The Nintendo 3DS Is Three Years Old Today!

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#1 Edited by charizard1605 (55503 posts) -

It doesn't seem like it's that old, but three years ago, after a year of insane hype and build up, Nintendo released the Nintendo 3DS on this day in Japan (its western release would follow a month later).

Priced at a staggering premium of $250, the 3DS initially managed to sell well, selling 4 million units at launch, but right off the bat, things began to go wrong with the handheld- major features were missing at launch, the hardware had issues, the software and UI were questionably bad, the demand for the handheld plummeted after the successful launch, and from April-June 2011, the 3DS sold just 710,000 units worldwide. Major projects were canceled, Sony announced that the PlayStation Vita would be retailing for the same price as the 3DS, making it look extraordinarily bad value, the press wrote it off as a failure, and the 3DS looked like Nintendo's first handheld misstep.

Which might be hard to believe now, considering what came next.

What came next was a Nintendo desperately backed into the corner, and clearly unwilling to lose their dominance in the one market that belonged to them. Nintendo cut the price of the 3DS by $80 worldwide (and the 3DS became their first system ever to be sold at a loss), fast tracked the release of major exclusive software such as Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7, announced major third party exclusive games for the system such as Bravely Default and Monster Hunter 4, started a new marketing campaign that de-emphasized the 3D, and instead focused on the unique features the 3DS brought to the table (and there were many of these), started co-marketing third party games, announced an insane slate of first party games, two revisions, and of course, Pokemon.

The result? The 3DS was a success. A runaway success. It came back from the brink of death, and has now sold 42 million units worldwide. It is selling slower than any Nintendo handheld before it, but it is still selling faster than any other system this generation; its library is insane, plumbing a vast variety of genres and with some franchise defining installments in many major series from first and third parties, and the best part is, unlike other similar systems, the 3DS's best games are all exclusive- you can't play them, or anything like them, on any other system on the market at all.

And it's showing no signs of stopping. 2014 understandably looks slower than the insanely packed 2013, but the 3DS is still getting a fair few number of impressive games:

  • Bravely Default
  • Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy
  • Inazuma Eleven
  • Kirby Triple Deluxe
  • Yoshi's New Island
  • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth
  • Mario Golf: World Tour
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • Moon Chronicles
  • Retro City Rampage DX

Where Nintendo goes from here is anybody's guess- the 3DS probably peaked in 2013, and at three years old, the time is ripe for a replacement (both the Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance were three years old when they were replaced). But with a highly profitable 3DS userbase, along with a failing Wii U, plus the fact that multiple Nintendo franchises have not yet seen 3DS representations (think Metroid, Advance Wars, Wario, and think heavily rumored but yet unconfirmed games such as Majora's Mask and Pokemon Z, along with pending localizations like Dragon Quest VII and the inevitable Dragon Quest XI), there's still some life left in the handheld yet.

That, and the fact that there is no one definitive 3DS model quite yet.

Happy third birthday, 3DS. You are an incredible handheld, better than the competition, and possibly the best dedicated games system currently on the market. Here's looking to many more memorable experiences with you:

What are your thoughts about the best handheld on the market currently?

#2 Edited by ninjapirate2000 (3000 posts) -

Happy Burt-Day!

#3 Posted by MonsieurX (29220 posts) -

Wish I had one only for Yoshi's Island

#4 Posted by lamprey263 (22776 posts) -

Once the XL was $200 and Luigi's Mansion was out I couldn't hold back any longer.

#5 Posted by charizard1605 (55503 posts) -

Wish I had one only for Yoshi's Island

And surely for the shit ton of other incredible games it is getting as well

#6 Posted by DaBrainz (7623 posts) -

The XL instantly became the best handheld in history.

#7 Posted by gameofthering (10090 posts) -

I shouldn't have bought it at launch. I've only got 6 games so far.

#8 Edited by R4gn4r0k (16252 posts) -

2013 was such an awesome year for 3DS.

I still have many games to finish and get, I'll be gaming for years to come on that little machine.

#9 Edited by Allicrombie (25117 posts) -

Yeah that Mario Golf is a real system seller.

#10 Edited by treedoor (7478 posts) -

I wish it wasn't so expensive otherwise I'd have one.

#11 Edited by PsychoLemons (1979 posts) -

It got better, I'll give you that.

