3DS Nintendo

Nintendo President Says Nintendo 3DS Future Is Uncharted Territory

Tatsumi Kimishima recently spoke at the Corporate Management Policy Briefing and said that the Nintendo 3DS is continuing to sell extremely well despite the newer Nintendo Switch on the market. He also added that the future of the system is currently in uncharted territory. However, Nintendo Co., Ltd. Senior Executive Officer Ko Shiota also added that “Regarding [future hardware] development, we have not yet decided which direction to steer towards, but we have a variety of possibilities under consideration.”

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66 comments

  1. Uncharted territory? Come on Kimmy, it really wasn’t that long ago that you said there was no worries and 3DS would get so much support!!!

    GBA to DS all over again my friends ;)

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I actually re read the statements he has said, and it more sounds like what he is talking about is the future of the 3ds itself like a successor, or a new model. When you put the quote in that context it makes much more scene. I don’t think nintendo is really sure what they will be doing with the 3ds yet

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      2. This goes back to Iwata. There was once a quote of his where he said they would gauge the market to see if consumers would want Nintendo to focus on only one device in the future. Now is that future.

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      3. You could be right but i bet that Nintendo somewhere is at least considering another 3ds especially since it is still selling so well after all these years. I remember Kimashima once saying he wants to drive Nintendo profits back to the ds and wii days and you do not do that with only one console

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      4. Profits for just the game business or the company as a whole? Because theme parks, movies, and smartphone games will rake in a ton. This is likely why Iwata started branching out. Also let’s not forget charging for the Switch’s online and the fact it’ll be the only choice for people that want new Mario, Zelda, Pokémon, etc.

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      5. Ok you actually convinced me about profits and Nintendo doesn’t need a second system to be really successful but it doesn’t hurt to have one. but you lost me by comparing the 3ds sales to switch sales because the 3ds has been on the market for a lot longer meaning more people own a 3ds and aren’t going to buy another one

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      6. Oh and even with the base 2DS model being dirt cheap the Switch outsold the 3DS 2 to 1 last year so don’t bother bringing up price. The people who wait to buy consoles for years will do the same with the Switch anyway when that becomes cheap too.

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      7. Oh, and unlike the 3DS the Switch didn’t need a huge pricecut in its first year so that clearly shows the great interest in the platform by the public regardless of the current price tag which is funny because the 3DS was $50 cheaper and was almost seen as too expensive.

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    1. I think they just aren’t sure what to do with the 3DS line because the Switch basically made it obsolete. Do they need the 3DS or a successor when the Switch can pretty much do most of what the 3DS did? That’s what they’re thinking on now. What do they do with the 3DS line? The Gameboy and DS family have done so well over they years so I imagine it’s not an easy decision.

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    1. Why should they? If Nintendo is making good money from low cost tech then let them keep it on the market. The PS4 is doing really well for Sony. Should Sony retire the console now that it’s in it’s fifth year?

      The library of games on the 3DS are amazing. It’s easy to see why the 3DS is selling so well even to this day.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Look at the 3DS now. Pre-Switch era, they were selling over 20-40K periodically. Now we’re full into the first year of the Switch, hell, not even the first 5 months in and the 3DS is selling around 10K, barely holding on over that mark. Plus, we need all the games on the Switch we can get and let it be the premier system, no more secondary hardware because one of them has both markets covered which is beneficial for development, costs and consumer price. Everything will and should be focused in one place.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You’re confused by the title of this article. They didn’t talk about the future of the 3DS, the question was about whether they intend to release a successor after the 3DS is retired.

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      1. And the simple answer is no. Why should they when the Switch, home/portable hybrid console mind you, already has both fronts covered. It won’t make sense to make yet another portable console with the Switch so they would cannibalize each other. Look at how the Vita turned out trying to emulate PS3/4 with so many watered ports. It’s not a good idea to keep both at this point. Now it’s either one or the other. You can’t have both of the same classes anymore.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. To service the lower cost segment of the market. Switch doesn’t have both fronts covered, the more affordable segment of the market is an important part of their business which the 3DS is servicing.

        Vita is a bad example. That was a high cost device. Look at the how the 3DS is doing alongside the Switch. Keeping it around doesn’t cannibalise more than it adds by servicing a market segment the Switch won’t reach.

        Really the more interesting question is how long they’ll keep the 2/3DS line going. It’s doing a job the Switch can’t, and indeed making a new system to do that would be tricky and risky. I think they’re going to keep 3DS alive for quite some time longer than people might expect.

