Fire Emblem Echoes will be the final 3DS game in the series

It looks like the Fire Emblem series won't be calling the 3DS home for much longer. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is just a couple of weeks old, but Nintendo has already indicated that it may be the final entry for the series on the 3DS. It sounds like we can look forward to the next mainline installment launching on the Switch, then.

That's according to Japanese Nintendo, which cites an interview Fire Emblem producer Hitoshi Yamagami gave to Dengeki Nintendo, a Japanese magazine. In it, he says that Fire Emblem Echoes will probably be the final mainline Fire Emblem game developed for the 3DS. Though fans will still have Fire Emblem Warriors to look forward to later this year, it sounds like the Switch will be the platform for mainline games from here on out.

That's a rather interesting development because of the implications it has for the 3DS platform as a whole. Nintendo has said in the past that it will continue to support the 3DS with the Switch on store shelves, but it's never really given a timeline for when we can expect the 3DS to enter end of life. Moving Fire Emblem from 3DS to Switch could signal that a 3DS sunset is coming up.

To get a better idea of when that will happen, we can take a look at the lifespan of its predecessor, the Nintendo DS. Nintendo offered the original DS for a grand total of 10 years, from 2004 to 2014. By comparison, the 3DS has been available since 2011, and if Nintendo wanted the same 10 year lifespan for the 3DS, support wouldn't be winding down for another three or four years.

However, it's worth pointing out that the original DS is the best-selling platform in the company's history, selling an amazing 154 million units worldwide. While the 3DS is selling well, its sales aren't anywhere near the level of the DS, clocking in at only 66 million. With that in mind, a 10 year lifespan for the 3DS may not be a realistic expectation.

It's hard to see the 3DS lasting more than a couple more years, but what happens after Nintendo discontinues the it? That's the big question – does Nintendo launch another handheld or does it focus the entirety of its efforts on the Switch? Nintendo has historically been difficult to get a read on, but to me, it doesn't make sense to launch a 3DS successor if – and this is a somewhat big if – the Switch becomes a success.

In any case, moving a big franchise away from the 3DS indicates that we might get a clearer perspective sooner rather than later. As always, take this information for a grain of salt for now, but we'll see if this report receives any kind of additional confirmation. For now, head down to the comments section and let us know what you think about this news.

SOURCE: Japanese Nintendo