End of an era: Nintendo has discontinued the 3DS handheld

The original Nintendo 3DS model

It has finally happened: Nintendo has discontinued the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, after nine years since the console officially launched. The company's Japanese website has been updated to indicate that the production of the system has ended, marking the end of Nintendo's last true portable gaming console.

The Nintendo 3DS originally debuted in March of 2011, with a launch price of just under $250. The system didn't immediately take off, thanks to the high cost and lackluster library of games, but within months Nintendo officially cut the price of the system to $170, and that holiday season saw the release of blockbuster titles such as Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7, which started to turn things around for the system.

Throughout its life, the Nintendo 3DS received entries in many of Nintendo's popular franchises. Remastered versions of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask were released, as well as original Zelda games in the form of Triforce Heroes and A Link Between Worlds; Mario got more representation with New Super Mario Bros. 2; two Kirby games were released - Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot - and even dormant franchises such as Metroid were brought back with titles such as Metroid: Samus Returns a remake of Metroid II, and the original spin-off game Metroid Prime Federation Force. It wouldn't be a Nintendo handheld without Pokémon, and the 3DS welcomed two generations of games in the franchise, starting with Pokémon X and Y in 2013, up until the release of Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon in 2017.

New Nintendo 3DS XL

The console also had its fair share of revisions in its lifetime. The Nintendo 3DS XL was released with bigger screens in 2012, and in 2013, Nintendo introduced the 2DS, ditching the clamshell form factor for the first time since the GameBoy Micro in 2005, and also removing the 3D feature to bring down the cost. All three models would eventually get upgrades, with the New Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL arriving at the same time in 2015 with upgraded processors, controls, cameras, and 3D, and a New Nintendo 2DS XL releasing in 2017, bringing back the clamshell design and stereo speakers at a lower price point. All in all, Nintendo has sold 75.87 million units of the 3DS family, and even though we might see those numbers go up a bit more as the stock is cleared from stores, it's safe to say it will stay in that ballpark.

In 2017, the Nintendo Switch launched, and being a hybrid console, it was clear that the 3DS would eventually leave the stage. Nintendo kept supporting the handheld, mostly with remastered or enhanced versions of previous games releasing between 2017 and 2019, but its biggest efforts have been on the hybrid. Last year, the company introduced the Nintendo Switch Lite, a handheld-only version of the console, which pushed the 3DS even further out of the picture. Now, the company has finally pulled the plug completely.

Did you own a Nintendo 3DS? What memories do you have of the system and its games? Let us know in the comments!

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