Nintendo is closing the Wii U and 3DS digital stores next year

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In short: Nintendo announced the closure of online stores for the Wii U and 3DS systems at the end of March 2023, potentially marking the end of one of its least successful products and one of its most successful.

Nintendo writes that it will no longer be possible to make purchases in the eShop for either console at the end of March next year. Users will also not be able to download free content, including game demos, or redeem download codes. However, they will still be able to redownload previously purchased games and DLCs, receive software updates, and play online after that point.

The changes will begin to take place on May 23, 2022. At this point, it will no longer be possible to use a credit card to add funds to a Nintendo eShop account on Wii U or Nintendo 3DS devices. On August 29, 2022, Nintendo will stop allowing eShop gift cards as a way to add funds to these accounts.

Additionally, any users who have linked their Nintendo Network ID Wallet to their Nintendo Account Wallet will not be able to use the Shared Balance to purchase Wii U or 3DS content after the end of March 2023. After that date, the balance will not be able to only be used to purchase content for the Nintendo Switch.

The Verge notes that the change will mean users won’t be able to purchase classic Virtual Console games from the eShop. A section of Nintendo’s FAQ titled “Doesn’t Nintendo have an obligation to preserve its classic games by making them continuously available for purchase?” directed retro fans to the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service instead. He said, “We currently have no plans to deliver classic content any other way.” This entire FAQ section has since been removed.

Nintendo says the decision “is part of the natural life cycle of any product line, as it becomes less used by consumers over time.” The 3DS family, which sold nearly 76 million units over its lifetime, was discontinued on September 16, 2020.

The Wii’s sequel that sold over 100 million copies, the Wii U, was one of Nintendo’s least successful consoles. It only sold 13.56 million units between its release in 2012 and its discontinuation in 2017. For comparison, the two-year-old PS5 has already surpassed it, and the Xbox Series X/S will probably do the same very soon.

In other Nintendo news this week, the company publicly thanked authorities after hacker Gary Bowser, a prominent member of the Team Xecuter hacking group, was sentenced to 40 months in prison for two federal crimes. related to piracy.

Photo credit: Chiara Sakuwa

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