Nintendo will shut down its Wii U and 3DS digital storefronts. This means that gamers can no longer purchase any games or DLC from either eShop. However, they will still be able to redownload the games they’ve already purchased and continue to play online, for the time being.
This shutdown was first announced by Nintendo last year, and since August 2022, users could not load money into the Wii U and 3DS eShops. Unfortunately, this imminent closure will cause the loss of hundreds of digital-only titles available in either store. Some notable examples include Dr. Luigi, Pokémon Rumble U, Pushmo, and Pokémon Picross, among others.
Besides the loss of these titles, the shutdown will also make it impossible to purchase the full range of Virtual Console games on the 3DS and Wii U. This is especially disappointing as many gamers will miss the ability to buy from a huge selection of standalone digital classics without a subscription. Around 1,000 digital-only games will be lost because of the eShop shutdowns, with approximately 530 of those being Virtual Console titles. Also, around 335 of these Virtual Console titles are not currently available through Nintendo Switch Online.
The shutdown of the Wii U and 3DS eShops is a huge step back for video game preservation. Besides literally wiping some games from history, it will also make it more difficult for people who still own and play the Wii U and 3DS to access certain games, even if they are available as physical copies. As a result, the prices of certain physical versions of games, such as Phoenix Wright vs. Professor Layton on 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: The Windwaker HD, have skyrocketed on the used game market, while the digital versions have maintained their original price.
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In conclusion, the shutdown of Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS digital storefronts is a huge blow to video game preservation. While gamers will still be able to access their previously purchased titles, the inability to purchase new games and DLC, as well as Virtual Console titles, is a great loss for the gaming community.