Nintendo has published a support article confirming that it’ll be closing its eShop for the aging Wii U and Nintendo 3DS platforms next year.
Beginning in March 2023, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS users will no longer be able to purchase content from the eShop, a service that Nintendo launched around a decade ago as a primary destination for downloading purchased games and free content such as game demos. Nintendo users have reacted negatively to the closures, particularly in response to a now-deleted portion of a Q&A that revealed there would be no other way to download and own classic games in the future, a seemingly clever way of encouraging gamers to switch to Nintendo Switch Online’s subscription-based model for older titles.
Nintendo has clarified that eShop users will retain the ability to redownload purchased games and DLC, receive software updates, and enjoy online play on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems even after the March 2023 closure, but the eShop will lose some cruical features before that. Users will no longer be able to use a credit card to add funds to an account beginning on May 23, 2022, nor will they be able to use a Nintendo eShop Card to add funds beginning on August 29, 2022. Download codes can be redeemed until late March 2023, however.
Wii U & Nintendo 3DS eShop Discontinuation (Nintendo Customer Support)
- Users who link their Nintendo Network ID wallet (used with Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems) with their Nintendo Account wallet (used with the Nintendo Switch family of systems) can use the shared balance to purchase content on any of these systems until late March 2023. After that, the balance can only be used to purchase content for the Nintendo Switch family of systems.
- The changes to Nintendo eShop on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems will simultaneously take effect in software on these platforms where it is possible to make purchases, such as StreetPass Mii Plaza, Theme Shop and Nintendo Badge Arcade.
- We thank you for supporting Nintendo eShop on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. While we hope that you will continue to enjoy using these systems, we have taken this opportunity to prepare a website where you can look back on your time with them via various play statistics. Please visit https://my-nintendo-3ds-wiiu-memories.nintendo.com/.
Nintendo Closing 3DS & Wii U Shops In 2023, Has ‘No Plans To Offer Classic Content In Other Ways’ (Kotaku)
The company saw this coming. When the blog post was first made, an associated FAQ had the following exchange:
Once it is no longer possible to purchase software in Nintendo eShop on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, many classic games for past platforms will cease to be available for purchase anywhere. Will you make classic games available to own some other way? If not, then why? Doesn’t Nintendo have an obligation to preserve its classic games by continually making them available for purchase?
Across our Nintendo Switch Online membership plans, over 130 classic games are currently available in growing libraries for various legacy systems. The games are often enhanced with new features such as online play.
We think this is an effective way to make classic content easily available to a broad range of players. Within these libraries, new and longtime players can not only find games they remember or have heard about, but other fun games they might not have thought to seek out otherwise.
We currently have no plans to offer classic content in other ways.
“We currently have no plans to offer classic content in other ways,” is an incredibly shitty thing to read, because under zero circumstances is a subscription-based model an acceptable substitution to actually owning a game.