Nintendo 3DS sales take surprising turn amid Switch success

With Nintendo looking to turn the Switch into the next Wii, it's tempting to assume that the 3DS is entering end-of-life. After all, we've had indications that the Pokemon and Fire Emblem series – two of the biggest 3DS franchises – are soon to jump ship to the Switch. Despite that, it would appear that the 3DS still has some fight left in it, as the latest numbers from the NPD Group paint a pretty encouraging picture for January sales.

According to NPD and reported by, the games industry as a whole had a good January. Total industry sales of $1.1 billion were the highest we've seen since January 2011, with games like Monster Hunter: World, Dragonball Fighterz, and Call of Duty: WWII leading the charge. On the hardware side of things, NPD found that total sales for January grew an impressive 119% year-over-year.

Though NPD doesn't delve into specifics, it does say that the Nintendo 3DS recorded its best January since 2014. Overall unit sales were the highest they've been since 2013, which is impressive when you consider that there weren't any major releases for the 3DS last month. What's causing this growth, then?

One part may be the relatively low cost of the 3DS. While home consoles tend to hover around $300 each on any given day, the 2DS XL can be had for $150, while standard 2DS systems can be purchased for even less. Just as well, keep in mind that even though Game Freak is working on a mainline Pokemon game for the Switch, at the moment the 3DS remains the only place to play those games. Recent releases of Pokemon UltraSun and UltraMoon have probably played a part in spurring sales.

While NPD notes that all platforms did well last month, it's especially impressive to see the 3DS holding its own at a time when Nintendo seems to be winding down development for it. We'll see if it can keep this momentum up as we move deeper into 2018, so stay tuned.