Nintendo just dropped another major digital deadline on us: the eShop for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U will be closed as of late March 2023. Closely following the 2017 timeline leading to the closure of the Nintendo Wii Shop Channel, we now have only six months to add funds to our digital wallets and just over one year to make purchases on either platform. The full announcement from Nintendo of America continues below. Nintendo of Japan posted a similar update for that territory. By the morning of February 16th, both Nintendo of Australia and Europe had posted their own announcements.
As of late March 2023, it will no longer be possible to make purchases in Nintendo eShop for the Wii U system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. It will also no longer be possible to download free content, including game demos. Furthermore, as this date draws closer, related services will cease to function:
– As of May 23, 2022, it will no longer be possible to use a credit card to add funds to an account in Nintendo eShop on Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS family of systems.
– As of August 29, 2022, it will no longer be possible to use a Nintendo eShop Card to add funds to an account in Nintendo eShop on Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. However, it will still be possible to redeem download codes until late March 2023.
Users who link 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) can use the shared balance to purchase content on any of these systems until late March 2023. After that, the balance can only be used to purchase content for the Nintendo Switch family of systems.
No changes are planned for Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo Switch family of systems.
The changes to Nintendo eShop on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems will simultaneously take effect in software on these platforms where it is possible to make purchases, such as StreetPass Mii Plaza, Theme Shop and Nintendo Badge Arcade.
Even after late March 2023, and 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.
We thank you for supporting Nintendo eShop on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. While we hope that you will continue to enjoy using these systems, we have taken this opportunity to prepare a website where you can look back on your time with them via various play statistics. Please visit https://my-nintendo-3ds-wiiu-memories.nintendo.com/.
An additional FAQ section lays out a few more details including:
- Software updates and online play will continue to be accessible after the March 2023 deadline
- Redownloading previously purchased software will be possible for “the foreseeable future”
- After March 2023 users will NOT be able to download demos or free-to-start titles
- Paid content, plays, passes, and in-game purchases will no longer be available (StreetPass Mii Plaza, Theme Shop, Nintendo Badge Arcade, Pokémon Bank, Wii Sports Club)
The initial post by Nintendo of America also included a disheartening response about the loss of exclusive titles for the platforms and Nintendo’s own classic games. The question and answer has since been removed but the page was quickly archived for posterity and originally read:
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.
As for an overall explanation behind the decision, the Nintendo Support article offers only that “this is part of the natural lifecycle for any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time”. Thanks to everybody who pointed out the news this evening; I’ve added the dates to the Watch List calendar.
Feel free to share some of your favorite 3DS, DSiWare, and Wii U recommendations in the comments below or throw in your own stats from Nintendo’s “memories” site.