How to Buy Nintendo 3DS Games on the eShop

Despite its launch in 2011, the Nintendo 3DS remains one of the best portable game consoles of all time. There is a wide range of amazing 3DS games for you to enjoy, from series such as Professor Layton, Ace Attorney, Zelda and Mario.

While the 3DS supports physical game cartridges, the best way to get 3DS games is virtually through the Nintendo eShop. This means you can store games directly on your console and always have your entire collection with you.

We’ll show you how to buy games from Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS and explain why you only have a limited time to do so.

How to buy games from the Nintendo 3DS eShop

You can purchase from the Nintendo eShop through the 3DS itself. Here’s how:

  1. Launch your 3DS and open the Nintendo Online Store application.
  2. Find the game you want to buy. You can use the search box at the top or browse through the categories.
  3. Once on a game page, you will see the cost at the top. Scroll down for more details, trailers, screenshots and more.
  4. To purchase the game, select Proceed to purchase.
    1. If you do not have funds in your account to cover the purchase, you will need to select Add Funds. Follow the wizard to add funds from a Nintendo eShop Card or your debit/credit card.
    2. If you do not have enough space on your system or SD card, you will need to select Release Blocks and follow the data management wizard.
  5. Note the age and select following.
  6. If you agree to Nintendo’s cancellation policy, select Accept.
  7. Check the details of your purchase. When ready, select To buy.
  8. Choose from Download later Where Download now. Once the download is complete, it appears as a gift on your home screen for you to unbox.


nintendo eshop professor layton

Alternatively, in some regions you can purchase digital 3DS games over the web directly from Nintendo (the My Nintendo Shop in the United States and Nintendo Online Store in the UK, for example). Games are sent to your console after purchase. To do this, you will need to link your Nintendo Network ID (NNID) to your Nintendo Account.

You cannot gift someone a game from the 3DS eShop. Your best bet is to send them a Nintendo eShop gift card.

The Nintendo 3DS eShop closes in 2023

Unfortunately, Nintendo is closing the 3DS eShop in March 2023. After this time, you will no longer be able to purchase 3DS games from the eShop. Your only way to get games legally will be to buy physical cartridges.

In preparation for this shutdown, Nintendo is limiting how you fund these purchases:

  • You can add funds to your Nintendo Network ID (NNID) via credit/debit card until May 23, 2022.
  • You can add funds to your NNID via a Nintendo eShop Card until August 29, 2022.

While you can spend the funds from these methods anytime through March 2023, you won’t be able to add any more after those respective dates.

nintendo account user information

After August 2022, you will no longer be able to add funds to your NNID wallet by any method. Instead, you have to use a separate system called Nintendo Account Wallet (which is primarily used for the Nintendo Switch). If you haven’t already, go to your Nintendo Account and bind your NNID. This will allow you to spend funds from your Nintendo Account Wallet on the 3DS eShop.

Then, from March 2023, you will only be able to spend Wallet funds from your Nintendo Account on the Nintendo Switch.

Related: Is The Nintendo 3DS Still Worth Buying?

Therefore, if you wish to purchase and download a game from the Nintendo 3DS eShop, do not wait as it will no longer be available after March 2023. Download codes, possibly obtained from other retailers, will be also irrecoverable after this date.

However, you will still be able to redownload previously purchased games and DLCs, receive software updates, and play online for the foreseeable future.

Don’t wait to buy your 3DS wishlist

It’s a shame that Nintendo is closing the 3DS eShop. Although the 3DS is no longer the company’s focus, it’s an unnecessary limitation for a console that still brings joy to many.

Still, until March 2023, you can use our guide to stock up on all these great games.

Nintendo 3DS
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