Mojang Studios promised stereoscopic 3D for Minecraft on New Nintendo 3DS, but the feature was never added – possibly for a good reason.
Minecraft is such an omnipresent phenomenon that there’s virtually no platform it hasn’t been brought to – there’s even a version for Amazon’s Fire TV devices. Nintendo’s New 3DS handheld was a more natural choice, but Minecraft: New Nintendo 3DS Edition never received an obvious and once-promised feature before its final update: stereoscopic 3D.
The New 3DS edition launched in September 2017, offering a stripped-down version of the usual Minecraft experience. It removed online multiplayer, for instance, though local multiplayer was added in a later update, and players could still buy optional skin packs. Without 3D, the core benefit of playing Minecraft on 3DS was portability, especially for long plane or car rides where internet access might not be available, but Minecraft for Nintendo Switch had already released several months earlier.
Responding to a question on the Minecraft Wiki in 2017, Mojang Studios’ then-community manager HelenAngel promised 3D was coming in a future update, saying there “were just a few little things that prevented the 3D mode from going out right before launch.” Flash forward to the game’s final update in January 2019, and with no 3D added in previous patches, the Mojang Studios (then known as just Mojang) release notes for patch 1.9.19 made no mention of the feature, either – though it did add new blocks, items, entities, and other features, such as iron and gold nugget smelting.
Why Did Minecraft 3DS Never Get Stereoscopic 3D Effects?
The full explanation may never be public, but by 2017, game developers seemed to be losing interest in 3D. Many studios weren’t bothering to include 3D support in their 3DS games, and Nintendo itself released the New Nintendo 2DS XL as the system’s last revision, all but admitting 3D was a non-essential feature. The Switch jettisoned the technology, and based on the Switch’s impressive sales, it does seem people would rather have a convertible portable console than something like stereoscopic imagery. 3D was also falling out of favor, in general, disappearing from TVs and theatrical movies. People may enjoy the effect, but they’re often unwilling to pay extra for it. With all of that in mind, Mojang likely didn’t find 3D Minecraft worth the development dollars that could be better spent elsewhere.
All models of the Nintendo 3DS have been discontinued, so it’s safe to say any hope for adding the feature is lost, and no other mass-produced system has a stereoscopic display. At the same time, Minecraft has advanced in other ways since then, including gaining VR support, which lets players get a 3D Minecraft experience in a different way.