In what could be called a significant blow to the 3DS community, Nintendo announced this morning on February 3rd that they will be discontinuing support for the remaining Nintendo Zones and 3DS Stations throughout Japan. They discontinued support in North America a number of years ago due to low-interest, however, they remained strong in Japan and players were able to obtain exclusive content from these locations for quite some time. The Nintendo Zones, however, was not limited to 3DS or DS hardware, as the Nintendo Switch could also participate in the fun as well.
Nintendo continues to make statements that the Switch did not replace the Nintendo 3DS, however with situations such as this, it’s kind of hard to believe that. This is just one more nail in the coffin for the 3DS and its final days could be among us sooner rather than later. For a handheld, a 9-year lifespan is quite amazing and rivals those of the full-fledged set-top box consoles if it really is on the way out.
Nintendo’s official announcement states that the service will end at all locations as well as the Pokémon Center locations effective February 28th. Personally, I never had a chance to use the Nintendo Zone services when I lived in the United States or here in Japan. As far as the 3DS Stations go, I don’t think I’ve even ever seen one. Either way, it feels that the 3DS is being pushed to the side with the overwhelming success that the Switch has been seeing. Now that Nintendo is discontinuing the Nintendo Zone and 3DS Station services, it’s only a matter of time before Nintendo decides to pull the plug on the system itself and focus all of their efforts on the Nintendo Switch. It’s an obvious and necessary evolution, but that doesn’t mean that we have to like the decision.