Daniel Ahmad, a professional analyst for Niko partners, tweeted out a graph that summarized up Nintendo’s revenue streams over the past two fiscal years. You can see this graph below:
While there is some interesting information to glean from it, what is very obvious is that the Nintendo 3DS is a huge part of Nintendo’s revenue stream. When Nintendo repeatedly says publicly they are going to continue to make 3DS exclusive games and support the system beyond 2018, it’s clear to see why. When a platform makes up that much of your revenue stream, you aren’t going to simply kick it to the curb.
Of course, fiscal year 2017/2018 should tell a different tale, as not only should Nintendo’s mobile revenue see an increase with new releases, the Switch itself is going to have a much larger install base and lots of big name titles pushing sales. 3DS sales could pracitcally not change at all, but with increased revenue across the board it will naturally lead to the 3DS having a smaller percentage of Nintendo’s revenue stream.
That being said, it will probably take until 2020, when Switch reaches full critical mass, for Nintendo to finally stop supporting the Nintendo 3DS. At that time, the price of the Switch could easily drop to $199 and essentially replace the 3DS’s spot in the marketplace, as Nintendo explores options to push out a Switch 2 or something else entirely if they wish to continue to be a two main line hardware line company. They could also, of course, release yet another DS type system that is a clear new generation, though personally I don’t think that makes market sense at this point.
It will be interesting to see just how long the 3DS is going to remain relevant in the market, but for now it is on track to be one of Nintendo’s longest running pieces of hardware in terms of being considered current generation possibly ever.