The headlines earlier this week often focused on 2017. The NX and the new Legend of Zelda are both due next year, and in the nearer future there are particularly low Wii U sales forecasts; as a result the 3DS is going to be central to Nintendo's 2016. The portable has done the job of carrying Nintendo to profits for a few years now, and needs to do it one more time.
The 3DS will have some help, with the NX likely to contribute launch sales to boost Nintendo's financial results next March, while amiibo, download sales and smart device apps will also be vital. Yet there's little getting away from the fact that the handheld needs to drag itself to some decent results. Though the portable's hardware sales for the year are expected to drop to 5 million (down from 6.79 million), software sales are expected to go up compared to last year, with a target of 55 million (compared to 48.52 million). For context, only 800,000 Wii U systems and 15 million games for the home console are expected to sell in the same period. Kimishima-san has said the following to investors on the 3DS' role:
This fiscal year, the 3DS has big titles as previously presented, and in sufficient quantity. Both hardware and software will make large contributions to sales. Also, while Wii U sales are forecast to drop to 800,000 units, the upside is that we can focus on the 3DS.
Can the 3DS do it? Well, the numbers don't seem too unrealistic, especially with Pokémon Sun and Moon on the way and - we'd hope - amiibo to potentially tie in with that blockbuster arrival. Nintendo has also cited Metroid Prime: Federation Force as a key release (stop laughing in the back), and some key localisations in the West could pitch in - titles like Monster Hunter Generations, Kirby: Planet Robobot and the Dragon Quest remasters (VII and VIII) could all shift decent numbers. There are a lot of smaller but still notable games on the way, too - we listed some of them recently in our 'Biggest 3DS Games of 2016' article.
Unlike the Wii U's thin line-up the argument can be made that dedicated 3DS gamers have a solid release slate to look forward to, and Nintendo has stated that unannounced games are still in development. Despite the hardware's limitations it's still seemingly ticking along nicely in terms of new games, with its sizeable userbase and consistent sales in Japan (particularly) helping a great deal.
This writer certainly finds himself playing the 3DS more frequently than the Wii U at present, so focusing on the portable to see out 2016 makes some sense. But what do you think? Are you pleased to see the 3DS taking a lead alongside mobile and amiibo for the rest of this year? Or is the hardware too limited and under-powered to still do the job?
We'll be considering the continuing need for 3DS to deliver solid results for Nintendo over the weekend, but until then let us know what you think in the poll and comments.