Nintendo Is Closing Wii U, 3DS Digital Stores In 2023

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The Wii U and 3DS eShops will close next year.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you want to download any digital games into your Nintendo Wii U or 3DS, you’d better do so soon. The Japanese company on Tuesday revealed that you’ll no longer be able to make purchases on its old console and handhelds’ eShops from “late March 2023.”

You’ll no longer be able to use a credit card to add funds to your account on these eShops from May 23, 2022, and Nintendo eShop card funds can no longer be added to those accounts as of Aug. 29. Download codes will still be redeemable until late March 2023.

Nintendo’s blog post originally included a point suggesting that people who want to play its older games in future get a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online, according to Kotaku, and that it currently has “no plans to offer classic content in other ways.” The part has since been removed from the Q&A section.

Switch Online lets you access a library of retro games from the Nintendo 64, SNES, NES and Sega Genesis, but you have to connect to the internet once a week to authenticate your subscription. By contrast, the Wii U and 3DS let you buy individual games from a wider range of systems (like the DS and various Game Boys) and the eShops’ closure will remove access to 1799 titles, according to IGN.

The Wii U holds the distinction of being Nintendo’s worst-selling console, with 13.56 million units sold (by contrast, the Switch has sold more than 100 million units). The 3DS was more successful, with 75.94 million units sold, but is still the company’s least popular handheld (the DS was its big seller, with 154.02 million units sold).

Sony was planning a similar shutdown for digital stores on PS3, PS Vita and PSP last year, but fan outcry pushed the company to partially reversed that decision by keeping the PS3 and Vita stores open.

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This is why I’m pretty good at Mario Kart 8.

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On the positive side, Nintendo also added a website feature allowing you to look at your Wii U and 3DS play history.

I spent 172 hours playing my Wii U, across 23 different games. Mario Kart 8 was my post-played title, at 68 hours. I spent 270 hours on my 3DS, on 64 different games. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D was my main game, at 33 hours.

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A slightly obscure Resident Evil spinoff was my top 3DS game.

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