        As for a successor, I think it’s inevitable Nintendo will eventually show up with a new interesting concept. And a new pocketable device is not out of the question even with Nintendo Switch around. The big question is “When?”, and “How far into the Switch life”, and judging by their comments it’s going to be a while off. Between now and then I think we can expect the 2/3DS to continue serving the market the Switch can’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That totally depends on your perspective.
        Nintendo’s continued support of the 2/3DS isn’t based on subjective relevancy but based on whether there is a market for it. Until Nintendo has a different product for the lower cost market segment there will still be a market for 3DS line.

        So until they show up with a $180 SKU of the Switch that segment of the market isn’t serviced by the Switch. And the moment you’ll be able to buy a Switch SKU for $180 is going to be a number of years off.

        The only part of the 3DS market the Switch is covering is part of the n3DSXL market. If you look at the sales data 3DS sales have only decreased 9% despite its age and the Switch release.

        There’s no reason to defend the 3DS line, this isn’t meant as such. It’s just an explanation of the current situation and the purpose the 3DS line still serves (of which you seem oblivious).

        I get that you wish for its demise and not having to buy another system to not miss out, but your view of it’s existence as a thread to your precious flow of games is hardly justified looking at the Switch’s library and the extent of 3DS development at Nintendo. Almost everything is already focused on the Switch, the 3DS doesn’t have to die for that to happen.

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  2. Well, it’s clear that they talk about their future plans, and a possible 3ds successor. But what this successor would offer is still ”uncharted territory”. But for the timebeing…long live the 3DS!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Unlikely. Putting the Switch hardware in a smaller package is going to be more expensive rather than more affordable. In that case it’d better wait until it’s cheaper to manufacture the Switch. But it’s not Nintendo-like to drop the price of the console a lot (they rather do bundles). So it’s not likely the Switch is going to service lower cost segment of the market any time soon.

        If you read the Q&A they explained the hardware requirements for a handheld, hybrid or static console are all quite different. They said they’re still considering a number of possibilities and which direction they’ll take.

        To be fair introducing a new system is risky. It has to differentiate itself enough to be interesting and shouldn’t come too close to the Switch price range. It also has to start from scratch again with install base and games. Previous handhelds have covered the games part of that with being able to play previous handheld games. But that would require a direct successor for the DS line (two screens) which I don’t think is more interesting than just redesigning the system to keep it fresh like they have done with the 3DS.

        I think for the forseeable future the 2/3DS is going to be the best option they have to service the lower cost market. I wouldn’t be surprised to see yet another redesign of that system in the future. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s going to be another Pokémon game on 3DS either.

        Keeping that system around is far too convenient for Nintendo at the moment. It’s probably going to chug along for far longer than most Switch focused people think.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lol I guess I was wrong about that being a possibility. However, is that all you have to say? It’s not really a big point in my comment. You agree with the rest?

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      3. He won’t. He expects the handheld market to migrate to the more expensive Switch because it’s portable, ignoring the handheld market is mostly comprised of gamers that want a cheaper alternative to the more powerful home consoles.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The 2DS and 3DS will fall into irrelevancy in 2019 at the latest. This year will see some of the last games finally being localized to the west. I still believe a smaller portable only Switch could be in the cards as the first major revision. Price could go down as it wouldn’t need any of the hardware for connecting to the TV or detachable Joy-Con. It would be like a 2DS for the Switch in that regard. Cutting price by cutting out certain hardware aspects.

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      5. “The 2DS and 3DS will fall into irrelevancy in 2019 at the latest.” That totally depends on your perspective.
        Nintendo’s continued support of the 2/3DS isn’t based on subjective relevancy but based on whether there is a market for it. Until Nintendo has a different product for the lower cost market segment there will still be a market for 3DS line.

        A significantly enough less expensive Switch is much more difficult than you think. Making the hardware size smaller is going to make it much more expensive. Even if you compensate with no dock, no detachable Joy-Con and an even smaller screen it wouldn’t hit the intended lower cost market in the upcoming years. (It doesn’t need to service the n3DS XL market, the Switch can cover that. It’s more the 2DS(XL) and n3DS market.)

        I do agree it’s an interesting concept. It would be great to have a less expensive version of the Switch. It would make their goal to have multiple Switch systems in each household easier to achieve. It’s just that it’s very difficult to get the Switch hardware to a $€120-180 price point. At least, not in the upcoming couple of years. And that’s the most important factor in this.

        If they can bridge that gap might possible though, but I wouldn’t expect a system like that until at least 3 years from now. Especially considering their answer to this question.

