Nintendo is beginning the process of shutting down the 3DS and WiiU eShops. Starting today, May 23rd, customers will no be longer able to add funds using a credit card. 

Back in February, Nintendo announced their plans to close down the eShop service for the 3DS and WiiU by March 2023. Customers can still add funds using Nintendo eShop gift cards until August 29th. 

What Happens to the Games?

Nintendo’s announcement last month has reignited a conversation about video game preservation. An analysis from Video Game Chronicle reveals that nearly 1,000 digital titles will completely disappear following the closure. These games range from titles produced by independent studios and even include official Nintendo releases such as Dr. Luigi and Pokemon Rumble U.

Preservation of video games is unique to other forms of media. Films, books and music oftentimes have the advantage of being more easily preserved. These forms of media can live on either physically or digitally and can be shared and experienced in a variety of ways.

For video games, that’s a whole different story. While a company like Nintendo can publish new and legacy titles onto a digital storefront, situations like these bring into question how effective they can be. 

Nintendo will not be supporting re-releases for many of the titles that will disappear with this closure. Likewise, a significant number of classic titles on the WiiU will not be available on the Nintendo Switch. Inevitably, many of the games will fade into obscurity or will require consumers to purchase the original hardware to experience them. 

Even then, many legacy console will eventually expire due to the degradation of their components. Without effective digital preservation, who knows what the future of these games will look like?

There’s no easy fix to a situation like this, and despite consumer protest, Nintendo isn’t keen on providing a solution for gamers to experience these soon to be lost titles. 

 

I love writing, food, and video games. Currently playing: Inscryption, Valorant, Apex, Smash, GTFO, & Phasmophobia.