Nintendo has announced plans to discontinue the New 3DS, the smaller, customizable variant of its New 3DS line.
The New 3DS features removable front and back plates users can swap out for different designs and colorways — while the larger New 3DS XL has a preset design. Aside from aesthetic changes, the New 3DS line introduced better stereoscopic 3D viewing, bumped-up processing power and RAM, and a C-stick for added navigational control for some games.
Nintendo will no longer produce the New 3DS for the Japanese market, according to a message posted on the company's Japanese website. Nintendo discontinued both the original 3DS and 3DS XL back in 2014.
The move essentially leaves Japan bereft of compact-sized 3DS variant that boasts 3D graphics. Players in Japan who want to play 3DS games in a smaller handheld device would have to settle with the 2DS, essentially a 3DS without 3D. They can still get the New Nintendo 3DS XL as a recourse, surely, but the forthcoming New 2DS XL seems like it will come as a replacement for the larger console altogether.
Nintendo Backs Down On 3D
For years, Nintendo has reduced its focus on the 3D capabilities of the 3DS line and instead oriented the attention to the console's games lineup. While the 3DS delivered titles that excellently made use of the 3D feature, such as Super Mario 3D Land, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, and so much more, some more recent games omit the feature altogether, as is the case with Super Mario Maker for 3DS.
Nintendo seemingly cutting off 3D in the long run seems to come as another death knell for 3D in general. Earlier in January, leading TV manufacturers LG and Sony announced they would stop producing 3D TVs, essentially issuing a death sentence to the once-beloved but gimmicky 3D.
More specifically, though, it could also be because Nintendo's smaller 3DS variant hasn't sold that well against its larger counterparts. As Ars Technica notes, the company only sold 120,000 units of the New 3DS in Japan, compared with 1.38 million New 3DS XL units it sold in the most recent fiscal year.
Focusing On The Nintendo Switch
It remains a question if Nintendo intends to also shut down New 3DS production in other parts of the world. If it does, better take it as a sign that Nintendo is finally retiring the feature that made the 3DS wildly popular and putting that energy and focus on its new console, the Switch. We've seen Nintendo drop Gameboy Advance support in favor of its shinier new handheld, the DS. The same thing could happen to the 3DS line.
Do you think that's a good thing? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!