No, the Nintendo 3DS is not dead. At least, that’s what current Nintendo president Doug Bowser has to say about the handheld system. While the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite have been undeniably popular, a growing number of fans are likely concerned about the fate of the company’s other handheld.
“We continue to look at the 3DS family, both hardware and games, as a strong entry point for some consumers,” Bowser said in an interview with The Verge. “And we’re seeing that. As long as consumer demand is there, we’ll continue to provide both hardware and software on the front.”
Despite this statement, fans may be skeptical. One might struggle to remember the last big 3DS announcement; Nintendo Directs seem to be all about what shiny new things are coming to the Nintendo Switch these days.
Nintendo’s own New Releases page for the Nintendo 3DS paints a dire picture: The newest title on that list is Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn, an upgraded port of the Nintendo Wii game Kirby’s Epic Yarn. When the newest game on your official list is more than half a year old (and a Wii port to boot), it wouldn’t be an entirely unfair statement to raise concerns about the Nintendo 3DS as a platform.
The Verge asked Bowser outright when it would be “appropriate to say” that the 3DS is dead as a platform, but his response had a measure of confidence for the tinier handheld’s health, at least for the coming months.
“We’re certainly not going to say [that the Nintendo 3DS is dead] today,” Bowser replied. “I think time will tell. We will continue to support 3DS this holiday and into 2020.”
“Continuing to support” and “releasing new games,” though, appear to be entirely different things. So far, Nintendo’s page for upcoming games lists only a single title for the Nintendo 3DS: Shovel Knight: King of Cards. Whether we’ll see any new releases in 2020 (and whether or not the 3DS will even be a console of note in 2021) is something that we’ll discover in the coming months, but the situation certainly doesn’t look good.