Viewpoint: The Future of Nintendo: 3DS vs. Switch

It’s that time of year where most of the gaming headlines are focused on this year’s upcoming E3 event, wondering how Microsoft and Sony will approach their respective conferences. It’s no secret that we’ll already see more on Project Scorpio and Sony are keeping quiet as it stands. As for Nintendo though, their approach is the same as it has been for the last couple of years; we’ll do our own thing.

Nintendo seem to be a law unto themselves lately, keeping a distance from the constant arms race that Microsoft and Sony are engaged in an attempt to outdo one another. Whilst they will have a strong presence at E3, Nintendo have elected again to have a special E3 Nintendo Direct presentation instead. Undoubtedly, this will have many announcements for the Switch including more on Super Mario Odyssey and other familiar franchises.

But whilst the Switch may take up the majority of the conference where will the 3DS fit in, or the recently face lifted 2DS? You see the Switch allows gamers to enjoy their latest titles in various ways; docked or undocked, inside or outside the home. So with that in mind, what does the future hold for Nintendo? Will they look to wind down their record-breaking handheld console in favour of the Switch, or allow both to flourish in their own right?

New 2DS

Nintendo face an interesting problem here as the Switch has proven to be very popular already. Many had questioned its popularity, but it has already flown off the shelves with limited availability in many regions. Granted, the launch line-up was limited but there are already some enticing games on the horizon which Switch owners can look forward to playing. Yet out of the blue with little warning, the new-look 2DS was announced which raises questions for both the 3DS and Switch.

The 2DS now falls in line with the tried and tested design of the 3DS, no longer looking like a doorstop. From the promotional images that have been released, it wouldn’t surprise me if many favoured one of these new units over the 3DS. With 3D gaming being a trend that has well and truly passed, it wouldn’t surprise me if many opted for this version or if Nintendo did start to end production of the 3DS itself.

But even then, does the Switch not offer a more viable option for mobile gaming? With the ability to take your home titles with you whilst you travel, you’re not getting a watered down version of the title to fit the portable platform. Granted, the 3DS/2DS would be more convenient size-wise and potentially have a longer battery life, but wouldn’t you rather have a better experience on a bigger and better screen?

These are questions purely based on the actual units themselves, but when you think about the games line-up it would surely make more sense to opt for the Switch. Personally, I own a Switch and have owned a 2DS and 3DS in the past. Even at this early stage, when the catalogue is relatively small, I would prefer to have a Switch and use that for portable gaming. Why would I need two devices that can offer the same function?


For example when Super Mario Odyssey comes out for the Switch, would you need a Mario game to come out on the handheld platform? I couldn’t see much demand for handheld spin-off, or a port of the Switch title onto the handheld when you could take the Switch with you. Of course, not every 3DS/2DS owner will have or want a Switch but surely Nintendo would want to support their latest console? What’s more, isn’t the idea of the Switch to offer the perfect solution to handheld gaming so you don’t need two devices?

Of course, there’s nothing to say that Nintendo can’t continue their handheld dominance and the Switch be a success at the same time. I think the Switch was a marker for their future however, and expect to see the Switch take priority for the handheld market. I wouldn’t want to feel that I was missing out on something only available on the 3DS/2DS nor would I want ports of Switch games to hold back their release. Granted this would be very unlikely, but Nintendo have got to please both audiences somehow.

I’m sure Nintendo will look to bring some exciting announcements to the table at their Direct showing for E3, some of which may clarify the future for both their console avenues. For all gaming fans, this year’s E3 could be the biggest and most exciting in recent years.

What do you think?

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