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 still kept the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS eShop open for people looking to buy games on those platforms. In March 2023, however, that will no longer 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 be slow to make changes to eShop purchases until that 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 also not be able to use eShop gift cards to add money to your accounts on those devices.
  • If you have download codes, you will not be able to redeem them after the end of March 2023.
  • After the end of March 2023, you will not be able to use money in your Nintendo Wallet account (assuming you have linked that Nintendo Switch account to the older Nintendo Network ID account) to purchase Wii U and 3DS content.

The company is not closing things 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 DLC, receive software updates and play online on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS family systems,” Nintendo said. However, demos and free-to-start software will not be available after the end of March 2023.

Nintendo has announced these changes in both America and Japan.

As to why this is happening, Nintendo says the phaseout is “part of the natural life cycle of any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time.” That said, you should know that these changes mean 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 to purchase separately on the 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 no longer be widely available. The response pointed to Nintendo Switch Online, also noting that “we currently have no plans to offer classic content in other ways.” However, that section was removed from the support article shortly after it was posted.

Update February 15, 8:51 PM ET: Added that Nintendo removed a question and answer about preserving classic games.

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