commentary Although Nintendo has said little about its plans for the Nintendo 3DS, its upcoming 3D-capable portable gaming device, company exec Reggie Fils-Aime recently said in an interview with BusinessWeek that the 3DS isn't just another version of the DS. Instead, the device will replace Nintendo's DS line.
"We have ideas of what we want to bring to the consumer that we can't do with the current DS model," Fils-Aime, who is president of Nintendo of America, told BusinessWeek in the interview. "The Nintendo 3DS for us is our next handheld platform." He went on to say that his company's move from the DS to the 3DS will mimic its decision to ditch the Game Boy in favor of the DS.
Nintendo's decision to push the DS aside in favor of a new platform is rather interesting. The company stuck with the Game Boy for more than 15 years until it opted for the Nintendo DS. It sold more than 200 million Game Boy units because of it.
Like its predecessor, the DS has sold extremely well, tallying more than 125 million unit sales worldwide since its 2004 launch. Based on those sales figures and the fact that Nintendo recently launched the DSi XL for those who want larger screens, the DS wouldn't seem like an obvious candidate for replacement.
Sony agrees. The company's marketing director for hardware, John Koller, said recently that the 3DS "is a little bit of a stretch given where some of [Sony's] research is right now."
But it seems that Nintendo is trying to once again push the envelope with a technology that may or may not appeal to gamers. And in the process, it's making it clear that the 3DS is the next generation of its handheld devices, not a rework of current-gen products. Whether or not that means that Nintendo will discontinue the DS or if it will support both platforms while the 3DS is trying to gain traction in the market still remains to be seen. Fils-Aime would only say that Nintendo will provide details on the future of its mobile division at E3 in June.