Is the Nintendo 3DS the forgotten middle child of Nintendo?
Meager announcements do little to keep the handheld afloat
Nintendo has become something of a phoenix metaphor in the video games industry since the rather lackluster reveal of the Nintendo Switch to its meteoric launch. But after the abject failure of the Nintendo Wii U, who could forget the trusty little handheld that kept Nintendo chugging along in the interim?
The Nintendo 3DS and the "spinoff" devices, the Nintendo New 3DS and Nintendo 2DS, have been holding the line since company sputtered to a halt with the Nintendo Wii U. Key releases like Pokemon X and Y, Fire Emblem Awakening, and all those Mario titles we can't seem to get rid of, all kept them afloat for a significant period of time.
Despite statements to the contrary, and a few underwhelming port announcements during their latest Nintendo Direct, it seems they have thrown out any hope fans may have had of them towing the line with brand new releases.
Perhaps the most surprising is that the company still hasn't looked into further connecting the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS, except for limited save game transfer functionality.
In comparison, connectivity between the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita was more significant, with Remote Play and Second Screen being popular features. Not all of these features would work well in Nintendo's case, but at least it shows that there are more opportunities than just plain and simple save game transferring.
Time will tell if the company will make good on their promise to support the Nintendo 3DS in the Nintendo Switch era, but the future doesn't look too bright. It would be a travesty to abandon such a huge install base that asks for little more than a refresh of tried and true franchises every year.
Nintendo needs all the horsepower it can muster approaching the next generation and the huge install base of the Nintendo 3DS could push them into a more than relevant middle ground.
Or they could, you know, play the tone-deaf game they played after the Nintendo Wii U launched. Utilizing both install bases isn't an impossible task, they need only consider the possibilities instead of expecting all those players to jump over to the Nintendo Switch.