Nintendo has announced that it will discontinue digital game purchases on the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems in March 2023.
From that date onwards, you will no longer be able to make purchases in the Nintendo eShop for both of these systems, including free content downloads and demos. According to Nintendo, after March 2023 and “for the foreseeable future,” you’ll still be able to download titles and DLC, receive software updates, and play online on the Wii U and 3DS. “This is part of the natural life cycle for any product line as it becomes less used by consumers over time,” the company said.
“We will provide this notice more than a year before adoption, so users will have plenty of time to prepare.” The closure means that many digital-only Wii U and 3DS games will essentially disappear from next year, unless users have already purchased them. The Wii U was released in 2012 and sold only 13.5 million units. By 2017, this machine was discontinued. The Nintendo 3DS was released in 2011 and sold over 75 million units. Now discontinued in 2020. To mark the store’s closure, Nintendo has launched a website where users can review their personal Wii U and 3DS play stats.
The Nintendo 3DS sold only half the units of its predecessor, but it was still an important system because it helped Nintendo bounce back during difficult times, increasing the game’s sales. The 3DS supported Nintendo for years when the Wii U failed to find the light. Nintendo has put on the 3DS a lot of attractive games, bringing the Super Smash Bros. to handheld and drag Nintendo into the digital age in a way the DS/Wii never did.
Every party comes to an end, and for the 3DS/Wii U, that ending was the birth of the Switch. According to Nintendo’s most recent financial report, the Switch has outsold the Wii and PS1, making it one of Nintendo’s best-selling consoles of all time. The Switch’s momentum has left the 3DS and Wii U in the dust, and it’s only a matter of time before Nintendo begins shutting down these systems.