How Much Longer Does The 3DS Have?

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Checking Club Nintendo’s front page today reminded me to look up the 3DS’s release calendar going into 2015 wondering if it felt light. 2014 was already a little light for the system and I’m wondering if this is going to be its last year of significance on the market.

We don’t know much, and we shouldn’t this early into the year — there’s a good chance we’ll get a Nintendo Direct this month, but what we do know is a lot less than we know about software lineups for other platforms. Then you’ve got the new model and rumblings of Nintendo’s next hardware cycle which could emerge over the next two or three years.

As far as North American retail 3DS releases go we know about an enhanced port of Devil Survivor 2, a Majora’s Mask port, Monster Hunter 4, and Codename S.T.E.A.M. This is compared to Nintendo’s Wii U lineup that includes KirbyYoshi, ZeldaStar FoxMario Maker, and more. A couple years ago we were complaining about the Wii U’s dearth of releases in the face of abundant 3DS games, but I think it’s safe to say Nintendo has finally shifted its production pipeline in the other direction.

That says something about Nintendo’s ability to support two platforms these days but we’ve been over that subject. It’s probably also telling of where we are in the 3DS’s lifespan. The system turns four this spring — about the same age the original DS was when the DSi launched. The 3DS followed it two years later. Here we are with a new 3DS model likely to hit North America this year.

Even accounting for that, if you look back at the year before the 3DS came out, the original DS and DSi seemed to have more major releases than are currently on the horizon for the 3DS. Several significant games like Dragon Quest IX, a main Pokemon game, Ghost Trick, and a Professor Layton came out that year. Several more niche but still great DS games came out in 2011. I remember feeling odd buying so many good new games for a machine I’d owned for so long. The DS however was a much stronger platform commercially than the 3DS is right now. I don’t agree with those saying the 3DS is a failure though, it’s healthy. It just doesn’t have the dominance that allowed its predecessor to stay so strong so late in its life.

I bought almost every significant DS game that came out in the system’s sixth and seventh years, but I don’t actually see myself buying anything currently slated for the 3DS. That’s due more to my tastes than the games themselves, but it tells me where I am with it right now. Then again I would definitely be comfortable continuing to play Smash Bros. on it along with my backlog of Virtual Console games.

I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a few 3DS announcements in the Nintendo Direct’s bound to come between now and E3. One of those announcements will be the new model, followed by the 3DS version of Xenoblade. A localization of the Dragon Quest VII port wouldn’t hurt. A year from now though I expect to hear talk about Nintendo’s next handheld.

BULLETS:

  • I swear if North America don’t get that pearl white new 3DS…
  • Discussion on the cause of the North American anime distribution industry’s woes. http://t.co/hXgEfPhObv
  • New Ghost in the Shell (no not that one). http://t.co/qDtMZJsYjC
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One thought on “How Much Longer Does The 3DS Have?

  1. X says:

    Isn’t the short line of fresh titles coming to the “old” 3DS really a thing to be expected? After all, what I saw 2015 for the platform as since the announcement of the new model was a transition year preceding the unavoidable moment the upgraded system will take it all and the support for the old one will cease. Bulking up the 3DS to make it capable of running games like Xenoblade in my opinion was a move indicating it is bound to stay for a while along with all the exclusives about to surface after 2015, when all regions will adapt the new model.

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