Nintendo has announced that they have officially halted production on all existing models of the 3DS. It’s the end of several eras….not only this particular handheld’s nine-year run, but the end of the DS line as well as the end of Nintendo’s line of dedicated handhelds that stretches back over thirty years.
“We can confirm that the manufacturing of the Nintendo 3DS family of systems has ended,” reads a statement sent to the press. “Nintendo and third-party games for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems will continue to be available in Nintendo eShop, on Nintendo.com and at retail. The existing library of more than 1,000 Nintendo 3DS games contains many critically acclaimed titles and can provide years of content to explore and enjoy.”
The original DS was introduced to a bewildered public in 2004. “Two screens? Gyroscopes? Touch controls? Who would want these things?” some asked. In response Nintendo assured the press that the DS was just an experiment and a “third pillar,” and that the company would continue to extend the Game Boy line. That, of course, was a fib — it was something Big N said to hedge its bets in case the DS didn’t take off. It did take off and replaced the Game Boy entirely.
The DS went through several revisions and incarnations in its life, from the DS Lite to the DSi. The most dramatic upgrade, though, happened in 2011 with the introduction of the 3DS. Following a resurgent 3D trend in the movies, the device shipped with a unique screen that produced literal 3D visuals when a slider was pushed up. Though the 3DS would eventually take the market lead, the screen wasn’t the hot selling point Nintendo figured it would be and a 2D version was eventually introduced.
The 3DS’s success came uninterrupted until something called the Switch was on the horizon. Again, the press asked Nintendo if it was supposed to replace the 3DS. Nintendo said “Of course not, the DS line will continue for years to come.” Thus, the handheld died in an ironic fashion, the same way it was born….pushed aside for a hotter and younger model.
We will miss the 3DS, we will miss the DS, and we will especially miss that unique 3D screen, which can’t be found on anything else out there. Hopefully the devices that exist will last.