It's official: the Nintendo 3DS family has been discontinued. This means that production of all 3DS models, including Nintendo 2DS and 2DS XL, has completely ceased. Nintendo will now be focusing solely on the Switch going forward.
What does the Nintendo 3DS being discontinued mean?
Effectively, while you might still be able to find new 3DS units at certain retailers, no new models will be produced. Once the current stock has sold out, that's it - no more 3DS models. While this doesn't technically mean software won't still be produced for the consoles, it's unlikely most developers will still want to stick out developing for the 3DS and will join Nintendo in focusing on the Switch and Switch Lite.
According to GamesIndustry.biz, Nintendo says it has "no plans" to end existing online services for the 3DS, which means you'll still be able to access the eShop if you've got one. In addition, you can still play your 3DS games online with others - provided individual game servers are still live - and you can still download anything you've already purchased from the eShop in the past. Of course, Nintendo itself won't be producing any more games for the 3DS family.
How significant was the 3DS?
Nintendo's biggest innovation with the 3DS was to include glasses-free stereoscopic 3D when the console launched in 2011. This meant that games which supported the feature could be viewed in 3D without the need for any external peripherals. The feature wasn't massively popular, however, and as Nintendo manufactured new iterations of the 3DS, they de-emphasized the 3D feature, leading to the 2DS range, which didn't include the option for 3D at all.
Overall, the Nintendo 3DS and all of its various iterations have sold almost 76 million hardware units worldwide. In comparison, the original DS - which was discontinued in 2013, two years after the 3DS launched - sold 154 million units worldwide. The Nintendo Switch is only three and a half years old, but it's already sold over 60 million units in that brief time. Top-selling 3DS games included Mario Kart 7, Pokemon X and Y, and Super Mario 3D Land.
How do you feel about the 3DS being discontinued? Let us know in the comments below!