With the Wii U and 3DS shops shutting down next year, Nintendo has clarified how the shutdown is going to work.
The short version is, as previously revealed, as of March 2023 you’ll no longer be able to purchase Nintendo 3DS games or Wii U games from the Nintendo eShop. You’ll still be able to re-download any titles you’ve purchased – provided your account is linked to that console – but you’ll be unable to buy any new 3DS or Wii U games.
In other words, if you want to get your hands on a 3DS or Wii U game you’ve not played before, your only option will, after March 2023, to buy it physically. However, given that an awful lot of games are download only, those titles will just become unavailable, full stop.
Nintendo has, going by their recent announcement, altered the timeline a little. As of 29th August this year you’ll be unable to load credit onto a 3DS or Wii U account and, perhaps more importantly, Nintendo eShop Cards will be unusable. So if you’ve purchased an eShop card you have until the 29th of next month to use it, after which it becomes worthless.
Updates on the discontinuation of #eShop for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS family systems:
– As of 29/08/2022, it will no longer be possible to add funds.
– As of 27/03/2023, purchases will no longer be available.
More details: https://t.co/XUEf0YZIxC
— Nintendo UK (@NintendoUK) July 19, 2022
“Users who link their Nintendo Network ID funds (used on Nintendo eShop for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS) with the funds tied to their Nintendo Account (used on Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) can use the shared funds to purchase content on any of these consoles and systems until 27 March 2023. After that, the funds can only be used to purchase content on Nintendo Switch.”
So, in theory, you could use a card to, via your Nintendo Switch account, load money onto your 3DS and Wii U account. However, as of 27th March 2023, you’ll be unable to use that credit to purchase 3DS or Wii U games. Yes, the 3DS and Wii U aren’t exactly thriving console but it’s sobering to see their usefulness bookended like this.