#12 Edited by Desmonic (13180 posts) -

#NoGames2014

#VitaKnowsThatFeel

#13 Edited by hiphops_savior (7823 posts) -

By 2016, the 3DS is going to be five years old. The Wii U is just trudging along, and there is that whole rumour of Nintendo Fusion (likely false, but the concept is intriguing).

#14 Posted by AmazonTreeBoa (16744 posts) -

When they had the 3DS XL for $150 last Thanksgiving day, I had to go get one. Haven't played a game on it in over a month though due to me working through my PC backlog, but I want to play it.

#15 Posted by osan0 (12594 posts) -

dissapointed with the hardware. horsepower is fine but the general ergonomics and build quality of the 3DS (havent tried an XL or 2DS) are poor by nintendos usual high standards. the omission of a second nub is also a poor oversight. nintendo dont seem to be thinking things through on their hardware. I do like the 3D but the tech still needs some work to improve the sweet spot. i think we can safely assume that 3D will be scrapped for their next handheld.

but the games are awesome. there is no getting around it. it had a slow start but an amazing 2013.

i have said it before and i will say it again...i wish nintendo made the vita. the vita hardware under nintendos wing......it would be an incredible platform.

i hope nintendo release a 3DSLite. same size as the 3DS but much more refined and ergonomically designed (perhaps make the shell out of metal rather than plastic too...something a bit different.). it may be a bit late in the game now though as i expect to see the successor to the 3DS in 2016.

#16 Posted by yokofox33 (29226 posts) -

Happy Birfday, 3DS! What a great lineup of games this thing has. I love it.

#17 Edited by Zassimick (6245 posts) -

It's been a fantastic handheld that's for sure. I've enjoyed the many games on it and I've got plenty more; I still haven't even started Bravely Default! Really looking forward to starting that once I beat Final Fantasy IX on my Vita.

#18 Edited by speedfreak48t5p (6610 posts) -

3DS is the king of handhelds.

#19 Posted by DJ-Lafleur (34123 posts) -

I think the 3DS could end up being my favorite handheld of all time at this rate.

#20 Posted by AznbkdX (3120 posts) -

I like my 3DS more than any other system right now, but it's still sorely lacking on the good 3rd party front.

Oh well... happy b-day 3DS!

#22 Posted by charizard1605 (55503 posts) -

Incidentally, if anyone cares, here's a very sweet write up Blabadon wrote for the 3DS for its third birthday (yes, I know).

#23 Posted by AznbkdX (3120 posts) -

Incidentally, if anyone cares, here's a very sweet write up Blabadon wrote for the 3DS for its third birthday (yes, I know).

I actually read the whole thing. For a birthday thread it sure wasn't as rosy as it should have been. :P

#24 Posted by bbkkristian (14913 posts) -

My favorite games:

-fire emblem awakening

-zelda a link between worlds

-kid icarus uprising

-pokemon xy

-bravely default

#25 Posted by jg4xchamp (47063 posts) -

Enjoyed
-Rhythm Thief
-Zelda: Link Between Worlds
-Fire Emblem Awakening

Indifferent towards
-Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

Disliked
-Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon

That's been my 3DSing so far. Might try Bravely Default or Pokemon(twitch plays pokemon makes me want to try it). After Nocturne I might consider getting SMT4, but man after playing Nocturne does SMT4 look like SMT for bitches. Otherwise only 3DS game I'm definitely getting is Yoshi's New Island. I want the platform to get more stuff like Rhythm Thief or Elite Beat Agents or what Professor Layton, Ghost Trick, and Phoenix Wright were for the DS. Fresher experiences. Nintendo's stuff is fine, it's fun. Just would also like some fresher shit.

#26 Edited by Bigboi500 (29130 posts) -

Happy Birthday 3DS! Can't wait for PQ.

#27 Posted by Ballroompirate (22263 posts) -

Outside of Braverly Default and maybe Persona Q (we don't know what it will play/look like), 2014 is actually a pretty crappy year for the 3DS. The Vita actually has a pretty meh year as well too.

#28 Edited by Bigboi500 (29130 posts) -

Outside of Braverly Default and maybe Persona Q (we don't know what it will play/look like), 2014 is actually a pretty crappy year for the 3DS. The Vita actually has a pretty meh year as well too.

Check Youtube, there are some gameplay vids that show some off-camera gameplay. What I could see of it looks pretty good.

