News Article

The Nintendo 3DS Celebrates its Two Year Anniversary

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Still going strong

Two years ago, on 25th March 2011, the Nintendo 3DS arrived in Europe; its North American release was on 27th March. As the follow-up to the DS family of systems — the biggest selling series of handhelds in history — it arrived with plenty of expectation.

After an excitable launch — it landed in Japan in late February — where nearly four million units were sold, sales plummeted to worrying levels (roughly 750,000 units sold worldwide over a three month period). Nintendo acted with a hefty price cut within six months of launch — appeasing early adopters with 20 free NES and Game Boy Advance downloads — and a range of high-profile releases, culminating with Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 in the Holiday 2011 season. 2012 delivered a string of quality releases, with the handheld maintaining a solid — if unspectacular — pace in the West, while it embarked on an extended run of dominance in Japan that's still continuing today. The games library continues to expand with some big hits; 2013 has already seen Fire Emblem: Awakening in North America, the eventual arrival of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate worldwide, while titles such as the imminent Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon and the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Leaf are just some examples of what this year has in store.

The handheld has also, of course, seen significant growth and improvements to its eShop. The library continues to expand with some excellent software, while demos, DLC and retail downloads are becoming more common. As of 31st December 2012 the handheld had sold nearly 30 million units, so we can confidently say that this particular landmark has now been surpassed. The hardware itself is now available in a variety of bundles and colours, while gamers can opt for the standard model or the XL variant.

It's been a busy, dramatic two years for the 3DS, and despite some prophets of doom predicting its downfall in 2011, it's still carrying on regardless; there's no sign of it disappearing for a good while yet.

With the European, North American and other PAL region anniversaries falling so close together, we'd love to read your "two year report" and thoughts on the handheld in the comments section below.

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User Comments (78)

nakamura

#3

nakamura said:

Woo hoo. Now give us a new F-Zero, Starfox, Metroid or Wave Race for the machine please Nintendo!

DefHalan

#4

DefHalan said:

I wonder if for the 3DS's two year birthday if they will finally announce the Ambassador games will be available for purchase in the near future?

Le_Gazman

#5

Le_Gazman said:

I'm reasonably happy with 3DS but it desperately needs its own Zelda game to become a classic handheld. I still think Mario 3D Land was probably its finest hour to date.

Arcamenel

#8

Arcamenel said:

3DS launched on my 21st birthday here in the US so I got it for free as a gift from my older siblings :c

Ryno

#9

Ryno said:

2 years later and still don't have one. Good for Nintendo that it is doing well though.

Peach64

#10

Peach64 said:

I can't believe how out of the loop I was on Nintendo news back then. I had a DS, a DS lite, but I wasn't really aware of the 3DS until I saw a demo unit in a store during December 2011. Finally picked one up a year later, and I'll be honest, I was kind of surprised by how poor the library was. The first year of the DS had Nintendogs, Animal Crossing, Mario Kart DS, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, Electroplankton, Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, all amazing games. When I picked my 3DS up in December, it had been nearly two years, so I was expecting there to be just as many games I really wanted, but it was only really Super Mario 3D Land. As great as Ocarina of Time was, I'm not really interested in remakes, and I'm so over Mario Kart. Kid Icarus... controls sort of put me off, the voice acting REALLY put me off. Paper Mario: Sticerk Star... not a bad game, but a disappointing move away from the normal Paper Mario formula, which is baffling when it's one of the few series that hasn't exactly been over-exposed.

Thankfully, things are turning around. Fire Emblem and Luigi's Mansion are the sort of calibre of game I was expecting, and Animal Crossing and Mario and Luigi: Dream Team isn't too far away now. My big hopes for the future are an original Zelda (please no remake of Majora or Link to the Past!), a side-scrolling Metroid and a JRPG on a grand scale, an original, single player Dragon Quest or new Monolith game perhaps.

HeatBombastic

#16

HeatBombastic said:

@undead_terror Weird, we've seen Mario Party on the DS, and Advance, but where's Mario Party 3D? And we haven't heard of a Mario Party U (however good or bad you think of new Mario Party games, it does feel odd not having them around). Perhaps we'll get something at E3.

Tasuki

#17

Tasuki said:

Wow its been 2 years already? I guess time flies when having fun is a prime example here.

I honestly haven't played a handheld as much as I have my 3DS since the days of the original Gameboy, for that fact alone its a hit with me.

IAmNotWill

#19

IAmNotWill said:

It's been a great 2 years with this thing. The library is really starting to pick up.

McGruber

#22

McGruber said:

Game wise, I'm content with where the system is after 2 years. Still VERY few games have blown me away. Many of which seem like lite versions of Gamecube games (not exactly a bad thing). But the system itself, and it's "upgrade" the XL have been disappointing. There has been very little improvement to the system. At the very least there should be a black and/or white version of the XL...which itself should have had the circle pad pro built in. Ugh love you Nintendo!

