Closing the 3DS and Wii U eShops will cost 1000 digital-only games

Closing the 3DS and Wii U eShops will cost 1000 digital-only games

Aside from DLCs, the closing of the 3DS and WiiU eshops would mean that users will no longer be able to buy or download entire games from there after March 2023.

Digital only worries

This is especially bad news for “digital only” games, which don’t have any official physical copies. According to a VGC survey, the WiiU and 3DS eshops have an estimated 1,000 digital-only titles, all of which will be gone forever once their linked storefronts shut. When you include in titles from the Virtual Console that aren’t yet available on the Nintendo Switch Online service, the total number of games might be closer to 2,000.

Thankfully, there is still time for game collectors to save these titles before they are permanently gone.  So be sure to purchase/download whatever you want to keep safe.

Online play remains possible for the time being

Not all features are lost when Nintendo eShop closes. After March 2023 it is still possible to:

  • Games to play online
  • get software updates
  • Re-download previously purchased content
  • Certain content to purchase: Themes, Nintendo Badge Arcade, Streetpass Mii Park, Pokémon Bank (Nintendo 3DS), and Wii Sports Club (Wii U)
  • Download free to start games

Nintendo has not provided a date for any discontinuation of these services.

No plans for new Virtual Console

Closing Nintendo eShop means the Virtual Console is coming to an end for good. Virtual Console has long been Nintendo’s way of making classic content available. You could buy NES, SNES and Nintendo 64 titles for a set price, among other things.

Nintendo initially indicated that they have no plans to continue this content. The quote below has since been removed from the FAQ:

We think this [Nintendo Switch Online] is an effective way to make classic content available to a broad player base. In these libraries, new and regular players can find not only the games they know or have heard of, but also other games that they might not have tried otherwise.

We currently have no plans to offer classic content in any other way.

The closing of the Nintendo 3DS eShop and Wii U eShop is, according to Nintendo, a natural consequence of the console cycle, when the devices are less used. The Nintendo 3DS is almost 11 years old at the time of writing, while the Wii U was released in November 2012. In July last year, the first signs already surfaced for a possible closing.