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Even after eShop closure, Nintendo’s sold more than 200,000 3DS games

Hardware sales haven’t increased much, however

A person holding a Nintendo 3DS in 2011 Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP via Getty Images
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

The Nintendo 3DS, the company’s 2011 successor to the Nintendo DS, was discontinued in 2020, but the handheld console has continued to have a dedicated fanbase. While the Wii U and 3DS eShop shutdowns in late March have made it much harder to buy new games for the console, somehow, 3DS fans have persisted. Over the past three months, Nintendo has sold roughly 210,000 3DS games, according to its quarterly earnings results.

3DS hardware sales remained steady at 75.94 million units since the last earnings update, but software sales jumped to 391.59 million from 391.38 million. It’s not as huge of an increase as sales posted in winter, before the eShop closure, where there was an increase of 1.28 million sales, as Axios’ Stephen Totilo pointed out on Twitter. However, it does show that the 3DS is not dead, and remains a popular console for certain users.

Nintendo’s Wii U console, which was released a year after the 3DS in 2012, had no movement on its listed numbers. This doesn’t mean that no games were sold, but that the number was not high enough to reach a threshold on its estimates.

With the eShop shutdown, these sales were likely all of physical copies of games available on the console — a bunch of 3DS games never got physical releases, so those, unfortunately, remain unavailable legally. You can buy 3DS games in stores like GameStop, Best Buy, and Target (as well as used through other marketplaces), but it may be hard to seek out older and rare titles now. Nintendo still supports the console’s online servers, meaning you can still play games with multiplayer; it’s not clear how long Nintendo will keep these running. (The company shut off online servers for Wii, DS, and DSi games in 2014.)

Nintendo debuted the 3DS at E3 2010 before releasing it in 2011; the handheld console upgraded the DS to include glasses-free 3D, which ended up being more of a novelty. The Nintendo 2DS was released in 2013 as a lower-cost console without the 3D capabilities. The New Nintendo 3DS and 3DS XL came later years later, before Nintendo released the New Nintendo 2DS XL — a bigger version of the 2015 release — in 2017, a month following the Nintendo Switch’s release.

As of March 31, Nintendo’s top-selling 3DS games are Mario Kart 7, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, New Super Mario Bros. 2, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Nintendo did not update this list with this quarter’s financial results.

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