The Nintendo 3DS could have had a much better screen

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During a Q&A session about the development of the Nintendo Switch, the company revealed that it explored the idea of using an OLED screen for the Nintendo 3DS.

Toru Yamashita, who works in Nintendo’s Technology Development Department said:

“The OLED display technology itself existed in the Nintendo 3DS era, and we were continuously investigating its technological trends, but it did not quite match with our conditions, and it was never adopted for Nintendo game systems.”

Nintendo ended up using two LCD screens instead, but as we know from the new Nintendo Switch OLED, an OLED screen would have resulted in a far better picture quality for the Nintendo 3DS.

So why did Nintendo do a U-turn and end up using the OLED panel for the Switch?

“The number of products equipped with OLED displays is increasing around the world, and the technology has been improving,” Yamashita explained. “So upon verifying and reinvestigating with our partner companies on what conditions were possible for what we needed for our game console, we determined it was the right time for us to adopt the technology.”

Yamashita didn’t explain the exact reasoning why Nintendo snubbed the OLED technology for the 3DS, but it is true that OLED technology has improved considerably since 2011.

Firstly, OLED screens are less prone to seeing burn-in issues, which can occur when a static image is presented on a display for an extended length of time. This could be especially problematic for games that feature static HUDs.

OLED displays were also a lot more expensive to manufacture a decade ago. The Nintendo 3DS launched with a $249.99 price, which is the same cost as the OLED-equipped PlayStation Vita when it initially launched.

The 3D display undoubtedly boosted the cost of the Nintendo 3DS, so maybe the addition of an OLED screen would driven up the portable’s price too far. But would you have preferred an OLED screen over the 3D technology?

Either way, it’s good to see Nintendo finally embrace OLED technology with the new model of the Switch. Check out my Nintendo Switch OLED review to see my final verdict and why it’s a big upgrade on the standard LCD panel.

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