With the Nintendo Switch taking over the marketplace with strong sales, incomparable dominance and a strong software line-up, one would assume that Nintendo has done nothing but forgotten the Nintendo 3DS. Well, you would be wrong to assume that because the numbers show that the 3DS is far from dead.
In a press release, the company revealed that the Nintendo 3DS had its best month yet within the last two years in December, 2017. The system managed to move more than 750,000 units in the United States alone throughout the month of December. The press release notes that this was a 27% increase in year-over-year performance, meaning that just over a quarter of consumers interested in the handheld gaming market showed higher interest in the 3DS after the Nintendo Switch launched as opposed to before.
That's a seriously mean feat given that the Nintendo Switch most definitely encroaches upon the 3DS' territory. Nevertheless, the momentum for the handheld managed to carry through the fall season and bring the total U.S. install base to more than 21 million units, thus proving that the 3DS still has a lot of life left in it.
I suppose it should come as no surprise that Nintendo's latest Direct still addressed the 3DS and even announced a couple of games for the system due for release throughout 2018.
All together, Nintendo managed to move 2.6 million SKUs in the United States alone throughout December when accounting for the sales of the Nintendo Switch, SNES Classic Edition and the Nintendo 3DS.
A lot of people assumed that the 3DS was done for once the Switch was announced back in late 2016. The assumption was that the new hybrid console would cannibalize the 3DS' sales in the mobile space while creating its own market in the home console space. That didn't happen.
Instead, Nintendo continued to support the 3DS by releasing additional games and maintaining strong support throughout 2017.
This upcoming year the Big N has plans on working with other publishers to release games like Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux, along with Detective Pickachu making its debut in the West for the very first time starting in March, and there was just the recent release of Kirby Battle Royale, which is a party game affair for the handheld system.
Basically, Nintendo seems to understand that even with some functionality overlap between the 3DS and Nintendo Switch, the real selling point for both systems is in the diverse line-up of software that appeals to a widely distinct market of gamers. The real question is how long Nintendo will continue to produce compelling software for the 3DS and how long will the hardware continue to sell with its current momentum? I suppose for now Nintendo is likely happy that people are still buying the portable device even with the Switch dominating the marketplace.