Nintendo President: 3DS sales show that smartphones haven’t killed handheld gaming yet

nintendo 3ds xl

Handheld gaming isn’t dead! That’s the rallying cry of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata. Even as the iPhone and other smartphones wash over the portable video game market—a market Nintendo used to stand astride as the uncontested master—Iwata is convinced the Nintendo 3DS will be a success, a survivor, and a foundation for future portable game consoles.

“I think that is we are able to provide experiences on handheld devices that consumers cannot get on another device, then we will continue creating software and hardware going forward, and if it comes to a point when we’re not able to do that, I think, yeah, you will see the portable handheld gaming devices go the way of the Dodo, I guess,” Iwata said to Kotaku in a new interview.

“I don’t think there’s not a bright future for handheld devices but I understand that the competition, again with the rise of smart devices, is different and I do recognize that.”

That said the Nintendo 3DS is doing just fine. It recently broke 7 million total sales in Japan alone. The Nintendo DS took 18 months just to sell 10 million worldwide. 3DS games are also moving swiftly, despite a somewhat limited selection.

“3DS software sales [are] excedding DS software sales. I think this is proof that even though we see an increase in smartphones and tablets… there’s obviously a huge flood of games in the market, I think the software sales that Reggie alluded to [at E3] and pointed out really prove that these people, even with this flood of free games and whatnot for these portable devices are not keeping people from purchasing software for dedicated hardware.”

The Nintendo 3DS’ greatest trials are ahead of it though. Comparing its sales to the DS over that devices first two years isn’t a sign of its eventual success. It will be how it compares to the DS during its peak, 2007 to 2010, that really determines if Nintendo has a future in portable gaming.

Iwata’s been having a renaissance this summer. Rather than the classic stoic Japanese executive, the man has been unusually honest and contemplative about his company’s recent decisions. He admitted that 3D is not an audience lure, that it was a mistake to not embrace digital distribution, and he’s adamantly defended some of Nintendo’s unusual hardware design decisions. Iwata was clearly humbled by the failure of the 3DS in 2011—a 50 percent pay cut will do that—and his direction of the company since reflects lessons learned.


It took Dell years to fix 1 problem on its best laptop. Here’s how they did it

The new Dell XPS 13 moves the webcam from the below the screen to the top, finally vanquishing the one obstacle facing thin, sleek laptop displays. We have the exclusive story on how it was done.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

Play your games whenever you want with a MicroSD card for your Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridge-based games, but its internal storage may fill up quicker than you would think. Here's what you should consider when picking out a MicroSD card to expand your Switch's storage capacity.

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

‘Resident Evil 2' is a terrifying new virus you'll want to catch

Resident Evil 2 brings the Raccoon City incident to a new generation of players, acting both as a nostalgic throwback and a thoroughly modern horror game with some of the best visuals of the generation.

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.

Goodbye, Machinima: YouTube gaming channel pulls the plug after 13 years

Machinima, a YouTube gaming channel that was launched in 2006, has suddenly shut down, with all of its videos set to private. The #RIPMachinima hashtag is now making the rounds in social media to reminisce about the channel's content.

Overkill’s ‘The Walking Dead’ delayed indefinitely for PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Overkill's The Walking Dead for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been postponed without a new release date. The co-op zombie shooter suffered massive delays, then received lukewarm reviews once it launched for the PC through Steam.

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.

‘Fortnite’ update makes you the most dangerous snowman ever

The latest content update for Epic Games' Fortnite adds the Sneaky Snowman item, turning players into stealthy masters of disguise. The update also changes the Sniper Shootout game mode.

Having issues with your PS4? Check out our solutions to its most common problems

Just because the PlayStation 4 is a remarkable system doesn't mean that it's immune to the occasional hiccup. Thankfully, we've vetted some of the bigger PS4 problems and found solutions for whatever might ail you.