        Like they said they are still exploring the possibilities. And this possibility would require them to keep the 2/3DS around for at least 3 more years, at least on “life support”. :-p

        You know, I’m not against the idea as a whole, there are certainly a lot of benefits that come from it. Especially now the Switch is such a success. I’m just saying that it’s not likely to happen any time soon. If this is the path they take it’s going to be several years before we see it materialise.

        I think, however, that the Joy-Con are a very valuable and integral part of the Switch (like the Wii Remote was to the Wii) and losing that part would be unfortunate. So if they go this route I’d expect it to still support disconnected Joy-Con and TV-Mode even if they can’t be attached to the system. (It’ll need it’s own separately sold dock though: with the control sticks in the way there’s just no way you’d be able to elegantly connect it with the original dock. But the other way around should work so it’s not a big deal for multi Switch households.)

        Anyway, really the biggest hurdle is to bridge the time gap until this becomes a viable $180 or less option. $199,99 would be stretch as an introduction price. For the upcoming years they’ll have to rely on 3DS keeping that important part of their market satisfied.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It’ll be irrelevant as all the new games will be on Switch, not 3DS. Wikipedia says the GBA wasn’t fully discontinued until around 2010 but I think you and I both know it was pretty much irrelevant around 2006.

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      7. Again, it depends on your perspective. And the 3DS line is covering a much larger part of Nintendo’s revenue than the GBA did in 2006, let alone 2010. It’s not at that point yet at all.

        Once a $180 Switch Mini is announced if that’s what’s going to happen it’s time to talk about irrelevancy and discontinuation.

        So what did you think of the rest I suggested? About the requirements and timeframe of such a system?

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      8. The thing is I’ve never expected a “Switch mini” until holiday 2019 at the earliest. That should be more than enough time and by that point like I’ve said the 3DS would be close to irrelevant. When we heard the 3DS made up 50% that was only including one month of the Switch being out and it made up about 27%. When the fiscal year ends in March I expect these numbers will have shifted radically especially if we consider that the Switch sold double what the 3DS did in 2017.
        https://www.statista.com/statistics/262074/worldwide-sales-of-the-nintendo-3ds-since-2004/

        The market has spoken. The higher price of the Switch isn’t hindering anything.

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      9. Holiday 2019 is less than 2 years from now, that’s too soon for the hardware (smaller so more expensive but cheaper without dock and detachable Joy-Con) the to enter that price range. It’s also not out of the question Nintendo would release such a product in the same timeframe as the Switch itself (around March instead of November). Like I said, 3 years from now is more realistic also considering the development timeframe, considering their answer that they havent picked a direction to take yet.

        I’m talking about the current numbers that just released about the first 9 months of this fiscal year (April trough December). You shouldn’t look at the numbers relative to Switch but to the portion of the complete market the 3DS line services. That has hardly changed, in fact it was doing better this holiday season than last year.

        Obviously the Switch, being a hit that just released, has a huge share of the total sales itself. That doesn’t mean that it took away the share the 3DS had. Just that the total sales of hardware increased massively for Nintendo.

        The 3DS sales have only dropped 9% year over year. So that’s not at all a steep decline yet.
        Obviously the hardly affected 3DS market tells a different story.

        If the higher price wasn’t hindering anything there would have been a far steeper decline. A higher price always hinders adoption. That’s just how things work.

        You see? These are two totally different markets. One being early adopters and one being late majority.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. We’ll see who ends up right. At the end of the day what matters most is the games and all of them will be on Switch. The big one being Pokémon. At that point people won’t care.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. :-) I don’t really care about who’s right to be honest, I like talking about it and considering all aspects of designing a product like this. So thanks for the conversation!

        From a enthusiast gamer’s point of view that’s how it is yeah. But most enthusiast gamers aren’t in the lower cost market. The reason they’d buy a smaller version of the Switch is mainly the fact that it’s smaller. :-)

        Anyway, who knows? The original concept of the NX was a platform of multiple devices so maybe there will be other concepts we haven’t even thought of in the works at Nintendo. If there’s anything they have it’s creativity to think of new concepts. Switch isn’t going to be their current system forever, so who knows what they’ll come up with next! ^.^

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Nintendo is not one to just repeat the same but more powerful. It would be very surprising if the next console would be just the same thing but more powerful. That’s going to be a revision.

        The next system will likely have something different. But since they want the Switch to have a longer than traditional life cycle it’s going to be a good while before we see a new system like that. If there won’t be a Switch Mini their next pocket handheld concept will arrive first.

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      13. Game Boy > Game Boy Color > Game Boy Advance. I expect the same thing with the Switch.

