The 3DS has become a less prominent figure in both Nintendo’s earnings reports and its new game announcements year after year, something not entirely surprising since the line of handheld game systems has been around in some form since 2011.
Despite the decline in hardware and software sales (and scaling back sales forecasts for the coming fiscal year), Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa tells investors in a recent Q&A that demand is steady.
"Our plans for Nintendo 3DS sales this fiscal year are lower compared to the previous fiscal year, but the demand for the 3DS is stable, and I expect steady sales as we continue to position it as an entry-level system," said Furukawa.
In the company's most recent earnings report for the year ended March 31, Nintendo said 3DS hardware sales, had decreased by 60.2 percent year-on-year to 2.55 million units. 3DS software sales similarly declined, falling by 62.9 percent year-over-year to 13.22 million units.
Despite notable declines, the base for 3DS is still substantial. For the current fiscal year, Nintendo expects 3DS to sell 1 million hardware units, which would bring the total to over 76 million sold.
Earlier in the Switch’s lifecycle, Nintendo maintained that the two systems serve different audiences but Furukawa’s comments show how that perspective has shifted over time. He mentions Nintendo’s recent trend of bringing past 3DS games over to the Nintendo Switch in some form, explaining that the overlap helps to encourage players with handheld experience to pick up a Nintendo Switch.
“As for Nintendo Switch, the lineup of software planned for release this year includes titles for series that in the past were developed for our handheld game systems,” says Furukawa. “Since Nintendo Switch can be played in handheld mode, these titles will potentially give consumers who previously played games on handheld systems a way to purchase Nintendo Switch.