Why Are 3DS So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Freya Crawford

Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

The Nintendo 3DS made waves when it was first released in 2010, and although 3DS has since been discontinued, many gamers still believe that it is still worth owning today.

Nevertheless, you might notice that even without new software and updates, the 3DS is still pricey. Why is the 3DS so expensive? I looked into it, and here is what I found!

Why Are 3DS So Expensive?

3DS is expensive because retro games and consoles are in-demand. While 3DS has only been discontinued for a short while, many people consider 3DS a classic. There are a limited number of 3DS in circulation, and there are 3DS formats that are rare. Moreover, reseller prices for 3DS are increasing, making it expensive.

If you are interested in learning more about the popularity of 3DS and the factors that make 3DS rare and expensive, keep on reading!

1. Retro Games Are Making A Comeback

Since the introduction of next-gen gaming consoles, more and more classic games like Crash Bandicoot and Final Fantasy VII have been remade to suit these consoles.

However, these upgrades also brought a wave of nostalgia for other retro games in their original pixelated graphics, resulting in a sales spike.

Additionally, most of these retro games have to be played on consoles they are compatible with, which means that gamers need to buy retro games with retro consoles.

Granted, Nintendo 3DS is far from retro, but gamers have classified 3DS as such since it is heading down that path in a couple of years, making 3DS more expensive.

2. 3DS Fits The Retro Trend

Compared to Nintendo Switch, 3DS tends to look outdated. In fact, 3DS has aesthetics that are slightly reminiscent of the ultimate retro handheld console, the Game Boy.

Also, alongside the rise of retro gaming is the popularity of retro fashion, and accessories like 3DS fit the bill.

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Therefore, with renewed interest in consoles like Nintendo 3DS because of the ongoing retro fashion trend, prices would naturally skyrocket.

3. 3DS Is A Console By Nintendo

When people think of video games, one of the first names that pop into their minds is Nintendo.

After all, Nintendo has been on top of the gaming industry ever since the release of the Game Boy in 1989, and Nintendo continues to be a huge part of many people’s childhood.

Therefore, with such a massive global brand behind 3DS, it is no surprise that 3DS commands such a high selling price.

4. 3DS Is No Longer Being Produced

After almost a decade since 3DS was launched, Nintendo announced that it was discontinuing the production of all 3DS formats, including 3DS XL.

Mainly, this decision was spurred by the steep decline in sales and support for 3DS. By discontinuing the 3DS, Nintendo would also be able to focus on Nintendo Switch.

Also, since 3DS is no longer being produced, the availability of 3DS in the market becomes slimmer by the year, and this scarcity makes it expensive.

5. 3DS Contains A Powerful Graphic Card

One thing that makes consoles like 3DS expensive is graphic cards. Basically, through graphic cards, the 3DS can deliver the sleek visuals it promised.

Also, while 3DS’s PICA200 GPU is by no means a powerhouse today, it was a reputable graphic card back in 2010 and has set a high benchmark for 3DS’s selling price today.

6. 3S Comes In Rare Formats

6. 3S Comes In Rare Formats

Nintendo loves to roll out special edition formats of its consoles, and 3DS was not spared from this treatment.

Throughout 3DS’ popularity, Nintendo released designs that either appealed to a specific demographic of gamers or celebrated upcoming 3DS games.

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Further, some of these special edition 3DS formats include the Happy Home Designer for Animal Crossing, The Legend of Zelda, Naruto, and Pikachu.

So, if these special edition 3DS formats were rare then, they are rarer now. Consequently, this rarity only drives up the cost of 3DS today.

7. New 3DS Games Are Still Being Made

Even though 3DS is no longer in production, Nintendo has been stealthily reprinting 3DS games in Europe.

For example, some of the titles that have been released are Stella Glow, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Bravely Default, and Kirby Planet Robobot.

Also, apart from being hard-to-find titles, these games were previously thought to be available only digitally.

Moreover, reprints of classic games with huge followings make 3DS desirable to play again, therefore driving up the sales of 3DS and its prices.

8. Import Fees Make 3DS Expensive

3DS was produced mainly in Japan, where it already comes at a hefty price. Therefore, once the 3DS is shipped to another country, the 3DS’ prices go up due to the import fees.

So, depending on where you live, tariffs can be minimal or extravagant. Regardless, any additional amount can make 3DS a little pricier for consumers.

9. Shipping Fees Add To The Cost Of 3DS

Global supply chains were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which clearly shows the increased shipping cost around the world.

Also, it does not matter whether the shipment is a single 3DS or a freight full of brand new 3DS; getting any gadget overseas costs more money than it did in the past five years.

Naturally, these increased shipment costs can only be compensated through profit, and for that to happen, the selling price of 3DS has to go up.

10. Resellers Place A Huge Mark-Up On 3DS

Resellers know that there is a high demand for 3DS today. Therefore, with more demand come more sales, which gives resellers the confidence to boost their mark-up.

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Additionally, some resellers procure in-demand items like 3DS in bulk, leaving other stores out of stock.

With limited suppliers selling 3DS, consumers are forced to get their 3DS from these resellers at a higher fee.

11. Getting New Parts Is Difficult

When Nintendo stopped production of the 3DS in 2020, software support and replacement parts became scarce. Considering the renewed interest in 3DS, this scarcity is bad news.

Generally, a lack of parts gives 3DS a stronger air of rarity among sellers and consumers. Naturally, rare items tend to be expensive, and 3DS is no exception.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why Nintendo Switch is so expensive, why Joy-cons are so expensive, and why Xbox controllers are so expensive.


The 3DS is a gaming console by multinational video game company Nintendo. On account of 3DS’s waning popularity, 3DS was discontinued in 2020.

Around this time, retro games and consoles enjoyed renewed interest worldwide. While the 3DS is by no means a classic, 3DS’s discontinued status sets it up to be one.

Also, with 3DS already being pricey because of its brand, existing gaming and social trends only drove up the prices of 3DS to an all-time high.

Moreover, 3DS is mostly imported from Japan. With the current import and shipping fees worldwide, it is no surprise that 3DS is quite expensive today.


  • Freya Crawford

    Freya Crawford is a self-confessed geek. She loves gaming, watching classic movies, and her guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. She also enjoys collecting old NES and Gameboy games.

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