        Also what I mean is there’s no way they can go back to a stationary home console after the portable freedom of the Switch. There may be some grand new feature but the base concept will still be hybrid in nature.

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      14. By the way, he was talking about a single architecture for their devices. not just a single device. The next systems whether handheld, mini Switch or something else will undoubtedly run on the same architecture as the Switch so they can easily integrate with each other.

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      15. It has to if it’s a Switch. The market for the cheaper product is almost exactly the same as Nintendo Labo. If it doesn’t support Labo you loose another huge part of its viability to that market.

        It doesn’t have to support Labo out of the box. It’ll need to support detached Joy-Con anyway so it can just use Joy-Con. I was talking about inserting the system into the creations. This isn’t nearly as hard to do as the rest.

        Of course you’d need to buy at least one set of Joy-Con though. THAT would be the price of getting the cheaper system. (Just like needing to buy a dock to enable TV-Mode.)

        You see that building an ecosystem like that isn’t easy? You really can’t just say “well too bad it isn’t compatible” because it could defeat a huge part of the purpose or viability of the product. This is why like they said, they are still exploring the possibilities.

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      16. Then the standard Switch is all we’ll see then. Clearly it’s selling and since it’ll be the only place to play the new Pokémon games people will have to upgrade.

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      17. Not necessarily, there are many options available, from wholly separated dedicated handhelds to smaller companion systems to the Switch utilising Joy-Con but not running the same games to systems that do run (some to all) of the same games like the concept you proposed.

        One thing we can be sure about is that there will be a replacement for the 3DS line to cover Nintendo’s whole market. And really the more it ties in with the Switch the better. That was the idea of the NX concept from the start.

        I’m just pointing out that there isn’t a straightforward answer to what that replacement will be and having fun working out and thinking through the multiple possibilities.

        Like I said, this is exactly why Nintendo is evaluating their options to this regard as well. ;-)

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      1. I think people are going to be very surprised how long.. As long as it serves a purpose for their business it’s going to stay around. And Switch isn’t going to service that lower cost market any time soon.

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    1. I wouldn’t be surprised. And when the Switch has matured a bit they might eventually introduce a new pocketable device. You can count on Nintendo to come up with brand new concepts, so there will be something eventually. But judging by their comments they’re still early in the process.

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  3. So this is less about the 3DS and more about whether they will make a new handheld after it? Got it. If a new handheld is in the works, I surmise it will share some, if not alot of, games with Switch. Expect dual releases of games for Switch and whatever the hell name they use for their next handheld.

    As for using the Switch Mini idea to say there won’t be a new handheld after 3DS, a Switch Mini that’s small, compact, can fit in your pants’s pocket, be cheaper than a home console, and not have a dock in the package, that is effectively a handheld, guys. lol So you aren’t disproving someone’s point about there possibly being a future handheld with such a line but merely proving their point.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly!! A possible 3ds successor would also offer 3DS backwards compatibility and obviously, two screens. We talk about nearly 80 mil potential buyers here. That successor could also offer switch compatibility. The Switch would’t get harmed that way and the 3DS line would also exist, both in one console.

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    1. A Switch Mini is too expensive to be a 3DS successor. Because of that and the size of the Joy-Con a Switch Mini is not very likely. Why would you want a more expensive Switch with a smaller screen that is going to have Joy-Con sticking out. (Making them smaller is absolutely out of the question.) The size of the Switch is determined by the Joy-Con. An XL version is also not very likely (if you want that you’d play on the TV). Multiple SKUs are expensive so expect any Switch redesigns to have roughly the same screen size.

      A possible new dedicated handheld somewhere in the future could make use of Joy-Con by turning them sideways though..

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  4. They’re at a really interesting point in their history. Their console now doubles as a portable device and their last portable is aging and ready to be phased out. They really don’t NEED to have a handheld at this point but not continuing risks losing that market. If the next home console isn’t portable and they end their portable line then they may have a hard time bringing that market back. The 3DS has little competition. The Vita is only supported by smaller developers, especially Japanese ones where the Vita is still alive and well. The Vita has been slowly fading out, so if the 3DS goes then the whole handheld option is basically lost. If people go on without handhelds for a few years it’ll be hard to convince them they need one again. It’ll be interesting to see what they decide to do. Personally I rarely take my Switch off the dock so I’d welcome a new handheld device but if they don’t continue it I’ll just probably bring the Switch with me, just probably not as often.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Just to service that pocketable handheld market segment and that lower cost market segment the 2/3DS is covering they’ll probably continue with the 3DS line for quite a while. Given some time I can see a good number of options for successors once the Switch has matured a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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