There's a Reason the Nintendo 3DS is Sticking Around

There's a Reason the Nintendo 3DS is Sticking Around

The Switch's older brother still has a right to a happy, healthy life.

People are really digging the Nintendo Switch. That's great. That's super. Less super is watching Switch fans become irritable over Nintendo's support of the 3DS.

There's still a lot of life in the dual-screened portable, even in a world where the Switch's single screen dominates so many people's portable gaming time. Not everyone feels the same way, though. Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier penned an editorial the other day declaring cool new Nintendo 3DS games are a waste of resources.

"Last Friday, Nintendo released a new WarioWare, the first in nearly ten years. This would be more exciting for hardcore Nintendo fans if it weren’t exclusive to the 3DS," he lamented. He also decried the recent news about Persona Q2 coming to the 3DS instead of the Switch.

WarioWare Gold is great. It's also 3DS-exclusive.

I have a few objections to this criticism against publishers' continued 3DS support. First, Atlus (which is developing Persona Q2, natch) hasn't been shy about backing the aged handheld, so its continued projects hardly come as a surprise. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux are two 2018 releases from Atlus, and Japan is also getting Etrian Odyssey X and Persona Q2 before the year's done. Atlus' steady stream of 3DS releases is a good indication the platform is still very profitable for them (and it's not as if the House of Jack Frost doesn't have any important Switch projects in the works). There's also the small matter of Persona Q2 and Strange Journey Redux being map-heavy games perfectly suited for the 3DS's twin screens.

Second, Nintendo's already outlined the reasons it plans to support the Nintendo 3DS into "2019 and beyond." Put simply, it's a cost-effective machine with a great library. In an ideal world, Nintendo would give us simultaneous releases of 3DS and Switch games, a la Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. But if Nintendo wants to keep a few 3DS exclusives behind to keep people interested in the handheld, I understand its reasoning. The Nintendo DS wasn't supposed to usurp the Game Boy Advance, but then it totally did. A few solid system exclusives like WarioWare Gold is a good way to maintain the 3DS's life force.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker's re-release is on Switch as well as 3DS, but the Cap is an outlier. He's a ramblin' 'shroom.

Plus, given the popularity of the Switch, Nintendo probably wouldn't hesitate to drop the 3DS like a hot brick if it wasn't making money anymore. Look how quicky the Wii U became an un-console as soon as the Switch enjoyed its earliest sips of success.

Finally, suggesting Nintendo ought to drop a very inexpensive system to pour everything it has into an expensive system is—well, it's classist. The Switch is $299 USD without a game, and that number goes up exponentially outside the United States (it's $379 in Canada). That price isn't dropping anytime soon, but the 3DS has a whole line of differently-priced models and several pack-in game options. But Nintendo and Atlus' ongoing 3DS support means the handheld's more than a budget-priced has-been for low-income families.

The Nintendo 3DS is a great little system that I still show lots of love to thanks to Atlus, Nintendo, and other developers who aren't overly-eager to jump ship. Heck, it took the 3DS quite some time to build up its momentum: Why slide a brick wall in front of it before it's finished offering us everything it has?

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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