Nintendo 3DSNintendo

Nintendo 3DS Release Date: The Day it Hit the Shelves and Its Legacy

The Nintendo 3DS is a notable name in the world of handheld gaming. Known for its unique 3D visuals and impressive game lineup, it has become a favorite for many gamers over the years.

But when was it first introduced to the market?

Let’s dive into its release history, key features, and the significant moments that shaped its journey in the gaming industry.

Release Date of Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS was first launched in Japan on February 26, 2011. Following this release, it became available in other regions worldwide, starting in March 2011. Some specific dates of release in other regions include:

  • North America: March 27, 2011
  • Europe: March 25, 2011

In July 2012, Nintendo released the Nintendo 3DS XL, a larger version of the original console. With bigger screens and improved battery life, the 3DS XL gave gamers an enhanced experience while keeping the same functionality and capabilities of the original 3DS.

The New Nintendo 3DS, launched in Japan in October 2014 and subsequently in the West in 2015, introduced a range of improvements to the existing 3DS lineup. This version added a second control stick, two additional bumper buttons, and a more powerful processor, enhancing the playability and versatility of the system.

Throughout its nine-year run, the Nintendo 3DS lineup offered a wide array of games, ranging from new titles to classic re-releases and unique indie games. The 3DS continued to build on the legacy of its predecessor, the Nintendo DS, by offering popular series such as Pokémon, Zelda, and Mario on its platform.

In 2020, Nintendo officially discontinued production of the 3DS lineup, marking the end of its era. Despite this, the 3DS remains a beloved gaming system for fans and collectors alike, with its impressive range of titles and innovative features that changed the landscape of handheld gaming.

Below is a comprehensive table detailing the different variants of the Nintendo 3DS, their respective release dates, and their original prices across major regions.

Nintendo 3DS VariantRelease DateOriginal Price
Nintendo 3DSFebruary 26, 2011 (Japan), March 27, 2011 (North America)¥25,000 (Japan), $249.99 (North America)
Nintendo 3DS XL (3DS LL in Japan)July 28, 2012 (Japan), August 19, 2012 (North America)¥18,900 (Japan), $199.99 (North America)
Nintendo 2DSOctober 12, 2013$129.99 (North America)
New Nintendo 3DSOctober 11, 2014 (Japan), February 13, 2015 (North America)¥16,000 (Japan), $199.99 (North America for XL)
New Nintendo 3DS XL (3DS LL in Japan)October 11, 2014 (Japan), February 13, 2015 (North America)¥18,800 (Japan), $199.99 (North America)
New Nintendo 2DS XLJuly 13, 2017 (Japan), July 28, 2017 (North America)¥14,980 (Japan), $149.99 (North America)

3DS Variations & Release Dates

Nintendo 3DS XL

The Nintendo 3DS XL was an upgraded version of the original Nintendo 3DS, released in July 2012. It featured larger screens, with the top screen being 90% larger than the original, and an increased battery life. The design was also changed, with rounded edges and a slimmer form factor, making it more comfortable to hold.

Nintendo 2DS

Nintendo 2DS was introduced in October 2013 as a more affordable option for those who didn’t require the 3D feature. This variant eliminated the clamshell design in favor of a slate-like form factor. Despite the absence of 3D functionality, it was still compatible with all Nintendo 3DS and DS games, and offered the same features as the 3DS, including access to the eShop, StreetPass, and Miiverse.

New Nintendo 3DS

In October 2014, the New Nintendo 3DS was launched with enhanced features, including an upgraded CPU, an added C-Stick analog control, more button options, a refined camera, and several other modifications.

The New Nintendo 3DS also had interchangeable faceplates, allowing users to customize the appearance of their console. The system was equipped with improved 3D technology, providing a better and more stable 3D viewing experience.

Initial Market Reception

Critics Review

The Nintendo 3DS received generally positive reviews from critics upon release. They praised its innovative 3D capabilities, versatile gaming features, and compatibility with both older Nintendo DS games and new 3DS titles. However, some criticism was directed at the limited battery life and concerns about the potential strain on users’ eyes caused by extended 3D gameplay.

Sales Performance

Despite the positive reviews, the Nintendo 3DS had a disappointing launch in terms of sales. The device was first released in Japan on February 26, 2011, followed by worldwide releases in March 2011. However, the initial high price of $249.99 may have deterred potential customers, leading to lower-than-expected sales figures.

To address this issue, Nintendo took action by significantly reducing the price of the 3DS to $169.99 in July 2011. This move helped boost sales and improve the overall market performance of the Nintendo 3DS system.

