Nintendo just published their earnings release for the first quarter of the fiscal year. The report outlines how Nintendo’s hardware and software sold from April 1 – June 30. Unsurprisingly the numbers for 3DS were not strong. The aging handheld receives little support these days, and Nintendo has largely neglected it all year. Now, with Switch Lite looming on the horizon, it really feels like 3DS is on its death bed.
3DS breathes its last
According to the new earnings release, 3DS sold just 200,000 units worldwide last quarter. That number is 44.9% lower than last year’s total, and last year’s total was already exceptionally low. Nintendo expected to sell 4 million units of the handheld last fiscal year, which have been a new low. Instead, they sold even less. Nintendo scaled its forecast back to 2.6 million in January, and the real total ended up being 2.55 million.
Nintendo is only forecasting 1 million units sold from April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020. With no major releases planned for the system going forward, even that might be a challenge. It’s had a great life, but 3DS has just about reached the end of its journey. It has sold an impressive 75.28 million units so far, but it likely won’t be able to pass 80 million. Meanwhile, Switch Lite is just around the corner.
Switch Lite fills the void
Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser says Switch Lite isn’t a replacement for 3DS, but frankly, I don’t buy it. Nintendo has always made it a priority to have a cheap, kid-friendly handheld on the market. With 3DS (and 2DS) sales all dried up, Nintendo needs something affordable to fill that handheld space. At $300, the standard Switch is just too expensive for many consumers. This is especially true of families with multiple children. Launching a $200 handheld-only model in time for the new Pokémon will help fill that void and expand the Switch user base.