no longer enough demand.
It’s not a surprise that the end has come for the 3DS, and to some extent it’s not that surprising that it had as long of a run as it did — nearly 10 years! Its predecessor, the DS, was around for just as long, and remains Nintendo’s top-selling console with 154 million units sold.
When the Nintendo Switch was released in 2017, it quickly overtook the 3DS in popularity. As of June 30, Nintendo has sold more than 61 million Switches. The company sold almost 76 million units of the 3DS by the same date, according to Nintendo, making it the fourth best-selling Nintendo handheld console behind the DS, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance. But the Switch caught up quickly, which is also not a surprise.
The 3DS first launched in Japan on Feb. 26, 2011, and then debuted in North America, Europe, and Australia the following month. It was the successor to the DS handheld console, featuring 3D effects on the display without the use of 3D glasses. Users could access Virtual Console to download and play games originally released on older video game systems, and watch movies or videos on Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube. The 3DS also featured an internet browser.
In all, Nintendo offered six models as part of the 3DS lineup: the 3DS, 3DS XL, 2DS, New 3DS, New 3DS XL, and New 2DS XL. All were released within 1-2 years of one another. The 2DS models axed the 3D display, and the XL models featured larger displays, as the XL moniker indicates. The 2DS XL also featured a clamshell design instead of the 2D’s slate style.
The top 10 bestselling games on the 3DS included Mario Kart 7, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and Pokémon X/Pokémon Y. Those, along with the existing library of more than 1,000 3DS games from Nintendo and third parties, will still be available, according to Nintendo. At least there’s that bit of good news for those who still play games regularly on their 3DS.
The 3DS wasn’t used for just gaming, either. The Louvre museum in Paris had a five-year partnership with Nintendo at one point, in which it used hundreds of 3Ds consoles to replace its older audio guides with something more interactive.
Nintendo has obviously been hugely successful in the handheld console market, and each generation of console has struck a chord with the generation who grew up with it. Was the 3DS your absolute fave or have you long since moved on? Let’s reminisce in the comments.