Major Games for 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS has an extensive library of games that cater to a wide variety of genres and preferences. Some of the most popular and critically acclaimed titles for the 3DS include:

  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds: An action-adventure game that combines elements from previous Zelda games with new gameplay mechanics. Players navigate both a top-down overworld and a unique wall-merging ability to solve puzzles and explore dungeons.
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon: These role-playing games mark the beginning of the seventh generation of Pokémon games. Players embark on a journey to become a Pokémon Trainer in the Alola region while discovering new Pokémon species and battling various opponents.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening: A tactical role-playing game, where players control a customizable character in an epic quest to save the continent of Ylisse from destruction. With its engaging story, deep strategic combat system, and well-developed character relationships, it is considered one of the best entries in the series.
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf: A social simulation game where players take on the role of the mayor of a virtual town, interacting with anthropomorphic animal inhabitants, participating in various activities such as fishing, bug-catching, and designing their own homes.
  • Mario Kart 7: The seventh entry in the Mario Kart series delivers a fast-paced, fun racing experience with well-crafted tracks, new kart customization options, and engaging multiplayer modes.

These titles, among others, have helped the Nintendo 3DS become one of the most beloved handheld gaming consoles to date. The variety and quality of games available for the platform have attracted players of all ages and tastes, contributing to the continued success and popularity of the Nintendo 3DS.

Discontinuation of Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS was officially discontinued on September 16, 2020. This decision came after almost a decade since its initial release in 2011. Over the years, the 3DS went through several redesigns, eventually leading to a family of six different models: the 3DS, 3DS XL, New 3DS, New 3DS XL, 2DS, and New 2DS XL. The discontinuation applied to all of these models.

By the time it was discontinued, Nintendo had sold more than 75 million units of the 3DS series worldwide. While this was a notable achievement, it did not surpass the original DS from 2004, which sold 154 million units. The end of the 3DS was not entirely unexpected. The introduction of the Nintendo Switch, which launched in early 2017, gradually replaced the 3DS as the company’s premier handheld gaming device.

Although the 3DS hardware production ceased, Nintendo Network services remained active in most regions for some time. However, the Nintendo eShop was eventually shut down on March 27, 2023. This marked the end of an era for the 3DS, as the focus shifted towards newer gaming devices, such as the Nintendo Switch and its successors. Throughout its lifespan, the Nintendo 3DS brought countless hours of entertainment to gamers all around the world, with an extensive library of games and unique features such as stereoscopic 3D visuals.

Legacy of 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS came out in Japan on February 26, 2011, and gradually spread its launch worldwide by March 2011. Its eventual release helped to revolutionize the portable gaming industry, leaving a lasting impression on players and developers alike. Despite a rocky start with disappointing launch sales, Nintendo quickly adjusted their strategy. By cutting the price from $249.99 to $169.99 less than six months after its release, Nintendo managed to boost the handheld’s popularity.

Over its lifetime, the Nintendo 3DS proved itself as a versatile console. Its appeal came not only from its 3D capabilities but also from an enticing library of games. The 3DS offered a wide selection of game genres ranging from acclaimed titles like The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Pokémon Sun and Moon to innovative hits such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Fire Emblem: Awakening. This diverse game catalogue played a crucial role in the handheld’s enduring appeal.

Although the 3DS was never a perfect console, its innovation and charm throughout its years on the market cannot be denied. The handheld managed to accumulate over 75 million sales worldwide before its eventual discontinuation in 2020. As a testament to its ability to connect with users globally, the 3DS established a rich and varied player community.

Furthermore, the 3DS provided players with additional advances in gaming technology. One crucial aspect was its backward compatibility with the DS line, ensuring that a vast collection of previous classic titles remained accessible to new generations of gamers. This compatibility expanded the 3DS’s gaming library and ultimately contributed to the handheld’s enduring success.

In conclusion, the Nintendo 3DS established a memorable legacy in portable gaming thanks to its innovative technology and impressive library of games that captivated millions of gamers worldwide.

Alex Henderson

Alex Henderson, known to the online gaming community as "GameMaster", brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to the world of video games. With over 15 years of experience, Alex has worked as a game tester, programmer, and designer for several top gaming companies before deciding to share his insights and reviews with the gaming community. He specializes in RPGs and adventure games, but his love for gaming knows no genre boundaries. Alex's goal is to help gamers of all levels navigate the exciting and ever-evolving world of gaming.

Related Articles

Back to top button