Is Nintendo cannibalizing its potential?
In case you’ve been living under a rock lately, Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch, is doing pretty well. Though its library is still small, it has a lot of good things going for it. First-party games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are popular among fans both casual and hardcore alike, units are continuously selling out in retail and online outlets and – if this week’s Direct served as any indication – third-parties are starting to gain more confidence in making games for the platform. But what has become of Nintendo’s other portable console, the 3DS?
For more reasons than just one, it seems as though the handheld is fading into obscurity. Sure, the highly fan-anticipated Metroid: Samus Returns releases today and Pokémon Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon, and a new Ace Attorney are slated to come out in November, but what’s left?
Kirby: Battle Royale is set to debut early next year but the rest of 2018 looks very empty, especially considering the fact that Nintendo just had a Direct focusing on its software. Though it’s very possible that the publisher will have a dedicated 3DS presentation sometime before 2017 ends or early next year, it seems like the system is breathing its last breaths of game support.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to many, considering the Switch’s mobility and popularity. It’s all anyone seems to talk about now in the gaming space in regards to Nintendo and with all the positive reception the hybrid console has been getting, who can blame the publisher for investing more into the Switch than anything else in its portfolio? The house of Mario is a business after all, and businesses need money to stay operational.
So with the 3DS on its last legs, is it even worth having at this point? Should you trade it in to your nearest GameStop and use the two dollar in-store credit to go toward a brand new Switch? The answer to that question ultimately comes down to what you like as a gamer.
If you’re the nostalgic type who has a collection of games dating back to the Commodore 64 era (or not), keeping the system on your desk is a sound choice. The system has an astounding library to choose games to play from, with some notable titles being Fire Emblem: Awakening, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Super Mario 3D Land, Bravely Default, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Mario Kart 7, and three pairs of Pokémon games that released on the platform. This isn’t even including remakes like Star Fox 64 3D, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and Majora’s Mask 3D – all of which are worth another playthrough for all the new gameplay features they implement.
But what if you need the extra cash? Is giving up a 3DS in favor of a Switch really that big of a deal, considering how classics in the vein of the aforementioned Star Fox and Legend of Zelda are bound to make a comeback via the hybrid’s Virtual Console? For the sake of practicality, it is.
When or the go, are you really willing to carry two pieces of hardware around with you? You already have your phone, keys, wallet and other belongings somewhere on you, so there’s really no point in owning two handhelds when you could really only play one at a time. The Switch satisfies that craving for console gaming on the go we were all promised back when the PlayStation Vita came out. Its perfectly capable of standing on its own, even with its limited catalogue of games at the moment.
There’s also the mobile space to consider. With technology improving in smartphones every year (the new iPhone is pushing its AR capabilities in titles like The Machines), the 3DS is going to have a hard time standing out in the face of improved competition in the near future. Nintendo’s best bet to maintain market share is the Switch – there’s no doubt that the company knows that.
The choice is ultimately the consumer’s. At this point one may think that it seems nonsensical to buy a new 3DS, even if it a couple of neat-looking special editions are coming out soon. That being said, the system has a lot of astounding titles in its library that are arguably modern classics. If one thing’s for certain, the handheld’s end is imminent at this point – that can easily be surmised from the console’s list of upcoming releases. Though the Switch has come to rake in the majority of Nintendo’s profit now, the 3DS did good while it lasted.