It had a good run. After 10 years and a rapid fade into irrelevancy following the runaway success of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo have announced the worldwide end to production of further Nintendo 3DS and 2DS consoles. Confirmed first through Nintendo’s Japanese website and since updated on the official landing pages for the company’s international branches, the current stock of 3DS systems available in stores now will be the final systems made available.
This announcement marks the end of an era in many ways: it’s not just the end of the DS family of systems, but the end of an era for dedicated Nintendo handhelds. Sure, the Nintendo Switch can be played portably, but it isn’t a dedicated handheld, and with no successor to the 3DS planned people looking for a dedicated handheld gaming device will have to rely on the phone in their pockets. Of course, Nintendo are developing some experiences for that, but it isn’t the same.
The Nintendo 3DS was the home of a number of intriguing experiments from the company, in both their major franchises such as the company’s exploration of new gameplay ideas with titles like The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds to more experimental titles like Freakyforms. Thanks to access to the DS library, all the games for that system were available too. Perhaps most disappointing of all, however, is that the 2 screens of these devices, as well as their handheld-only nature, led to certain games being developed that wouldn’t exist on other platforms, and the nurturing of experiences like Miitopia that wouldn’t exist without a dedicated handheld system.
The end of production of Nintendo 3DS units marks the end of an era, not just for Nintendo but gaming as a whole. Even if the console’s relevancy and sales have fallen since the release of the Nintendo Switch, a lot of strong games and an over-3-decade run of dedicated handhelds from Nintendo has come to an end.