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.


Walmart cuts prices on Nintendo Switch games with Memorial Day sale

With savings on high-caliber Nintendo Switch games, the Walmart Memorial Day sale is a great time to pick up something new to play. There are even a few deals on accessories to beef up your console.

From Kefka to card games, here’s our beginner’s guide to Final Fantasy XIV

With Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers right around the corner, now's the time to give the game a shot. From hyper-difficult battle content to relaxing card games, our FFXIV beginner's guide will ease you into all of Eorzea's finest…

GameStop Memorial Day sale: PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch deals

Some of the deals at the Gamestop Memorial Day sale include PS4 and Xbox bundles that come with essential games like God of War or Forza Horizon 3. If you're just looking to scoop up games, used titles are 50% off throughout the event.

Everything we know about the PlayStation 5, including PlayStation VR plans

PlayStation 5 rumors have circulated for over a year, but there's still plenty we don't know. Here's everything you need to know about the PS5, including rumors about its release, specs, and games.

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Tricked-out e-scooters and bike lights that lock

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's fun to gawk!

Walmart drops deals on Xbox One X games and accessories for Memorial Day

The most obvious deals are on console bundles, but there are also discounts on wireless controllers here and there. If you're just looking for new Xbox One games to play, Walmart is offering popular titles for cheap.
Buying Guides

The best PlayStation 4 exclusives you can get right now

The PlayStation 4's game library and an 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.

Microsoft Project xCloud will support all current and future Xbox One games

Microsoft's Project xCloud video game streaming service will support all current and future Xbox titles. This includes more than 3,500 games for the Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, and more than 1,900 future games for the Xbox One.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer moves to Epic Games, Fortnite esports

Nate Nanzer, the founding commissioner of the Overwatch League, will be leaving his post to join Epic Games and oversee competitive Fortnite. Nanzer will be inheriting a robust esports scene, but one besieged by cheating.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night DLC stirs controversy for Kickstarter backers

The post-launch DLC for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has been revealed. The $10 Iga's Back Pack DLC that will allow players to earn the Swordwhip weapon, however, has stirred controversy among the game's Kickstarter backers.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will focus on ‘troubling, realistic’ emotions

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is reportedly the title for this year's entry in the series. The game is also said to draw inspiration from the controversial No Russian level of 2009's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.