#29 Edited by KBFloYd (12927 posts) -

@Ballroompirate said:

Outside of Braverly Default and maybe Persona Q (we don't know what it will play/look like), 2014 is actually a pretty crappy year for the 3DS. The Vita actually has a pretty meh year as well too.

best 2014 lineup is the wiiu...then xbox1..then ps4..then 3ds..and last vita.

#30 Posted by lundy86_4 (42867 posts) -

Dat Bravely Default is keeping me enthralled. SE need to step up their game on consoles, because I love it.

#31 Posted by Ballroompirate (22263 posts) -

@Ballroompirate said:

Outside of Braverly Default and maybe Persona Q (we don't know what it will play/look like), 2014 is actually a pretty crappy year for the 3DS. The Vita actually has a pretty meh year as well too.

Check Youtube, there are some gameplay vids that show some off-camera gameplay. What I could see of it looks pretty good.

Wow it actually looks pretty amazing, Minato and Yu that's gonna be interesting but...I'm confused lol.

#32 Posted by Ballroompirate (22263 posts) -

@KBFloYd said:

@Ballroompirate said:

Outside of Braverly Default and maybe Persona Q (we don't know what it will play/look like), 2014 is actually a pretty crappy year for the 3DS. The Vita actually has a pretty meh year as well too.

best 2014 lineup is the wiiu...then xbox1..then ps4..then 3ds..and last vita.

Bad troll

#33 Posted by TrappedInABox91 (490 posts) -

Nintendo sure does know how to make one hell of a handheld. I didn't think the 3DS could out beat the DS, but I was wrong.

#34 Posted by Bigboi500 (29130 posts) -

@Bigboi500 said:

@Ballroompirate said:

Outside of Braverly Default and maybe Persona Q (we don't know what it will play/look like), 2014 is actually a pretty crappy year for the 3DS. The Vita actually has a pretty meh year as well too.

Check Youtube, there are some gameplay vids that show some off-camera gameplay. What I could see of it looks pretty good.

Wow it actually looks pretty amazing, Minato and Yu that's gonna be interesting but...I'm confused lol.

Yeah it looks like the entire P3 and P4 gang is there. Should be entertaining lol.

#35 Posted by ratchet_usa (356 posts) -

I have yet to see a game on 3ds that makes me want to buy the system. It will be a decent hand held, but it will never be on pair with the legendary GBA or Gameboy.

#36 Posted by ConanTheStoner (4534 posts) -

Crazy, doesn't seem that long ago that the 3DS was supposedly doomed.

#37 Posted by Alcapello (661 posts) -

That all? Naw.......guaranteed.

#38 Posted by Epak_ (6764 posts) -

Yup, have owned two of them already, love mah XL :)

#39 Posted by millerlight89 (18346 posts) -

I almost bought one on ebay. Won a brand new in auction for 135.00 + 15.00 shipping. It was an XL. It was a fluke, but in the end I could not convince myself to do it. I just don't see any worth while games on there for me.

#40 Edited by Wild_man_22 (572 posts) -

I still have my OG launch 3ds. The only game I really loved at launch was shadow wars. Still waiting on that sequel ubisoft. And my Boom Blox 3DS.

That handheld has certainly come along way in 3 years. I still remember when. All the Eshop has was golf and 3D classics Urban Champion.

#41 Posted by FlamesOfGrey (7463 posts) -

Good handheld but that's to be expected. 2014 is looking weak right now in Japan (whose release schedule I follow) in comparison to Vita but hopefully some more games get announced for Q3 / Q4.

#42 Edited by finalstar2007 (24883 posts) -

Happy Birthday to my least used system! heck i use the 360 more than then 3DS even :P

#43 Edited by achilles614 (4846 posts) -

@finalstar2007 said:

Happy Birthday to my least used system! heck i use the 360 more than then 3DS even :P

Don't you also have a slight obsession with COD and crappy final fantasy games? No surprise that you prefer the 360 :)

Yes the 3DS is quite a good handheld, happy birthday.

#44 Edited by Bread_or_Decide (17223 posts) -

Compared to the 3DSXL I can't believe they charged $250 for that tiny little piece of crap original3DS.

Love my 3DSXL but this is why you ALWAYS wait for price reduction and hardware improvement. Why people rush out to buy hardware with little software I'll never understand. (I.E. xbox one, ps4.)