With the very poor performance of the Wii U and subsequent new direction Nintendo decided to take with the Switch, you can understand why the company was cautious in the run up to the Switch's launch. It's also a factor in why the 3DS continued to be supported this year. But with the Switch now selling as fast as Nintendo can make them, the 3DS could easily be shelved. Nintendo has no intention of doing that, though.
IGN sat down with Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America president and chief officer, during E3 to discuss what the future holds for the 3DS. The good news for fans of the handheld is, Nintendo looks set to continue supporting its aging, dual-screen hardware for at least another 18 months. According to Fils-Aime, "We're going to continue to bring new content, and that's what's going to keep this device vibrant and keep it going well into 2018 and beyond."
I think we were all a bit surprised when Nintendo revealed the existence of a 2DS XL back in April, which is set for release on July 28 for $150. There's already 66 million 3DS in the wild in all its different iterations, but Nintendo clearly thinks there's still room to grow. And the library of 1,126 games for the platform is also set to continue growing, with the next major game launch coming later this month in the form of Ever Oasis.
As to why Nintendo believes in continuing support for 3DS instead of focusing just on Switch, Fils-Aime makes it very clear: the Switch is still a home console, it just happens to be portable as well. Because of that, it isn't every going to be a replacement for the 3DS as a purely portable platform (with two screens).
Does that mean we could end up seeing a replacement for the 3DS that sits alongside Switch? I suspect Nintendo will make that decision when it has sold tens of millions more Switch. If gamers are opting to mostly use the Switch hooked up to a TV at home, then the market clearly exists for a 3DS successor.