A new model within the 3DS family suggests that Nintendo may not abandon its portable platform immediately after the launch of the Switch in March.
Though the upcoming launch of the Nintendo Switch console will mark a significant shift in Nintendo’s multiplatform strategy, the company’s current handheld gaming system still has plenty of life left in it, as a new 3DS XL model is set to hit North American store shelves in February.
The upcoming New Nintendo 3DS XL Pikachu Yellow Edition includes an etched faceplate design featuring Nintendo’s Pokémon mascot Pikachu, making it a perfect fit for hardcore fans of the recent series sequels Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.
Nintendo’s Switch console, launching worldwide in March, effectively bridges the gap between Nintendo’s console and handheld development divisions, serving as both a portable gaming device and a dedicated home console via an included docking peripheral. The move represents a risky venture after the commercial failure of Nintendo’s Wii U console, but the long-lasting popularity of the Nintendo DS line of handhelds could drive Switch sales in the months ahead.
While Nintendo recently confirmed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be its final first-party release for the Wii U, the company has not announced any plans to abandon or discontinue its Nintendo 3DS platform in the months ahead. The New Nintendo 3DS XL Pikachu Yellow Edition will keep Nintendo’s portable console family stocked at retail, and its announcement hints at future 3DS software releases at retail and digitally via Nintendo’s eShop.
Nintendo previously leveraged the popularity of its Pokémon series for a boost in 3DS platform sales last year with the launch of the Pokémon 20th Anniversary Edition New Nintendo 3DS. While the 20th Anniversary Edition New Nintendo 3DS included preinstalled digital copies of the original Game Boy Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue games, the upcoming Pikachu Yellow Edition does not include any digital bonuses as part of its retail package.
The New Nintendo 3DS XL Pikachu Yellow Edition will premiere in North America on February 24 for a suggested retail price of $200.