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The company is slowly phasing out its older consoles, but is there enough useful life in them for a bit longer?

hand holding nintendo 3ds silver with colored buttons

Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS will always retain their places as some of the most interesting consoles in the company’s lineup. Due to both consoles recently turning 10 years old, gamers have been wondering if or when Nintendo would discontinue certain features.

Well, the sad news came on February 15th that the Wii U and 3DS eShops will be shutting down.

Here’s every feature Nintendo is taking away and what we can still do with our beloved systems.

What Is Happening & When?

Nintendo announced on February 15th, 2022 that it will discontinue the Wii U and 3DS eShops, but what does this mean in reality?

Nintendo’s announcement reads:

As of late March 2023, it will no longer be possible to make purchases in Nintendo eShop for the Wii U system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. It will also no longer be possible to download free content, including game demos.

This includes not only the eShops, but the StreetPass Mii Plaza, Theme Shop, Nintendo Badge Arcade, Pokémon Bank, and Wii Sports Club as well.

Nintendo outlined a few important details in its announcement:

  • Users can add funds to their Wii U or 3DS directly via credit card until May 23rd, 2022.
  • Users can add funds via a Nintendo eShop Card to their Wii U or 3DS eShop account until August 29th, 2022.

However, you can link your Wii U or 3DS system’s Nintendo Network ID Wallet with the Nintendo Account wallet, used for the Switch. You can then add funds, and purchase games on your Wii U and 3DS system. This process will work until March 2023.


Nintendo states that users can also redeem any download codes until the discontinuation date of March 2023.

Related: Should You Buy Physical or Digital Nintendo Switch Games?

What Can You Still Do on the Wii U & 3DS?

A Wii U Gamepad with buttons and a large touch screen rests against a white Wii U console
Image Credit: Takimata/Wikimedia Commons

Although this announcement is a huge bummer to Wii U and 3DS lovers, it doesn’t mean the systems themselves are going completely offline.

If you already own several eShop games on your Wii U or 3DS, you’ll still be able to download them after March 2023. These games are not vanishing completely. This also includes any DLC for these games.

Nintendo stated that online multiplayer will continue to be available until further notice. This means that all the Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U fans out there will still be able to battle it out with friends via their 3DS well into the future.

The systems will also continue to receive software updates. All other features that do not require purchasing something directly through the Wii U or 3DS eShop will continue to function as normal.

Nintendo understands that this news will sadden many of its fans, so it’s created My Nintendo 3DS & Wii U Memories. This feature shows your favorite genres, most memorable games, and other fun analytics.

Related: Should You Buy the New Nintendo Switch (OLED)?

You Can Keep On Enjoying the Wii U & 3DS Systems

This announcement goes to show how important purchasing physical games is. Sure, you can still re-download games you’ve already purchased from the online store. But you’ll no longer be able to browse and purchase games that may have been exclusive to the eShop.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy your systems. Online multiplayer will still be active, and you can play games from your entire physical and digital library. You can also use all the other fun features these systems offer that don’t have anything to do with the eShops. It’s the end of a chapter, but our beloved Nintendo systems will still live on.

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