In a surprising turn of events, the Nintendo 3DS, which had its support officially discontinued by Nintendo a few years ago, has unexpectedly received a new system update. Despite Nintendo’s focus shifting to the Switch as its primary gaming console, the 3DS enjoyed an impressively long lifespan compared to its predecessors. Introduced in 2011, the handheld device continued to be sold until 2020 and even received software releases from independent developers as recently as last year. This unexpected update appears to address minor issues and provide fixes for the 3DS console.
It is not uncommon for console updates to be released even after the discontinuation of a system. The PlayStation 3 from Sony is a notable example, as it has received firmware updates up to the present, with the latest update being version 4.90 in February. However, in the case of the 3DS, recent updates have been a source of frustration for fans who still use the console. Nintendo closed both the 3DS and Wii U eShop earlier this year, depriving users of certain services. Nevertheless, a new update has now been released for the 3DS, focusing on minor fixes and introducing some small changes to the handheld device.
Nintendo’s Japanese customer support Twitter account recently provided information about the latest minor update for the 3DS. The system update, version 11.17.0-50J, does not bring any significant changes to the Nintendo console. Instead, it focuses on minor fixes aimed at improving system stability and convenience. Similar updates have been common for consoles in the past, as they typically address quality-of-life improvements and quietly patch bugs and exploits in the operating system. While hardware sales for the 3DS were officially discontinued in 2020, Nintendo Network services for the handheld console are still available.
Although the recent minor system update may not entice fans to revisit their 3DS consoles, it holds significance as the console served as the final stronghold for several beloved features. With the discontinuation of the Wii U, the 3DS became Nintendo’s last active console to offer the popular Virtual Console game library. Additionally, StreetPass was a cherished aspect of the handheld, enabling 3DS users to engage with other users they encountered in games such as Mii Plaza and Super Smash Bros for Nintendo 3DS. This service has even prompted some fans to organize live events in an attempt to revive the StreetPass experience, as witnessed earlier this year.
Although the Nintendo 3DS has faded from the limelight, fans continue to hold a deep appreciation for its extensive game library. Notably, popular titles like Etrian Odyssey and Monster Hunter Generations have received enhanced re-releases on the Nintendo Switch, further demonstrating the enduring appeal of these games. Fans have expressed their desire for the 3DS library to be accessible on the Switch, particularly through the Nintendo Switch Online program, following the recent inclusion of Game Boy titles. The 3DS stands as a testament to Nintendo’s era of creative and innovative gaming, leaving a lasting impact on the industry.