Giygas_95

#23

Giygas_95 said:

And it's been a good handheld. I've never enjoyed a portable console as much as I have the 3DS. So many great games with more on the way! Happy birthday, 3DS.

koopakid98

#24

koopakid98 said:

Happy birthday 3DS. It was a fun time. (even though I only had you since December 2012)

WindWakerLink

#25

WindWakerLink said:

My 2 year report: "Whoa. It's been two years already???!! Wow...." The 3DS is SO AWESOME!!!! Yes, I was disappoint about the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 as that was the only reason I got the system at launch. But...as time went on I've gown to love it! I continue to be AMAZED @ how the games on the 3DS is SUCH HIGH quality games....like home console style in some ways. I'm very happy with my Aqua Blue 3DS!!! Also, I still LOVE playing my Dead or Alive Dimensions. From the fast paced action-packed ninja fighting style to the music and gorgeous graphics with & without the 3D on is BEYOND AMAZING!!! "The 3DS will continue to kick butt and take names!" (Chuckles)

koopakid98

#26

koopakid98 said:

everything is great on my 3DS except for...WHERE THE HELL IS MY HULU PLUS AND YOUTUBE APP I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.

Kyoto

#28

Kyoto said:

Around 1 year ago, KID Icarus: Uprising was released. I already have nostalgic feelings about that game which is a very good sign.
The already great library is getting even better in the coming months!

Happy birthday 3DS! :)

SuperMario85

#32

SuperMario85 said:

Happy Birthday 3DS! I wonder if we will get a special Mii in Mii plaza through Spotpass again like on the 1st year anniversary. Doubtful they will do it again but I thought that was awesome.

Rapido

#33

Rapido said:

Now give us SMT: 4 and DQ: VII oh time consuming, GF opponent of mine.

BabyLogey

#35

BabyLogey said:

@SkywardLink98 Who says that the 3DS will only go on for 4 years? The Wii started in 2006 and is still going, the GameCube went from 2001 to 2007, and the DS started in 2004 but is still going. Nintendo's systems go on longer than 4 years.

KiwiPanda

#36

KiwiPanda said:

I remember in 2011 people were complaining the console wasn't doing so well and wouldn't :D
...And although they do that all the time, even now...
They definitely have plenty of reasons to think otherwise, now.

XFsWorld

#38

XFsWorld said:

Resident Evil: Revelations, Super Mario 3D Land, and Kid Icarus: Uprising sold me on getting a 3DS. [Plays Luigi Mansion 2]

SuperMario85

#39

SuperMario85 said:

@Five-seveN I just got the notification and checked my Mii Plaza and Shigeru Miyamoto was there! Now I have Reggie and Miyamoto. I wonder who it will be next year?

ajcismo

#40

ajcismo said:

I've had mine since launch and never leave the house without it. Happy bday 3DS.

shredmeister

#43

shredmeister said:

I guess there is some cause for celebration. 2 years of 3DS!!! Got my first 3DS on day 1. My first game was Pilotwings Resort. Slim pickings with the launch titles. But there were still a bunch of DS games that I could play and I had Netflix...nice to have those features as well.

Here are my top ten most played games in my activity log:
1. Paper Mario: Sticker Star
2. New Super Mario Bros. 2
3. Mario Tennis Open
4. Ocarina of Time 3D
5. Code of Princess
6. Kid Icarus: Uprising
7. Super Mario 3D Land
8. Fire Emblem: Awakening
9. Mario Kart 7
10. Pushmo

idork99

#45

idork99 said:

A two year report about my favorite system of all time? I'll try to be as brief as possible...

At the end of the Gamecube/GBA era, there was talk of a third pillar system that would introduce players to a new era of gaming. That system ended up being the DS. With it's dual screen and touch screen controls, it was a triumphant to see gaming evolve to the next level. Some dismissed the system as a gimmick and for lack of power compared to the up and coming PSP. But after eight years and a 150 million + units sold, the DS would be anything but a gimmick as it introduced simplified controls that would welcome many new gamers. Then, the arrival of the Wii came and the world became a buzz. From '04-'07, Nintendo became the gaming innovators of a new generation. After, the iPhone came. A year later in mid '08, the app store was introduced to the world and many gamers, veterans and new, were in awe that a phone could reproduce such powerful graphics with such an easy interface. But most importantly, at such a discounted price. As a veteran gamer at the time, I was also a believer of the iOS and vowed to never buy a Nintendo portable again as I thought at the time that they were obsolete. At E3 in 2010, the introduction of the 3DS was made. When I read the news, I felt Nintendo was doomed since personally I saw the 3D of the system as a gimmick. Then, right after, they made the announcement that a remake of the greatest game would be made. That game: Ocarina of Time...in 3D! If it weren't for that game, I would never, ever thought of purchasing another Nintendo system. When the system released two years ago, I felt a guilty conscious inside of me since I would always buy Nintendo systems from day one. But not the 3DS. During E3 of 2011, Nintendo made announcements that the eShop was in business and that TLOZ: Link's Awakening was available! When I read the news, I ran to my local shop and finally purchased the system. Than more portable classics came. Then Ocarina!, Then, original shop titles. Then, my life was over. Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, and so on would take up all of my free time. A year and nine months later, I can't seem to get the 3DS out of my hands. I worry more about that machine then I do about my iPhone! As a gaming veteran since 1985, I've seen, played, read, or heard about every gaming machine imaginable. But now, in 2013, I can say with no hesitation that the 3DS is my favorite system of all time. I know that the same can't be said for every gamer, but this is the way I see things!

