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 always kept the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS online store open to people who want 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 the Nintendo 3DS eShop “beginning in late March 2023,” the company announced on Tuesday.
Nintendo will be slowly making changes to eShop purchases until this deadline:
- On May 23, 2022, you will no longer be able to use a credit card to add funds to your eShop accounts on Wii U or 3DS devices.
- On August 29, 2022, you will also not be able to use eShop gift cards to add funds to your accounts on these devices.
- If you have download codes, you will not be able to use them after the end of March 2023.
- You will no longer be able to use money from your Nintendo Wallet account (assuming you linked that Nintendo Switch account to the old Nintendo Network ID account) to purchase Wii U and 3DS content after the end of March 2023.
The company isn’t shutting things down completely for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. “Even after the end of March 2023, and for the foreseeable future, it will still be possible to redownload games and DLCs, receive software updates, and enjoy online play on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems” , says Nintendo. However, demos and freeware will no longer be available after the end of March 2023.
Nintendo announced these changes in the Americas and Japan.
Thank you for supporting Nintendo eShop on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of 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 to why this happens, Nintendo says the taper is “part of the natural life cycle of any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time.” That said, you should be aware that these changes mean that you have a limited time to purchase Virtual Console games on both platforms. While Nintendo offers many of its classics as part of its Nintendo Switch Online subscription service, that library is smaller than what’s available for purchase individually on Virtual Console.
When Nintendo first published the change support article, it included a section on how “many classic games for older platforms will cease to be available for purchase anywhere. “. The response pointed to 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 it was published.
Updated Feb. 15, 8:51 p.m. ET: Added that Nintendo removed a Q&A about preserving classic games.