The Future of Nintendo’s Handheld Game Consoles & Portables
For a long time many people had talked about Nintendo making a a hybrid system that was both a portable and a home console. Nintendo always denied that the Nintendo NX would be this very thing, and yet when the Nintendo Switch was announced it was this very thing. Now I may have my issues with the Nintendo Switch but I love the concept and for my current life style a “fusion” console is definitely what works best for me. But is this the death of Nintendo’s portables?
Nintendo has had quite a history when it comes to their handheld and console connectivity but they were always kept separate and Nintendo seems to want to make us think that they will since they specifically mentioned this was their next home console and that it wouldn’t interfere with their portable the 3DS. Now how much can you believe Nintendo? They seem to want to have a “third pillar” strategy similar to when the Nintendo DS launch where Nintendo specified the Nintendo DS was not their next Game Boy even though it played GBA games, but a third pillar as another system for Nintendo to get revenue from. This was done in case the weird looking Nintendo DS flopped in the market against the brand new Playstation Portable system and they could counter with another Game Boy. But of course the Nintendo DS ended up being extremely successful for Nintendo and the Game Boy line seized to exist.
Nintendo did try to make their third pillar a real thing though since they released the Game Boy Micro about a year after the Nintendo DS had been out. It was an miniscule Game Boy Advance and meant to be extremely portable for people to take. They did market it for a bit but it did not sell and they were quickly discounted and forgotten about. Now it’s difficiult to know if Nintendo only released it in case the Nintendo DS did not recover from its lukewarm launch and they wanted to keep the GBA line alive for a bit longer or if they really did think the third pillar strategy would work. Personally I think this is more of the former.
After the failure of the Wii U, Nintendo likely did not want to risk both their portable and home console on the Switch in case it failed. This is the reason they mentioned their Nintendo 3DS handheld would continue to be supported since they “don’t interfere”; This was really difficult to believe since the Nintendo 3DS came out in 2011 so it has been 6 years which is a long time for a console or handheld and about time for it to be replaced. It’s not difficult to speculate that they mentioned this in case the Switch failed and they could quickly release a new portable system and carry the Switch for the next 3 years like they did with the Wii U. Making some new software for 3DS wouldn’t be very difficult and in case the Switch did sell well which it seems to be doing then they could just stop with the 3DS and continue with the Switch but that’ll be another topic where I talk about the future of the Switch.
However we got a new announcement that the 3DS family of systems would get a new system, the New Nintendo 2DS. It’s sleek and makes it look like Nintendo really is comitted to the 3DS line, but is this another Game Boy Micro? We have some software for this year but it’ll really be until E3 where we will know how serious Nintendo is with keeping the 3DS systems alive. If we see a few spin-offs and Kirby games then not so much but if we see heavy hitters like say Metroid Dread then yeah they are committed in having it kept alive for some time now.
So right now it’s more of a waiting game to see just what Nintendo has planned for the next few year before we know where they are heading with their handhelds. Will they release another new handheld? I really doubt it. Will they continue the 3DS line? Could be. Will they release a smaller switch in the future and only keep the 3DS alive until the prices allow them to do release a smaller Switch? That’s what I’d put my money on. I guess it’s time I write about my thoughts on the future of the Switch.