Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShop purchases to end in March 2023

February 16, 2022

Earlier today (16 February 2022) Nintendo announced that “As of late March 2023, it will no longer be possible to make purchases [from the] eShop for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS family systems”. The official site adds:

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… For the foreseeable future, it will still be possible to redownload games and DLC, receive software updates and enjoy online play on Wii U consoles and Nintendo 3DS systems.

The social media reaction I’ve seen so far has been a mixture of reluctant acceptance and strong criticism, with the latter understandably coming from game preservationist circles.

Wii U-eshop-purchases-closing

What about the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS libraries?

I understand the reactions and also feel it’s a bit of a strange move from Nintendo. One could perhaps argue that several of the Wii U’s great first-party games are already seeing a second life on the Switch and this could continue to happen in the future. So, maybe losing that library isn’t as big of a deal. However, the 3DS has a truly spectacular collection of games and it’s definitely sad that there will suddenly seemingly be no way of accessing them digitally anymore.


That being said, I tried to remember the last time I bought anything on the 3DS and I’ve got to admit – it’s been a while – probably 2020 or early 2021 if memory serves me. And that’s from a big fan that loved the system. And I wonder if Nintendo has simply seen that replayed again and again and realised that it’s not worth the hassle of keeping running. It’s easy to forget that – Nintendo (like any other company) likes to make money – so they’ve obviously checked the numbers and decided that the ‘juice isn’t worth the squeeze’. In fact, they pretty much say as much in the QA section of the announcement: “This is part of the natural lifecycle for any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time.”

Also, reading a bit between the lines, a hopeful part of me thinks that this means that Nintendo may plan to add these libraries to the Switch Online Subscription at some point in the future. It may sound like wishful thinking but who knows – it may all be part of a bigger (and more profitable) strategy. And hey at least we have just over a year to get to grips with the closures.

Wii U and 3DS Memories

On a positive note – you can now actually get a cool little visual summary of your Wii U and 3DS playtime and favourite games. Considering I got both systems quite late in their lifespans mine have some very obvious patterns emerging…

For a discussion of how Nintendo is proving their online subscription offering read about the Mario Kart Course Booster Pass here.


February 16, 2022

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