Why are prices of certain old Nintendo 3DSs skyrocketing in Japan?
The value of regular, non-limited-edition Nintendo 3DSs has been soaring recently on Japanese marketplace apps, with some devices being sold for double the retail price. What the Nintendo 3DS consoles fetching high prices all seem to have in common is the presence of certain applications which Pokémon players are currently in need of.
Nintendo’s eighth-generation handheld game console, The Nintendo 3DS, was launched in February 2010 and discontinued in 2020, with the 3DS eShop finally shutting down in March this year. The value of the Nintendo 3DS had been on a steady decline in recent years due to the appearance of new consoles such as the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5. But in the past few months, auction and marketplace apps in Japan have been witnessing the Nintendo 3DS’s value suddenly soaring, with some device being sold for over 50,000 JPY (around 350 USD).
What raises the value of a Nintendo 3DS seems to be having either Poké Transporter or Pokémon Bank installed on the device. Poké Transporter and Pokémon Bank were both downloadable applications available on the Nintendo eShop, meant for transferring Pokémon. Since the 3DS eShop was discontinued, the applications are now only available to those who had previously downloaded them.
But why are Pokémon players suddenly in need of these applications to such an extent that prices of used Nintendo 3DSs skyrocketed? This was triggered by Pokémon HOME becoming available for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, the newest titles in the series. Pokémon HOME, the cloud service that allows past Pokémon to be transferred into compatible games was unexpectedly made available for the newest titles in May this year, half a year after the games’ release. This made players realize that if they were to use the previously mentioned Poké Transporter or Pokémon Bank as well, they would be able to bring back even Pokémon from 20 years ago, reviving the attractiveness of the old software.
But, as mentioned above, as the applications can no longer be downloaded, old Nintendo 3DSs which already have them installed have become a high-value treasure, with people being willing to pay exorbitant prices to obtain them.
Aside from being able to relive old memories and see your favorite older generation Pokémon rendered in the new shiny graphics of Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, bringing back old Pokémon also has the advantage of Ribbons and Marks being brought over. Ribbons and Marks distinguish a Pokémon and give them a title in battle, so having a Pokémon in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet that has Ribbons from older titles also adds a special sense of value.