The Nintendo Switch has been Nintendo’s main console for years now, but the company still keeps the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS’s eShop open for people who want to buy games on those platforms. However, in March 2023, that won’t be the case – Nintendo won’t let you buy stuff on the Wii U or the Nintendo 3DS eShop “as of late March 2023,” The company announced on Tuesday.
Nintendo will be making slow changes to eShop purchases until this deadline:
- On May 23, 2022, you will no longer be able to use a credit card to add money to your eShop accounts on Wii U or 3DS devices.
- On August 29, 2022, you will not be able to use eShop Gift Cards to add money to your accounts on those devices either.
- If you have any download codes, you will not be able to redeem them after late March 2023.
- You will not be able to use the funds in your Nintendo Wallet account (assuming you linked your Nintendo Switch account to your older Nintendo Network ID account) to purchase Wii U and 3DS content after late March 2023.
The company isn’t completely shutting things down for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. “Even after late March 2023, for the foreseeable future, it will still be possible to re-download games and downloadable content, receive software updates and enjoy online gameplay on the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems,” says Nintendo. However, free demos and drivers will not be available after late March 2023.
Nintendo announced these changes in both the Americas and Japan.
Thank you for supporting the Nintendo eShop on the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems.
Additionally, you can also take a look at the time you spent with them via various play stats: https://t.co/YCkkVFaQ7i
– Nintendo America February 16, 2022
As for why this happens, Nintendo says cooldown is “a part of the normal life cycle of any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time.” However, you should know that these changes mean that you have limited time to purchase Virtual Console games on both platforms. While Nintendo offers many of its classics as part of Online subscription service for Nintendo SwitchThis library is smaller than what is available for purchase individually on Virtual Console.
When Nintendo first published the support article about the changes, it had a section on “How many classic games for previous platforms will stop for purchase anywhere.” The answer referred to Nintendo Switch Online and also noted that “we don’t currently have any plans to offer classic content in other ways.” However, this section was removed from the support article shortly after it was posted.
Update February 15th, 8:51 PM ET: Added that Nintendo has removed a Q&A about maintaining classic games.