Farewell To Wii U And 3DS eShops
March 27, 2023
Nintendo is taking both the Wii U and 3DS eShops offline today, ending the ability to purchase content from those digital storefronts. It's always sad to see a digital shop go, but Nintendo delisting content in this manner always seems to hurt a little more because we never know if some of it will be back. Sure, Super Mario Bros. 3 isn't going anywhere; in fact, it's already possible to play three different versions of it on the Nintendo Switch provided you pay the subscription fee instead of a one-time purchase price. Other games from the company's more experimental whims such as Rusty's Real Deal Baseball, Nintendo Badge Arcade, Pushmo, and Boxboy! may or may not resurface one day. Virtual Console games such as Bionic Commando and the Mega Man Game Boy titles may or may not be relicensed for the Switch. We're surely not going to see the 3D conversions of famous games such as Kirby's Adventure or Sonic the Hedgehog 2 again. I don't even know where to begin with how this impacts the classic Pokémon games and Pokémon Bank. And all of that is just on the 3DS eShop!
Over 2,400 games are just going to go up in smoke today as Nintendo moves on to focus all of its energies on the Switch and its inevitable successor. Some publishers, such as Capcom, marked their prices down one last time for a fire sale or sorts, selling $40 games for a scant $4 or less. You can't beat those discounts! I purchased one last 3DS game: WarioWare Gold, and it was still at full $40 price, but I knew that if I waited to find a physical cartridge for sale sometime (the game is long out of print), I'd end up paying even more for it. I almost double-dipped on Yoshi & Poochy's Wooly World, but I have the original game on Wii U and I doubt I'll ever want to pay the outrageous markup for the Poochy amiibo on the used game market which is required to access the new content exclusive to the handheld version.
I remember when the 3DS eShop first went online in June 2011. I was in Los Angeles covering E3 when the system update that would enable the eShop (and the limited time free download of 3D ExciteBike) went live. I was in the press lounge, eagerly trying to get my 3DS on the convention center Wi-Fi with its abysmal transfer speeds to download the update and experience the new content. Now, a staggering thirteen years later, it's time to wind it all down. Farewell, Wii U and 3DS eShops. You provided a better experience than the Wii Shop Channel, gave some sense of permanent ownership (in as much as a download can be considered permanent), housed some really neat experimental content, and offered some amazing sales from time to time. You will both be missed.