We Now Know Why Nintendo Isn’t Abandoning the 3DS Anytime Soon

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.

Nathanial Rumphol-Janc

A veteran in the video game media sphere, Nathanial co-founded Gamnesia, founded MetroidWiki.org, ran the news the segment on the Zelda Universe Podcast, found and ran Zelda Domain from 1998 to 2006, and built Zelda Informer as the Editor-in-Chief from 2008 to 2017. He now owns and operates Nintendo Prime. You can follow him on twitter @NateJanc, otherwise just stay tuned at Nintendo Prime for more of his work.

  • Martin Roselli

    Back in the day, when people that knew little about nintendo would say things like “nintendo is going bankrupt, look at the wii U” I would usually answer with “the 3DS is doing better, selling more units and games and making more money than all other consoles on the market put together.”
    I get it that a lot of people don’t want to carry two portables, or even play two portables when the switch is the newest one. But I’ll smile at my 3DS every time I remember how many great games it introduced me to, as well as every time I get an amazing game for it from nintendo. Just because a game comes out for the 3DS doesn’t mean it’s a game that could’ve come out for switch instead. Not to mention many of the new 3DS games were probably in development before the switch dev kits were sent.

    • To be fair the 3DS has sold less units than the PS4 despite being cheaper and on the market longer. So your first statement isn’t exactly true.

      • Martin Roselli

        Well, yeah, but that’s right now, at the time, the ps4 was barely out. And as I’m given to understand, both the 3DS and PS4 have sold around 60 million as of today, no? Also, hyperboles

  • Marandahir

    I think a Dual Screened device still makes sense going forward. There are a lot of gameplay elements that the Switch cannot handle since it lacks a dedicated touch screen (yes, its main handheld screen is a touch screen, thank goodness, but it’s the main screen when undocked, rather than a second screen). Now that the Wii U is retired, the 3DS is the bearer of the 2-screen standard. If the 3DS is retired in favour of the Switch and iOS/Android games, then they’ll lose out on a whole host of antecedent titles from the DS, 3DS, and Wii U families. I don’t think they want that. I think whatever comes next on that front will be a handheld game that can even handle some Wii U titles, but I wouldn’t expect it until around the time of the Switch’s successor console. the new Nintendo 3DS and new Nintendo 2DS will carry the standard for now, and I expect more and more games to be exclusive for those revisions, like the late Game Boy Color-only titles were for the GBC (unplayable on original GB, GB Pocket, and GB Light).

    • Martin Roselli

      This is actually the main reason I could see a successor to the 3ds, like nintendo has said (IIRC). I really feel sad that dual screen is…. let’s say “almost gone” just because we don’t really know what will happen with the 3DS.
      I wouldn’t change the switch, and I don’t know how they could possibly do ports of dual screen games to it, but I really wanna keep playing those games somehow.