Since Nintendo announced the 3DS in 2010, there have been 6 distinct models of the hardware. The 3DS and 3DS XL shared hardware, but differed in screen sizes. The New 3DS and New 3DS XL worked the same way, sharing hardware but different screens. The 2DS and New 2DS XL are very different with the 2DS is the only device in the family to not be hinged, but both devices lack the 3D screen that differentiated the platform from other handhelds.
This week, Nintendo announced that production would end for another model in the family: the New 3DS. This change leaves only 3 models in the family: 2DS, New 2DS XL and New 3DS XL. The 2DS, which was announced almost 4 years ago, is an aging product, and is currently selling for about half of its original price, suggesting that Nintendo might also be end-of-lifing this device in the near future.
This change marks the second real Nintendo product to get discontinued in the past year, starting with the Wii U in November. Discontinuing the Wii U was an obvious and expected decision, being as the Nintendo Switch was designed to undo the problems of its predecessor. Discontinuing a model of the 3DS line, however, could indicate that the Switch has also begun affecting 3DS sales, which Is also not unexpected.
Even is Nintendo decides to cut down to just the two newest members of the 3DS family, it should not be seen as an abandonment of the platform. In fact, Nintendo promised to keep the 3DS family alive in the era of the Switch. Considering the sheer number of units in the wild today, and the lack of availability of the Switch, keeping the hardware around and continuing to develop games makes a lot of sense.
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