Nintendo 3DS; you rock!!! Happy 2nd Birthday and many, many more!!!

SKYW4LK3R

#47

SKYW4LK3R said:

I think that after 2 years they should start releasing more apps like a decent YouTube app or a full fledged web browser could come in handy. On the games side I think that quality and quantity are delivered perfectly and they show no signs of decrease in game releases...

Tsuchiya

#48

Tsuchiya said:

One of the most stupid things I did was selling my 3DS.
I really miss it. I have no idea what games I've missed since I got rid of it. :/

MetalKingShield

#50

MetalKingShield said:

The 3DS is easily my favourite handheld ever, and I've liked all the Nintendo ones. In the early days I took 3D photos and tried to get a StreetPass everywhere I went, as well as played excellent games like Pilotwings Resort and Ocarina of Time. Then there were the times I carried all the brilliant eShop games around with me, like Mighty Switch Force, Zen Pinball and Virtual Console/Ambassador titles, as well as whatever cartridge I was playing at the time (Heroes of Ruin last summer). That's not to mention Letterbox (which was brilliant before Miiverse) and of course the very solid retail line-up consisting of games like Super Mario 3D Land. What a fantastic machine.

Giygas_95

#51

Giygas_95 said:

Now if Wednesday would HURRY UP AND COME so I can get my pre-order of LMDM in the mail!

Emaan

#52

Emaan said:

It's definitely been an eventful 2 years for the system. 2013 looks to really be bringing all the big games I've been waiting for. It's first year, it was lame. Last year, it was getting better. This year, the 3DS is looking to be amazing.

Prof_Elvin_Gadd

#53

Prof_Elvin_Gadd said:

Happy Birthday 3DS! I picked up an original model right after they announced the price drop and have loved it ever since. 16 games later and I'm pretty happy with Nintendo's latest handheld. Their most recent first party game Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon is a great addition to my 3DS library of games. I just bought the Pikachu Edition XL on Sunday and have been very happy with that and it's larger screens. If Nintendo released a Black or White XL model I'll get that too. I guess my money spent shows how much I love this handheld system. Here's to at least a few more years even better than the first two!

GamerZack87

#54

GamerZack87 said:

The Nintendo 3DS is arguably the greatest Nintendo handheld console to date. It is a feature-rich marvel unlike any I could have imagined this time three years ago. Happy Birthday, Nintendo 3DS! Here's to many more years of crisp autostereoscopic visuals, countless SwapSpam, and nostalgic Game Boy memories. :D

dizzy_boy

#55

dizzy_boy said:

streetpassing has been one of the few reasons to get me up and out a bit more often.

dudey300Staff

#56

dudey300 said:

2 years? Wow. I remember it like it was yesterday. To be honest, the main thing that helped me get hyped up for the 3DS was social media. Nobody around me plays video games, so if I want to play against or with someone, I have to hope that games I'm after have online multiplayer.

That day, the whole excited Nintendo community posted countless pictures of their Aqua Blue or Cosmo Black 3DS onto Twitter, along with their choice of games and accessories. I took the day off work too, specifically for the occasion.

Here's to many more years for the 3DS, it's hitting it's stride now.

RantingThespian

#57

RantingThespian said:

I nabbed mine right before the price drop so I could acquire all those nice Ambassador games (since most I never have played, due to the fact that I never owned a GBA).

So far, I think the system is amazing, and is a great success. I do not see it going anywhere for a long time. It may not be as successful as the DS or DSi (just like the Wii U most likely will not be as successful as the Wii), but it will most likely continue to dominate the handheld market til the next Nintendo handheld.

And yes, I play games on my 3DS more than on my Android phone.

