Wii U, Nintendo 3DS eShop closing March 2023

Nintendo Switch outsells Wii U
Wii U
Get what you want from the Nintendo eShop on Wii U and 3DS - while you still can ...

Nintendo touts expanded ecommerce options while choking off access to more classic video games

Nintendo 3DS

If you head to Nintendo.com starting today in the U.S. and Canada, you might notice a new tab at the top: My Nintendo Store, a new online shopping destination where you can buy physical and digital games, hardware, merchandise, exclusive products and more. It features exclusive products and officially licensed merchandise from Nintendo and its partners, with orders $50 and over (not including tax) coming with free standard shipping. Digital versions of games can also be purchased at the store and downloaded directly to your Nintendo Switch system.

These purchases in the My Nintendo Store are tied to your Nintendo Account, so members of the free My Nintendo rewards program will automatically earn 5% in My Nintendo Gold Points on eligible digital purchases. Those points can then be used toward future eligible digital games or DLC.

That’s the neutral-to-good news on the Nintendo ecommerce front. Here’s the bad news: In March 2023, older Nintendo video game systems will be cut off from consumers, as the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U console and Nintendo 3DS portables shuts down for good.

“We currently have no plans to offer classic content in other ways,” reads the recent announcement from Nintendo, which points gamers instead to its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service that includes access to a curated selection of NES and Super NES titles (and its more expensive cousin, Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, which offers N64 and SEGA Genesis titles for a hefty upcharge). The problem with this is that it leaves out an entire catalog of content that was unique to the Wii/Wii U and 3DS ecosystem, not just the Virtual Console releases of those older titles (many of which are still left in limbo).

In 2019, the Wii Shop Channel for the Wii U’s more popular older sibling similarly closed its virtual doors, raising red flags among gamers concerned then, just as now, about the preservation of video game history, big and small.

Just as there was then, there’s a sunset period: While the Nintendo eShop storefronts for 3DS and Wii U will remain open through “late March 2023” (later confirmed as March 27, 2023), May 23, 2022, was the cut-off for credit card purchases to add funds to eShop accounts necessary to buy games there. As of Aug. 29, 2022, Nintendo said, it was no longer possible even to use a Nintendo eShop Card (i.e, gift cards) to add funds — but Nintendo is letting you redeem download codes until late March 2023, when all eShop service for the Wii U and 3DS ends. And, “even after March 27, 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,” Nintendo said.

If you’re confused by this, Nintendo emphasizes that “no changes are planned for Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo Switch family of systems.”

You can try the Nintendo Switch Online service free for a week. One month costs $3.99, three months cost $7.99 and a year costs $19.99 — but the best value is a family plan that costs $34.99 a year and accommodates eight people with free Nintendo Accounts. If you want to play Switch game online (Splatoon 2Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, etc.), you’ll need to sign on with this service anyway.

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About the author

Jayson Peters

Digital, social and print media pro. Nerdvana's founder, curator and editor.

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