The Nintendo Wii U and 3DS are really long in the tooth by now. So it should be no surprise that earlier this week, the company announced that it will be closing down the eShop for those devices. But the announcement can be misleading, especially for us here in Malaysia, where the company doesn’t have an official presence.
According to the announcement page, Nintendo will be discontinuing down the Wii U and 3DS eShop come late March 2023. While this sounds like you’ll still have a whole year to get some last minute games from those ageing platforms, that’s not actually the case. This is because come 23 May of this year, you won’t be able to use credit cards to add funds to your account to buy those games. Which, for the most of us, would be the primary method of buying anything from the eShop. Then on 29 August, Nintendo eShop Cards will also not be usable anymore.
Our statement on the closure of Nintendo's legacy digital shops. pic.twitter.com/mG5GzuGH4G
— Video Game History Foundation (@GameHistoryOrg) February 17, 2022
Here, Nintendo says that despite the eShop closure, you’ll still be able to redownload games you already own, as well as software updates for the Wii U and 3DS. This will remain for the foreseeable future, but not indefinitely. Speaking to Nintendo Life, an anonymous former employee of Nintendo of America claims that in the next few years, even the ability to redownload games you bought will be lost. Though no exact figure was provided for this claim.
This shouldn’t be surprising, since those services would still cost resources to maintain, and the lower number of game purchases from these older platforms compared to the Nintendo Switch would make it more difficult to justify keeping them up.
Nintendo has no plans to offer classic content in other ways. They believe the Switch Online Membership plans are an effective way to make classic content available
— Wario64 (@Wario64) February 16, 2022
Still, this does mean that, if you’re a video game history enthusiast, those games will soon be out of reach permanently. And such is the argument of the Video Game History Foundation, a preservation charity, says is the problem with the shutdown. As part of the FAQ, Nintendo previously said that these “classic” titles will make their way to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service at some point. Though that section has been removed since its initial publication.
At any rate, if you want to make any last minute purchases of games from the Nintendo Wii U or 3DS eShop, you realistically only have until 23 May to do so. After that, you won’t be able to use credit card to add funds to your account. Which effectively means that the eShop is closed for you.