While 3DS and Wii U owners got a hint of the impending closure almost a year ago, when Nintendo's Japanese Twitter announced that funds could no longer be added via credit card to these stores, this official, and pretty final statement is sure to disappoint at least a few Nintendo 3DS and Wii U owners. Here's exactly what Nintendo's 3DS and Wii U eShop plans are.
According to Nintendo's official statement, the 3DS and Wii U eShop will no longer allow users to purchase content as of "late March 2023." This will apply to all models of the 3DS, 2DS, and Wii U, and covers any type of downloadable content that the user has not already purchased. Free content, such as the plethora of free demos on the eShop, will also be removed for those who haven't already downloaded them.
While 3DS and Wii U owners will obviously still be able to purchase physical copies of games; players have just over a year to purchase all the eShop's download-only games they're after. Great titles like Axiom Verge, Severed, and Shantae and the Pirate's Curse will all become unavailable to purchase on Wii U come March 2023, while the 3DS will say goodbye to the likes of Ace Attorney Trilogy, BoxBoxBoy, and Steamworld Dig.
Although Nintendo is keeping the 3DS and Wii U eShops open for business until March 2023, users will no longer be able to add funds to their account via credit card from May 23, 2022, just a few months away. As of August 29, 2022, users will also no longer be able to add funds to their account via an eShop card, so if players have some old gift cards lying around, now's the time to use them.
For those Wii U and 3DS owners that also have a Switch, then they can technically link their Nintendo Network ID wallets to their Nintendo Account wallet, which allows them to add funds via the Switch's eShop, and then purchase downloadable content on the 3DS and Wii U. If a user does this, then they'll be able to buy new 3DS and Wii U games up until March 2023, long after the store stops accepting credit cards and eShop cards. Nintendo has also stated that download codes for full games and DLC will still be redeemable up until that March 2023 date.
Thankfully, Nintendo has made it clear that any downloadable content that has already been purchased on the 3DS and Wii U eShop will be available to the player after that March 2023 cut-off point. For "the foreseeable future," players will be able to re-download 3DS and Wii U games and DLC that they already own.
Nintendo has also confirmed that Wii U and 3DS online play will still work on the systems after March 2023, meaning that players can still enjoy online multiplayer in games like Splatoon and Mario Kart 8. For those feeling a little nostalgic, Nintendo also released a "My Memories" website alongside this news. This website will show a player's history on the 3DS and Wii U console, showcasing some neat play statistics.