Nintendo won’t let you buy digital games for Wii U and 3DS after March 2023

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The Nintendo Switch has been Nintendo’s main console for years now, but the company has still kept the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS’s eShop open for people who want to buy games on those platforms. In March 2023, though, that will no longer be the case — Nintendo won’t let you buy things on the Wii U or Nintendo 3DS eShop “as of late March 2023,” the company announced on Tuesday.

Nintendo will be slowly making changes to eShop purchases up until that deadline:

  • On May 23rd, 2022, you won’t be able to use a credit card to add funds to your eShop accounts on Wii U or 3DS devices.
  • On August 29th, 2022, you won’t be able to use eShop gift cards to add funds to your accounts on those devices, either.
  • If you have any download codes, you won’t be able to redeem those after late March 2023.
  • You won’t be able to use money in your Nintendo Wallet account (assuming you’ve linked that Nintendo Switch account with the older Nintendo Network ID account) to buy Wii U and 3DS content after late March 2023.

The company isn’t shutting things down entirely for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. “Even after late March 2023, and for the foreseeable future, it will still be possible to redownload games and DLC, receive software updates and enjoy online play on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems,” Nintendo says. However, demos and free-to-start software won’t be available after late March 2023.

Nintendo has announced these changes in both the Americas and Japan.

As for why this is happening, Nintendo says that the wind-down is “part of the natural lifecycle for 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 buy 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 buy individually on the Virtual Console.

When Nintendo first published the support article about the changes, it had a section about how “many classic games for past platforms will cease to be available for purchase anywhere.” The answer pointed to Nintendo Switch Online and also noted 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 15th, 8:51PM ET: Added that Nintendo removed a Q&A about classic game preservation.

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