Nintendo has long said that the Nintendo Switch won't be a direct replacement for the Nintendo 3DS or the Wii U. However, they did finally discuss exactly where the Switch would stand on the market with the 3DS, along with hints about another big possibility for the hybrid system.
Gamespot is reporting that Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima revealed in a new interview with Bloomberg that the Nintendo Switch won't be replacing the 3DS when it hits the market in March of 2017. Instead, he expects that the 3DS will continue to go strong, even if it might take an initial hit when the Switch first arrives on the market, saying...
Thanks to our software, the 3DS hardware is still growing, [...] So that business still has momentum. And certainly rather than being cannibalized by the Switch, we think the 3DS can continue in its own form.
They report that the 3DS sales have actually increased in the last quarter, some in due part to the popularity of the mobile app Pokemon Go, which saw an uptick in sales interest for older Pokemon games on the DS and 3DS, which in turn helped bolster sales of the 3DS. They managed to move more than 2.7 million SKUs in the last quarter. They certainly have no desires whatsoever in killing off such a lucrative selling device.
The Wii U is in a slightly different position, having practically no notable third-party support and selling rather poorly due to lack of proper marketing, an extremely high price and a drought in software support. Even still, Kimishima notes that the Nintendo Switch can still coexist with the Wii U, explaining that the system isn't just another traditional successor to the home console and portable device the way the 3DS was to the DS and the way the Wii U was to the Wii. He mentions that it's about creating a new gaming experience, and that's been one of Nintendo's staples over the past 30 years or so...
We didn't just want a successor to the Wii U or the 3DS. So our original concept was, 'What kind of new experience can we create?' And what we showed this time was an object that's both stationary and one you can take outside to play with anyone you want.
But at least we know that Nintendo has no plans on killing off support for the 3DS or the Wii U when the Switch launches next year.