Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShops closing in 2023, frustrating fans

Nintendo will close the online stores for its Wii U console and Nintendo 3DS handheld “at the end of March 2023”. the company announced Tuesday. After the closure of these stores, called Nintendo eShop, it will no longer be possible to make digital purchases for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS family of consoles.

The closure of the Wii U and 3DS eShops also means that game demos and other free content will no longer be available for download from March 2023.

While that 2023 date may seem a long way off, Nintendo will make it harder to purchase games and other content from the Wii U and 3DS eShops in 2022. On May 23 this year, Nintendo will end support for adding funds to a Nintendo eShop account. on Wii U and 3DS using a credit card. And on August 29, it will no longer be possible to use a Nintendo eShop Card to add funds to an account in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, Nintendo said in a support notice.

After the March 2023 shutdown, “and for the foreseeable future”, Nintendo says it will still be possible to redownload games and DLCs, receive software updates, and play online games on Wii U and 3DS.

Why does this happen? Nintendo attempted to answer this question in an FAQ posted alongside the support notice, saying, “It’s part of the natural lifecycle of any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time. time.”

This response does not sit well with many consumers, who have hit back at the company on social media saying the shutdowns will negatively impact the availability of many games. In addition to many native Wii U and 3DS games that are only available digitally (or are prohibitively expensive in physical form), the eShop closures will also spell the end of Virtual Console on those systems. Nintendo’s current take on the classic game offering on Nintendo Switch comes in the form of subscription-based Nintendo Switch Online, which offers a select number of NES and Super NES titles – as well as Nintendo 64 games. and Sega Genesis – compared to Virtual Console. libraries on previous generation Nintendo platforms.

Nintendo has acknowledged these concerns in its FAQ with the following question and answer – that he removed from the support site after the review went live and fans called it out:

Once it is no longer possible to purchase software from the Nintendo eShop on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, many classic games for previous platforms will cease to be available for purchase. anywhere. Are you going to make classic games available to own in another way? If not, then why? Doesn’t Nintendo have an obligation to preserve its classic games by continually making them available for purchase?

In our Nintendo Switch Online subscription plans, over 130 classic games are currently available in growing libraries for various legacy systems. Games are often enriched with new features such as online play.

We believe this is an effective way to make classic content easily accessible to a wide range of players. In these libraries, new and long-time gamers can not only find games they remember or have heard of, but also other fun games they might not have thought to look up otherwise.

We currently have no plans to offer classic content in any other way.

The Wii U eShop offers over 300 games via Virtual Console in North America, while the Nintendo 3DS eShop offers 191.

Fan outcry seems unlikely to sway Nintendo’s decision to end support for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShops, based on similar previous shutdowns. The company shut down the Wii Shop Channel in 2019 and ended support for Creator of Super Mario on Wii U in 2021, despite a largely negative response to these decisions.

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