The Nintendo 3DS has led a very interesting life. While it had just about the rockiest start of any Nintendo handheld, the tides surely turned after a few months. Now, it sits at nearly 80 million units sold worldwide. February 26, 2020, marked the official ninth year that the 3DS has been on the market, with it first releasing in Japan back in 2011 on that date.
While the 3DS was initially expected to crumble due to being vastly inferior to that of the PS Vita, it surely proved that Nintendo’s hardware prowess is not one to be doubted. As impressive as the Vita was, it didn’t stand a chance against Nintendo’s little handheld.
Within the nine years, the 3DS has seen five extra variations, making it one of the most redesigned systems Nintendo has in its collection. Still, they all helped keep interested high in the platform as a whole. With the Wii U having faltered just a year after the 3DS, it was Nintendo’s little handheld which then became the premier platform for a good while. It basically carried Nintendo into the Switch where things finally started looking up for the company as a whole.
Continuing the legacy
Fast-forward to now, and things for the 3DS are extremely quiet. While Nintendo has yet to formally cease production, it doesn’t really talk about the little handheld much anymore. It’s even a tad difficult to pick up a brand-new real 3DS from Nintendo. The only model being actively listed as new on its US website is the New 2DS XL. Amazon still has different models kicking around, though you’ll see a lot simply listed as “Renewed”.
At this point, Nintendo has been leaning heavily into the world of the Switch. In summer 2019, a new model was introduced—the Switch Lite. While it was officially mentioned to not be a successor to the 3DS, its handheld-only design has led to the Lite now attracting the same type of buyers that got hooked onto the 3DS in the first place. So, even if it’s unofficially, the Lite really is the next step in the world of Nintendo handhelds.