The End Of An Era: RIP 3DS


1/25/17 The Switch needs to be alot more than the Wii U’s successor to have any relevance. The little machine is already turning heads and raising eyebrows, and people are wondering what this means for Nintendo’s handheld business.

Regardless of what they say, the Switch is intended to replace the U as well as the 3DS going forward. It makes no sense for Nintendo to create 2 completely new and seperate products in their next generation of hardware, and my reasoning is as follows:

Past

. Nintendo has not performed very well in the console arena and has struggled to gain much 3rd party support since the N64 (not counting the Wii) which is over 2 decades of underperforming consoles.

What has propped Nintendo up this whole time has been (barring the Wii) obviously it’s handhelds. When it comes to handhelds, I believe it would be rather pointless for them to continue releasing them in the vein of the 3DS, a dedicated portable gaming system.

Present

. Currently, what alot of people seem to forget, is that Nintendo isn’t really competing with Microsoft and Sony, the latter of whom has unsuccessfully challenged their handheld dominance and come short for the same reason that Nintendo is unlikely to release another dedicated handheld- that reason being the mobile gaming market which is in fact Nintendo’s biggest threat at present.

Face it – the 3DS is an ugly plastic brick that has some great games on it and really not much else. The games were justification enough, but these days if you go onto Play Store you will see some console quality games like XCOM: Enemy Within, Final Fantasy, GTA delivering these experiences on your mobile phone or tablet.

Even now, the difference in performance between mobile technology and more traditional hardware is becoming more and more trivial, and will continue to do so in the future. Bigger and better games are coming to mobile platforms, and Nintendo’s business, while still strong, is under threat by the wide availability of experiences hitherto available only on a dedicated device.

Future:

I think, in order for the Switch to succeed, Nintendo needs to focus on it and show us why we need it like they did with the 3DS.

I am never an early adopter, and I dont own a current gen console unless you count the 3DS. If the Switch lives up to it’s potential, it will replace my 3DS(probably game the most on this and my laptop lately) as well as my Xbox 360 (used mostly for streaming etc. due to lack of games), and by the looks of it, my tablet as well which I use mostly for internet browsing and social media.

It isn’t a console, or a handheld, but a solution to your gaming needs. A convenient one-size-fits-all device.

There have been times when I am engrossed in a game on my 3DS and thought, “Man, I wish I could play this on my TV” and times that I’ve been unable to use the TV wanting to dive back into Dark Souls and end up playing 3DS games instead. The Switch will basically solve this problem,

And also, I dont think it’s insignificant that it looks like a tablet sans-JoyCons, this belies its biggest threat being the mobile gaming platform.

So, this nonsense about “Nintendo needs the 3DS to fall back on if the Switch fails” is unfounded, and sounds oddly familiar. Going forward, something like the 3DS cannot compete with smartphones, which is why we are seeing Nintendo IP in strange places.

This doesn’t mean that Ninty will be relying on a single product (lol) but rather the Switch will be it’s flagship and what I am guessing they will do is:

1) Release a handheld-only, dockless Switch – this would likely reduce the cost of the system significantly (correction: lightsaber.ninja (RavenPuff) pointed out that the dock itself really doesnt do much, so not really) for those who simply want something to replace their 3DS and/or tablet, with the dock sold seperately (at a premium ) should they wish to “upgrade”

2) Release a budget TV only version sans-tablet. This would be the cheapest version and I think would be excitingly accessible and dramatically reduce the cost of the system. Essentially the hardware would be permadocked and there would be no way to upgrade your system, like with the above handheld only version.

This is pure speculation, but it makes sense. A unified game library with more ways to play. Dont want the added cost of an extra screen, just want the games? get the home version. Want some games on the go, without shelling out extra for a dock? Get the console only version, and get the dock later if you want. Don’t have a TV? well, you dont need one right away.

And now, the original Nintendo Switch:

To conclude, I would like to say that the 3DS will naturally receive support for the next year or so, Nintendo probably has a few games waiting in the wings already, but with the Switch on the horizon, I feel the system’s days are numbered, and with it, handheld gaming in general.

What do you think? Am I smoking my socks? Tell me why!

(edit: adding links to the articles that got this thought process rolling)

http://tay.kinja.com/the-switch-is-not-a-handheld-for-now-1791481791 (Wiim)

http://tay.kinja.com/counterpoint-ns-is-a-handheld-1791489847 (lightsaber.ninja (RavenPuff))

and the research I should have done on the dock:

http://www.polygon.com/2017/1/13/14268270/what-does-the-nintendo-switch-dock-do

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