3DS and Wii U eShops getting the axe in March 2023, redownloads will still be available
Nintendo has announced that the 3DS and Wii U eShops will be shuttering a significant portion of their functions next year.
Per a customer support page on Nintendo’s website, as of “late March 2023”, 3DS and Wii U owners will no longer be able to make purchases on the Nintendo eShop. This includes the ability to purchase software, DLC, and to download free content and demos that have previously not been downloaded or added to the account. Redownloading owned content will still be available for the foreseeable future.
Local information for this shutdown is not yet available, but according to the Nintendo of America post, the ability to add eShop credit via Nintendo eShop Cards will also cease functionality on August 29, 2022. We’ll update this post if that information is different in Australia.
Nintendo of America has provided an FAQ detailing the relevant information, which we’ve included below. Of note is the section on classic content, in which Nintendo says they have “no plans” to offer classic content in ways other than the Nintendo Switch Online service, which is not new, but having it put to paper when announcing the effective death of Virtual Console is a bit of salt in the wounds for those who have fond memories of the service.
Update: Nintendo of America has removed the question and answer in its FAQ section regarding classic content, which is uh, a little bit weird! We’re not sure why exactly that happened, but it’s still listed below, and we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the page going forward.
Why is this happening?
This is part of the natural lifecycle for any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time.
Why are you announcing this now?
We are providing this notice more than a year in advance of the end of purchases so users will have plenty of time to prepare.
Are any other services or functions of Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS family of systems going to be discontinued, such as online play?
There are no plans to make any further changes at this time.
How long will it still be possible to redownload previously purchased content in Nintendo eShop for Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS family of systems? How long will those systems still support online play?
For the foreseeable future, it will still be possible to redownload games and DLC, receive software updates and enjoy online play on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems.
There are still Nintendo eShop Cards at retailers that show the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS logos. What will happen to them?
These cards will continue to be at retail while supplies last. All Nintendo eShop Cards can be used to add funds to a Nintendo Account balance for use on the Nintendo Switch. This can be done via Nintendo eShop on the system itself.
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.
If someone visits Nintendo eShop and wants to download something on Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS family systems after late March 2023, what will they able to do?
- On both platforms, users will still be able to:
- Redownload content they own
- Download existing software updates
- On both platforms, users will not be able to:
- Purchase any content
- On Nintendo 3DS, this includes paid content, plays and passes in software such as StreetPass Mii Plaza, Theme Shop, Nintendo Badge Arcade and Pokémon Bank.
- On Wii U, this includes passes in software such as Wii Sports Club.
- Download demos
- Download free-to-start software
- Redeem a download code
- Add funds to their Nintendo eShop balance
- Purchase any content
- On Nintendo 3DS family systems, users will still be able to:
- Download a small number of free themes from Theme Shop
Nintendo have also provided a 3DS and Wii U memories tool, which allows you to see a summary of your most-played games, genres, and total playtime.