The latest financial report from Nintendo (December 31, 2019) proudly touts that the Switch has sold over 50 million units worldwide, among various other statistics surrounding the hybrid platform. As for the aging 3DS however, Nintendo is painting a very grim picture for the future of the handheld family.
In nearly a year, the handheld family only hit 620,000 units sold worldwide. For a platform that’s nearly nine years old and with an incredibly light amount of new releases, the fact that it’s sold over a half-million units is still subjectively impressive. Even so, it’s clear that Nintendo is far more interested in the Switch—which is only natural after all this time.
Here’s a quote on the 3DS’ sales performance from the report:
For Nintendo 3DS, hardware sales totaled 0.62 million units (73.0% decrease on a year-on-year basis), while software sales totaled
4.10 million units (63.0% decrease on a year-on-year basis).
This report did reveal that the aging handheld family is now at 75.71 million units sold worldwide. While it certainly won’t hit 80 million units, 75 million is not bad at all. Keep in mind that the early months of the 3DS’ life were far less than satisfactory, so its comeback story is still one for the books.
So, with sales continuing to plummet, one would expect the announcement for 3DS production to cease would be imminent, right? Well, it’s anyone’s guess at this point.
Back in July 2019, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser confirmed that the Switch Lite, despite being handheld-only, is not a replacement for the 3DS. Still, the fact that the Switch Lite has already managed to sell over 5 million units in under a year seems to beg to differ with that statement.
As of this very moment, the 3DS must still be considered an active platform. But, I’ll be extremely surprised if it’s not discontinued by this time next year. Just take a look at this chart from industry analyst Daniel Ahmad. As of now, the Switch accounts for not just the majority of Nintendo’s revenue streams, but it’s almost entirely carrying the company at this point:
Here is a look at Q3 revenue breakdown for Nintendo.
Nintendo Switch platform revenue now accounts for 96% of the company’s revenue.
3DS and amiibo/classic consoles are dead.
Mobile remains niche despite new MK and Dr Mario games. pic.twitter.com/UD5rYL4sRY
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) January 30, 2020
It goes without saying that the Switch is Nintendo’s bread and butter, and no doubt the company will continue to throw as much into it until it stops being viable. The 3DS will go gently into the night soon enough, but in the meantime, there’s nothing wrong with continuing to enjoy it for all that it has to offer.