Feb 16, 2022 - Technology

Nintendo announces closure of Wii U and 3DS eShop

Screenshot from Kirby's Extra Epic yarn.
Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn. Image courtesy of Nintendo

By late March 2023, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS owners will no longer have access to the Nintendo eShop.

Why it matters: Closing the eShop on these consoles could make some games impossible to find.

Driving the news: Nintendo announced the news yesterday in a blog post, saying, "This is part of the natural lifecycle for any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time."

The big picture: Preservation is a persistent issue in the video game industry, as some technology becomes obsolete and some games are lost forever.

  • As pointed out by Wario64 on Twitter, there are 1,799 games available to buy on Nintendo's website for the 3DS and Wii U. VGC reports that up to 1,000 digital-only games will vanish when the change goes into effect.
  • Some preservation advocates, including Xbox head Phil Spencer, have called for measures like emulation to help keep games alive.

Details In an FAQ, Nintendo said it's providing notice far in advance to give players time to prepare.

  • You'll still be able to re-download content you already own and access existing software updates.
  • Access to the eShop will be gradually limited. By May 23, 2022 users will no longer be able to add a credit card or funds to their eShop accounts on the Wii U and 3DS. By Aug. 29, it will be impossible to use a Nintendo eShop card.

The changes will apply to: New Nintendo 3DS, New Nintendo 3DS XL, New Nintendo 2DS XL, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo 2DS, Wii U Deluxe and Wii U Basic.

Adding to the intrigue: Nintendo appears to have deleted part of its FAQ that addresses concerns over the loss of classic games.

  • The company had pointed to its Nintendo Switch Online membership as "an effective way to make classic content easily available to a broad range of players."

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