The Nintendo eShop closing is imminent, with the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS digital storefronts set to shut down on March 27th, 2023. This means that users will no longer be able to purchase games or DLC from either eShop, including hundreds of digital-only titles such as Dr. Luigi, Pokemon Rumble U, Pushmo, and Pokémon Picross, among others.
While users will still be able to redownload previously purchased games and play online for now, the shutdown will also make it impossible to purchase the full range of Virtual Console games on the 3DS and Wii U, which has been a popular feature for many Nintendo fans.
The impending closures will result in the loss of around 1,000 digital-only games, including about 530 Virtual Console titles that won’t be available through Nintendo Switch Online, according to VGC.
Nintendo eShop closing: Why though?
The Nintendo eShop closing of the Wii U and 3DS digital storefronts is not just a loss for gaming enthusiasts, but also a setback in the preservation of video games. The closure means that some games will be literally wiped from history, and it will become more challenging for those who still own and play the Wii U and 3DS to access certain games even if they are available as physical copies.
This is particularly concerning given that physical versions of some games, like Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton on 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD, have soared in price in the used game market, while the digital versions remain at their original price. The eShop shutdown is a stark reminder of the need to prioritize video game preservation efforts in the digital age.
What time does Nintendo eShop close?
As the Nintendo eShop closing of the Wii U system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems approaches on March 27, 2023, the ability to make purchases and download free content, including game demos, will no longer be available. Additionally, as the date draws closer, related services will cease to function, further limiting users’ options.
The impending shutdown of the eShop is a significant blow to the gaming community, as it marks the end of an era for two beloved consoles and countless digital-only titles. As Nintendo continues to prioritize its newer platforms, it is a reminder that the lifespan of any gaming console is finite, and the need for video game preservation efforts remains more critical than ever.
- Users can no longer add funds to their accounts in Nintendo eShop on Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS family of systems using a credit card starting from May 23, 2022.
- As of August 29, 2022, Nintendo eShop Cards are also not accepted to add funds to the account, but users can still redeem download codes until March 27, 2023.
Users who have linked 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) will be able to use the shared balance to purchase content on any of these systems until March 27, 2023. However, after this date, the balance will only be available for use in purchasing content for the Nintendo Switch family of systems.
Meanwhile, no changes are planned for Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo Switch family of systems, which will continue to operate as normal. The changes to the eShop on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems will take effect simultaneously in software on these platforms where it is possible to make purchases, such as StreetPass Mii Plaza, Theme Shop, and Nintendo Badge Arcade. These updates serve as a reminder to gamers of the impending shutdown and the need to act quickly to preserve their favorite titles and content on these platforms.
While the Nintendo eShop closing of the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on March 27, 2023, marks the end of an era, it’s important to note that certain functions will still be available for these consoles even after the shutdown.
Users will still be able to redownload previously purchased games and DLC, receive software updates, and enjoy online play on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems for the foreseeable future.
Despite the impending closure of the eShop, these consoles will still provide users with hours of gaming entertainment, with access to an extensive library of classic titles and fan-favorite games. Nevertheless, the eShop closure is a stark reminder of the inevitable changes in the gaming industry and the importance of preserving digital content for future generations of gamers.
Below you can read the Q&A shared by Nintendo’s Customer Support:
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 family of systems.
- This can be done via Nintendo eShop on the system itself or via web browser at the My Nintendo Store.
If someone visits Nintendo eShop and wants to download something on Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS family systems after March 27, 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
After March 27, 2023, what can I do with my existing eShop balance on Nintendo 3DS or Wii U?
If you have an unused balance in the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS or Wii U, linking your Nintendo Network ID to your Nintendo Account and merging your wallets will allow you to continue to use your balance to purchase digital download titles, DLC, content passes, and other similar items for Nintendo Switch.
Before you leave you can also learn how to install RCM Loader for Nintendo Switch by visiting our guide!