Nintendo Shuts Down 3DS, Wii U Shops, and Kills Classic Game Ownership
In a post titled “Discontinuation of the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS online store”Nintendo just announced that in March 2023, the online storefronts for both systems will cease operations.
But in practice, closures will start much earlier than that:
– As of May 23, 2022, it will no longer be possible to use a credit card to add funds to an account in Nintendo eShop on Wii U or Nintendo 3DS family systems.
– As of August 29, 2022, it will no longer be possible to use a Nintendo eShop Card to add funds to an account in Nintendo eShop on Wii U or Nintendo 3DS family systems. However, it will still be possible to redeem the download codes until the end of March 2023.
Regarding people playing and enjoying the games they already own, Nintendo says:
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 play online on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems.
All of this is planned. The 3DS turns 11 this year and the Wii U ten, so digital store closings were always going to happen sooner or later. What’s shitty about these particular closures, though, is that both storefronts offered users the option to buy, then own many of Nintendo’s biggest titles, something you’re now largely unable to do since the company moved to a subscription model with Nintendo Switch Online.
The company saw it coming. When the blog post was first created, an associated FAQ had the following interchange:
Once it is no longer possible to purchase software from the Nintendo eShop on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, many classic games for previous platforms will no longer be available for purchase. anywhere. Are you going to make classic games available to own in another way? If not, then why? Doesn’t Nintendo have an obligation to preserve its classic games by continually making them available for purchase?
In our Nintendo Switch Online subscription plans, over 130 classic games are currently available in growing libraries for various legacy systems. Games are often enriched with new features such as online play.
We believe this is an effective way to make classic content easily accessible to a wide range of players. In these libraries, new and long-time gamers can not only find games they remember or have heard of, but also other fun games they might not have thought to look up otherwise.
We currently have no plans to offer classic content in any other way.
“We currently have no plans to deliver classic content any other way” is an incredibly shitty thing to read, because under no circumstances is a subscription-based model an acceptable substitution for actually own a game.
The fact that, shortly after posting this, Nintendo deleted this particular Q&A section from its site is particularly insane. Go check now and “Doesn’t Nintendo have an obligation to preserve its classic games by continually making them available for purchase?” part is gone.