The Nintendo 3DS[a] is a handheld game console produced by Nintendo. It was announced in March 2010 and unveiled at E3 2010 as the successor to the Nintendo DS. The system features backward compatibility with older Nintendo DS video games. As an eighth-generation console, its primary competitor was Sony's PlayStation Vita.
The handheld's most prominent feature is its ability to display stereoscopic 3D effects without the use of 3D glasses or additional accessories, and offers new features such as the StreetPass and SpotPass tag modes, powered by Nintendo Network; augmented reality using its 3D cameras; and Virtual Console, which allows owners to download and play games originally released on older video game systems. It is also pre-loaded with various applications including an online distribution store called Nintendo eShop; a social networking service called Miiverse (shut down in November 8 2017); an Internet Browser; the Netflix, Hulu Plus, and YouTube streaming video services; Nintendo Video; a messaging application called Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in Europe and Australia); and Mii Maker.
The Nintendo 3DS was released in Japan on February 26, 2011, and worldwide beginning in March 2011. Less than six months later on July 28, 2011, Nintendo announced a significant price reduction from US$249 to US$169 amid disappointing launch sales. The company offered ten free Nintendo Entertainment System games and ten free Game Boy Advance games from the Nintendo eShop to consumers who bought the system at the original launch price. This strategy was considered a major success, and the console went on to become one of Nintendo's most successful handheld consoles in the first two years of its release. As of September 30, 2020, the Nintendo 3DS family of systems combined have sold 75.92 million units, and games for the systems have sold 383.1 million units as of March 31, 2020.
The 3DS received multiple redesigns over the course of its life. The Nintendo 3DS XL, a larger model, was first released in Japan and Europe in July 2012, featuring a 90% larger screen. An "entry-level" version of the console, the Nintendo 2DS, with a fixed "slate" form factor and lacking autostereoscopic (3D) functionality, was released in Western markets in October 2013. The New Nintendo 3DS features a more powerful CPU, a second analog stick called the C-Stick, additional buttons, an improved camera, and other changes, and was first released in Japan in October 2014.
The 3DS family was discontinued on September 16, 2020, though the Nintendo eShop and Nintendo Network remain active in most regions. While the 3DS stands as the lowest-selling Nintendo handheld, mainly due to major adoption of smart devices, it is still regarded as a success, hosting several critically acclaimed games that helped it stay competitive, and helping Nintendo stay relevant in the industry despite the commercial underperformance of the Wii U.