Icefreak45

#58

Icefreak45 said:

Got mine before the price cut (dont shoot me I forget the exact day :P), through begging and pleading. I can happily say I've never been happier to beg until I got something. Although the slow start was a bit dissapointing, 2013 is shapping up to not only be Year of Luigi but the Year of the 3ds too and I cant wait for thr future! (Heres hoping the Wii U follows suit, just without a price drop.)

realar

#59

realar said:

Happy birthday to the best handheld to date!! 3DS you are wonderful but would having a better battery be too hard?

Dpullam

#60

Dpullam said:

I am absolutely loving my launch date Nintendo 3DS. I already have had many memorable gaming experiences and I expect many more in the future.

Dpishere

#61

Dpishere said:

This handheld is definitely my favorite handheld I have ever owned. Had it since launch and I haven't regretted it even once since. Looking at future releases it could have my favorite line up of games, more so than any other system.

daniruy

#62

daniruy said:

Game boy: you were a good friend. Now 3DS is taking care of me and give me more of yours games, besides their own. You can rest, my friend. We, portable games, are in good hands...

triforcepower73

#63

triforcepower73 said:

My birthday is the same day as our(my 3DS and I) anniversary: April 4. This April 4th will be our first anniversary. I've enjoyed the past year very much and am very excited to see the coming years we will spend together!

Zodiak13

#64

Zodiak13 said:

Definately the system I play most and I own everything current gen. I enjoy street/spotpass, the games have been fun, and there is a lot of good stuff coming down the pike. It's funny but I used to consider Nintendo for the non-gamers, but as I've gotten older I've decided I just like to have a good time. Here's to many more years :).

lanceorr

#65

lanceorr said:

Yes, but will it blend?

Haha, jk! 3ds is creeping up to be my most played console! Happy Birthday 3ds!

kirby95

#67

kirby95 said:

Happy 2nd Birthday 3DS!!! I got mine on launch day (31/3/2011 in Australia). It sure has been fun. I think the 3D effect's awesome, one of the core reasons I got it. The games just look like they're meant to be in 3D :D Here's to another two!!!

golephish

#68

golephish said:

Got mine on launch in us, but it was stolen recently at an airport. such is life. I am enjoying the forced xl upgrade and hope it keeps going strong — Happy Birthday — And THANK YOU NINTENDO LIFE!

LordessMeep

#69

LordessMeep said:

@Peach64 - Are you me?? :P. I picked up mine in late December 2012.. and then Midnight Purple was released just a few weeks later. D: Flame Red is not too shabby though. My first game till this September was Super Mario 3D Land. I just had a lot on my plate, what with the last year of college, so I didn't purchase any new games till fall. Even then, I picked up older titles like OOT3D and SM64DS. Pokemon White 2 was another game that occupied my time till FE:A.

2013 has been an absolutely fantastic time to own a 3DS. FE:A has occupied the last six weeks of my gaming time, with it being the perfect thing to play on my hour-long commute. Luigi's Mansion 2 is shaping up to be one of the better games for the 3DS. I just have enough cash for HarmoKnight and AC:NL. For the latter half of this year, it's Pokemon X/Y all the way.. unless Nintendo decides to unleash an original Zelda title (or Majora's Mask for that matter :D) for the holiday season. Or an actual handheld 3D Mario game. Either way, my wallet's going to be emptied out.

LavaTwilight

#70

LavaTwilight said:

I've only come to the decision to purchase it recently, with the XL-free download promotion and a good choice of games now available; so I don't have a 2year report per se but I can say I am extremely regretful that I didn't pick one up at launch. C'est la vie!

TheAdza

#71

TheAdza said:

Had mine at launch, and while I did have some away time from the system due to lack of games at the start, that sure changes and time went on. And it's mainly due to the 3DS eShop. There has been so many games on there that are amazing. If you have a 3DS but haven't taken it online to buy things from the eShop you are seriously missing out. I have almost played my 3DS more than I have my old DS consoles. It's just that good. And once Pokemon X & Y get here it will be my most played console for sure.

I love 3DS, even more so when I upgraded to the XL. If anyone has yet to buy one, definitely buy the XL version, and I implore you to seek out the games on the eShop.

AJWolfTill

#73

AJWolfTill said:

I only own 4 retail games for it, SM3DL, Zelda, KI:U and Virtue's Last Reward but the later two of those are my favourite handheld games of all time. It's a fantastic system and I really need to get round to picking up those games I've been oggling since I bought it :)

PinkSpider

#74

PinkSpider said:

The 3DS is easily one of the best gaming experiences I have had in a long time, now all Nintendo need to do is sort out the Wii U and everything will be rosy.
I wanna see more cross intergrtion these two platforms are the only things I use right now.

Sakura

#75

Sakura said:

Love the 3DS! Except that the special mii accomplishment in Streetpass is impossible. What's the point of a game that can never be finished? Nintendo's dropped the ball here.

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