What Does Nintendo's Mobile Strategy Mean for the Future of 3DS?
It's weird to think that there could be a day when Nintendo no longer has a dedicated portable gaming device, but at the same time, how much longer can this last?
I don't know if anyone expected the 3DS to do as well as it has, especially when taking factors into account such as the mediocre sales of competing device, the PS Vita, and the rise and takeover of mobile gaming on smart devices. Now with Nintendo making games for mobile devices, as well as the fact that their latest home console is also an impressively powerful portable device, what are the odds that this third pillar of a dedicated portable can continue to survive and compete?
It's easy to say that bare bones, hollow experience, bite-sized games will live on mobile, while 3DS will get portable games, and the Switch will receive the super polished, high quality, big budget games, but the fact is, that's not exactly what's going on. The Switch is a great place for the same kinds of games we play on 3DS and other portable devices, and the slew of indies on that platform attest to it. Not only that but mobile looks to be getting some serious Nintendo gaming experiences.
Who would have thought that the upcoming Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp would be such a full-fledged Animal Crossing entry? Sure, the obnoxious micro transactions are there, but this game looks to be pretty robust and full featured. How does Nintendo expect anyone to want to spend $200 on a 3DS and a copy of the latest 3DS Animal Crossing game if they can just download Pocket Camp for free, and on a device that they already own.
The lines are beginning to blur more and more, and I don't see how the 3DS can continue to exist in the wake of Nintendo's mobile efforts and the Switch. Perhaps Nintendo is aware that the 3DS won't last forever, as long as we are getting these Nintendo experiences on our phones, but they are making quite an effort to keep the 3DS alive. The New 2DS XL just launched. We just got a new Pikmin and Metroid on the 3DS. Clearly, Nintendo hasn't given up on the platform, but will the market?
People have been talking about this for a few years now. It's nothing new, but now that the Switch is beginning to take a comfortable seat in the current console lineup and Nintendo's mobile library is starting to accumulate, I can't help but wonder how long the 3DS has before it's a thing of the past. Does it make sense for Nintendo to make another 3DS Animal Crossing when it would just feel so in between something that could be done on mobile and Switch? Could Nintendo make a new generation on dedicated portable devices with the Switch in the way?
I can't help but think Nintendo will only be producing one piece of gaming hardware in the future, but the kid in me that grew up on GameBoy hopes I'm wrong.