I hate when major corporations shut services down with no means of archiving or alternative preservation. Nintendo joined those ranks when it announced the upcoming closure of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U stores and Video Games Chronicle (VGC) assessed the damage:
Up to 1,000 digital-only games will no longer be available for purchase when Nintendo closes the Wii U and 3DS eShop stores next year, VGC analysis shows.
Although users will still be able to redownload their previous purchases for the foreseeable future, from March 2023 it will no longer be possible to buy games on the WiiU and 3DS online marketplaces, Nintendo announced this week.
But the deadline until the stores become inaccessible is effectively much sooner than that: From May 23, 2022 it will no longer be possible to use credit cards in the stores, and from August 29, 2022 it will no longer be possible to use eShop cards to add funds either.
After this point, some of Wii U’s and 3DS’s eShop library will still be available as physical releases, or via other systems. However, a significant number of eShop games were only released digitally, and a large portion of these will be platform exclusives. It’s these titles that will effectively disappear for good.
This is a major blow for so many fans of both consoles, especially with so many of the games being digital-only. I’m very grateful for having “alternative” hardware (*cough* emulators and ROMs) but that’s not necessarily affordable and is illegal if you don’t own the games outright. And if which digital-exclusive games disappear, unless a kind soul emulates them somehow, we will lose pieces of gaming history forever. So grab the games while you still have time but don’t go wild on games that are readily available in physical form or via ROMs (if you choose that route which we can’t officially condone).