Even before the Switch launched, Nintendo said it wasn't going to abandon the 3DS as a platform. Then the Switch sold millions and looks like it will continue to do well, but Nintendo stayed true to its word. The 3DS isn't being abandoned, and it's even receiving another hardware refresh in the form of the 2DS XL arriving in late July.
However, while Nintendo is still be backing the 2DS/3DS, key developers may be starting to move away. The first is Intelligent Systems, a developer best known for the Fire Emblem and Paper Mario games, although we can't forget they also created the Advance Wars series.
Intelligent Systems' latest release for the 3DS is Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, which arrives next week in Japan and on May 19 in the US and across Europe. It's the third Fire Emblem title developer for the 3DS, but it's also the last. According to Japanese Nintendo, Fire Emblem producer Hitoshi Yamagami states in the June 2017 issues of Japanese publication Dengeki Nintendo, that this will probably be the last Fire Emblem on the handheld.
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I don't think he needed to use the word "probably" as this looks quite definite. You only have to look to where the next main entry in the Fire Emblem series is set to appear: the Nintendo Switch. With sales predicted to hit 13 million by the end of the next financial year, a Fire Emblem game is sure to sell extremely well. That will tie Intelligent Systems to Switch and Nintendo will certainly encourage them to stay there.
It's true that the 3DS is continuing to sell, but this is an old platform that will reach end-of-life status much sooner than the Switch. Developers go where the players are, and that clearly looks to be Switch for the next few years. And when you consider games take between one and three years to make, who could confidently bet on the 3DS still being viable come 2020?
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