There are still plenty of Nintendo 3DS games to look forward to in 2019, but it appears software sales are dropping.
It appears as the Nintendo Switch grows its audience base, the demand for new 3DS games is starting to drop.
This would make sense to a lot of gamers and analysts alike, who always suspected that the Switch would cannibalise the 3DS.
But it appears to have taken quite a while for the effects to be fully felt by Nintendo.
We’re now entering Year 8 for the Nintendo 3Ds, and it appears key markets like Japan are slowing.
According to Nintendo Life, Recent figures from Famitsu reveal that new titles like Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey, sold 9,178 copies in their opening week.
Comparing this to 2015’s Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, which sold 49,266 units in that same period, 3DS sales in a key market have dropped.
Another example given is Luigi’s Mansion which has sold 82,577 since its launch in 2018, while it’s reported that the launch day of the game only saw it sale a small percentage of its initial shipment.
Media Create Sales from December 17 to December 23 show the 3DS selling 26,936 units, compared to the Switch’s 278,701.
That doesn’t mean Nintendo is holding back on new releases for the system, having just announced that Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn arrives on 3DS 8th March 2019.
Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn is an enhanced version of the Kirby’s Epic Yarn that was originally released for the Wii system.
Some analysts – like Dr. Serkan Toto of Kantan Game – believe that Nintendo could launch a new “Lite” version of their Switch console.
This would help cover the drop in 3DS sales and could be made to function better for children.
This could be released alongside a “Pro” version of the Nintendo Switch, which could offer an upgraded screen.
“While the 2019 Switch Pro has been already reported to be in development by the Wall Street Journal, I also think Nintendo will offer a “Switch Lite” (or just keep the current version at a lower price) to cover the lower end of the spectrum and offset sinking 3DS sales,” Toto told Games Industry.
Piers Harding-Rolls of IHS Markit also had something to say on the subject, commenting on what might happen with the big three in 2019.
“I expect the console gaming market to grow again in 2019, bolstered by continued growth in paid downloadable content and the strong software performance on Nintendo’s Switch.
“In fact, once we have confirmed the 2018 performance early next year, I expect this year to have been the best console market ever, breaking 2008’s previous peak.
“Quite something for a platform category that has been under question for at least a decade.
“Switch will be the best selling console in 2019 as PS4 and Xbox One shift into the late stage phase of their sales lifecycles.
“We could have several hardware announcements next year: Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation reveals, and we may get more details on how Nintendo aims to plug the gap in its portfolio left by the declining 3DS platform.
“One option is to do nothing and stick with the current Switch strategy. That simplifies the platform strategy but may not be the most commercially efficient.”