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3DS lifecycle extends to 2019 with Nintendo Direct surprise announcements

Luigi's Mansion remake, new WarioWare and Bowser's Inside Story bolsters handheld's line-up for the next 12 months

Nintendo released its latest Direct presentation last night and, while the majority of announcements were Switch-bound, the platform holder certainly displayed no signs of abandoning the 3DS.

The company unveiled several surprise new titles for the handheld, including a new WarioWare, a remake of the original Luigi's Manson, quirky tower defence title Dillon's Dead-Heat Breakers, a port of Wii U hit Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, and an updated version of Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story.

While the first four are all due for release by the end of 2018, it's interesting that Bowser's Inside Story has been scheduled for next year. It indicates Nintendo still has plans for the handheld in 2019 (and possibly beyond), with further releases for the device a likelihood.

Since the launch and strong early success of Switch, the fate of Nintendo's current handheld has been uncertain. While the platform holder has promised to continue supporting the device, long-time Nintendo followers will remember similar claims when the Nintendo DS was initially positioned as a 'third pillar' alongside the firm's home consoles and Game Boy family. The latter, inevitably, was retired.

Unless Nintendo announces a new handheld during the course of the year - unlikely, given the current focus on Switch - it also means the 3DS will have gone longer without a direct replacement than its forebear. Nintendo DS was released in 2004 and followed by 3DS seven years later. 2019 will mark the eighth year of the 3DS lifecycle.

Of course, the 3DS has a long way to go to outperform its predecessor in terms of unit sales. As of December 31st, 2018, Nintendo reports 154 million DS units sold worldwide - considerably more than the 72 million 3DS has achieved so far.

The reveal of Luigi's Mansion and WarioWare for 3DS has been met with disappointment by some excitable Switch owners this morning, but Nintendo is no doubt targeting the handheld's considerably larger audience - almost five times more than the 14.9 million Switch units sold.

There was plenty for Switch owners to enjoy in last night's Direct, including Super Smash Bros, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, the Crash Bandicoot Trilogy, South Park, Okami HD, Dark Souls: Remastered, Undertale, Little Nightmares and several Splatoon 2 updates.

The presentation significantly bolstered Nintendo's 2018 line-up for the rapidly selling new console, which had previously been looking a little thin when compared to its stellar first-year release slate.

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