Nintendo announced the newest addition to the 3DS family with the 2DS XL, a neat middle ground between the affordable Nintendo 2DS and the powerful 3DS XL. But is Nintendo’s latest handheld only delaying the inevitable death of the platform?
While the “death” of the 3DS/2DS is now only a matter of time (the original 3DS system launched in 2011 and has seen numerous iterations since) it seems the release of the new 2DS XL is Nintendo’s last hurrah for the platform.
Don’t be alarmed, I’m not saying that the Nintendo 3DS platform will become obsolete in 2017 or even in 2018, but with the inevitable rise of the Nintendo Switch, especially with developers bringing titles to both the 3DS and Switch (Dragon Quest XI and Fire Emblem Warriors) it’ll only be a matter of time until developers stick strictly to the Switch.
This new 2DS XL release is just for those who have never experienced 3DS games before because of price, specs or a combination of both. The 3DS family will be around for a little while longer because Nintendo has said on multiple occasions they want the 3DS and Switch to live side-by-side. Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and COO, reiterated those sentiments in the press release for the 2DS XL.
“This new addition to Nintendo’s portable hardware line demonstrates our commitment to the hand-held market,” said Fils-Aime. “New Nintendo 2DS XL sports a beautiful clamshell design and offers a great balance between price and performance.”
Now, Nintendo will never admit that the 3DS is on its way out; they are trying to make money, after all, but the breadcrumbs are there. The company's most recent fiscal year earnings report shows 2016 was a banner year for the 3DS.
The company sold 7.27 million hardware units (a seven percent increase) and 55.08 million software units (a 14 percent increase), but most of these sales came before the Nintendo Switch release and a lot went right for the 3DS family in 2016 that not even Nintendo could have saw coming.
The popularity of Pokémon GO led to increased sales of older games in the Pokémon series and drove Nintendo 3DS family hardware sales growth outside of Japan.
Couple that with the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon exclusively for the 3DS and you have all the makings of a sales juggernaut.
And when seven million-plus 3DS/2DS devices are already in possession of gamers, how many more need a new handheld?
When the 2017 report is released, we anticipate the sales numbers across the board for the 3DS family will see a considerable drop. Nintendo plans to release new software for the 3DS in 2017 to mitigate that expected drop in sales. Nintendo will release new Pikmin, Fire Emblem and Kirby games for the 3DS, along with a new IP in Ever Oasis. The 2DS XL is even releasing alongside the aforementioned Pikmin game and Miitopia
But with titles getting the dual-release treatment and the continued focus on the Switch, along with the superior specs of the hardware and software, the 2DS XL is more of a final stopgap before that platform is retired.
The Nintendo 2DS XL will release July 28.
Are you interested in purchasing a Nintendo 2DS XL? Do you think Nintendo should stray away from the 3DS line and focus everything on the Switch? Let us know in the comments section below.