Nintendo won’t let you buy digital games for Wii U and 3DS after March 2023
The Nintendo Switch has been Nintendo’s main console for years, but the company has continued to open up the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShop to people looking to buy games on those platforms. In March 2023, however, that won’t be the case – Nintendo won’t let you buy things from the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS eShop “from the end of March 2023,” the company announced on Tuesday.
Nintendo will slowly make changes to eShop purchases by this deadline:
- On May 23, 2022, you will not be able to use a credit card to add funds to your eShop accounts on Wii U or 3DS devices.
- Also, as of August 29, 2022, you will not be able to use eShop gift cards to fund your accounts on these devices.
- If you have download codes, you will no longer be able to redeem them after the end of March 2023.
- After the end of March 2023, you will no longer be able to use funds in your Nintendo Wallet account (provided you have linked that Nintendo Switch account to the older Nintendo Network ID account) to purchase Wii U and 3DS content.
The company isn’t completely closing things out for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. “Beyond the end of March 2023 and for the foreseeable future, it will still be possible to re-download games and DLC, receive software updates and enjoy online gaming on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS family systems,” says Nintendo. However, demos and free-to-start software will no longer be available after the end of March 2023.
Nintendo announced these changes in both America and Japan.
Thank you for supporting Nintendo eShop for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS family systems.
Additionally, you can also look back on your time with them via various game stats: https://t.co/YCkkVFaQ7i
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 16, 2022
As for why this is happening, Nintendo says that settlement is “part of the natural lifecycle for any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time.” However, you should know that these changes mean that you only have a limited time to buy Virtual Console games on both platforms. While Nintendo offers many of its classics as part of its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, this library is smaller than what’s available individually on the virtual console.
When Nintendo first published the support article about the changes, there was a section about how “many classic games for previous platforms are no longer widely available for purchase”. The answer referenced Nintendo Switch Online and also noted that “we currently have no plans to offer classic content in any other way”. However, this section was removed from the support article shortly after publication.
Update Feb 15 8:51pm ET: Added that Nintendo removed a Q&A on keeping classic games.