Nintendo shuts down eShop on Wii U and 3DS – and the schedule is faster than you think

Nintendo shuts down eShop on Wii U and 3DS – and the schedule is faster than you think
Nintendo shuts down eShop on Wii U and 3DS - and the schedule is faster than you think 9

From the end of March next year, you will no longer be able to buy games via the eShops on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. The company announced this last night. The closure itself is not surprising, although the timing may be. However, you can not expect to be able to easily spend your money on the eShops for very long. The support for purchases via bank cards will already disappear on 23 May this year, and on 29 August, the support for pre-purchased cards will be replenished. Users can share a wallet between their systems via Nintendo Network ID to bypass this until March 2023, but after that this is also impossible.

However, the closure is not total; users will be able to reload their already purchased games, DLC and have the opportunity to use online functions also in the future. With the closure of the Wii Shop Channel in mind, it’s easy to guess at least a year extra for that functionality.

That said, this is completely expected and I have personally predicted it for at least two years. What strikes a chord with this decision is, as so often, the desire and need to want everything available. This applies not least for the sake of preservation. A lot of the games released on these two digital stores have just been released there and are found nowhere else.

Nintendo also has “no plans to provide classic content in other ways”, which is even more noticeable to read on the company’s own FAQ page. The same page removed (the in itself somewhat leading) the question “Does not Nintendo have a duty to preserve their classic games by constantly making them available for purchase?”.

Is there no return?

After all, this is about digital business with over a decade on its neck now. Keeping them running is proven to cost more than it tastes. The question is why does the digital infrastructure not allow businesses to be more interconnected and parallel? In this way, we might be able to avoid renewing our gaming libraries every ten years. Imagine if Steam would restart from scratch just as often. Even gamers happy about the threat of a boycott had probably actually fulfilled that promise. Given how much old-fashioned is advertised at every Nintendo Direct (and many other hype broadcasts), it’s very obvious companies want you to consume new and only remember old things that are legally easily accessible for re-release.

The probability that Nintendo backs its decision similar to how SONY did with PlayStation 3 and Vita should be extremely small. The Wii Shop Channel, MiiVerse and several other services before them (the Satellaview collaboration with St. GiGa, for example) suggest that the business is closed. The comment threads surrounding the announcement address the moral question of whether it is now morally justifiable to use piracy, file sharing and jailbreak of their machines to keep the otherwise lost asset alive. Without taking a direct stand on this myself, I can say that my extra-3DS has never looked so charming in the eye patch and wooden legs before.

A link to the past

In connection with the announcement, Nintendo launched a memory site dedicated to the two consoles that you can find here. On it you can create images with highlights from the time with the consoles; what was played the most, most number of times, etc. A suitable obituary for two very different, but still so similar consoles.

Nintendo shuts down eShop on Wii U and 3DS - and the schedule is faster than you think 9

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