March 1, 2024

Nintendo announces closing of eShop, and why it complicates things

Recently, Nintendo announced that they were discontinuing Nintendo eShop support for the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Wii U. 

This means that after Aug. 29, 2022 it will no longer be possible to download titles digitally to your 3DS and Wii U systems. It was only a matter of time because companies that develop new consoles often discontinue the previous generations’ online support only a few years after the next console is released.

As far as next steps go, this move makes sense because a service that does not make money anymore doesn’t make sense from a business standpoint. The problem that I and many other Nintendo fans have is how it affects the Virtual Console.

The Virtual Console basically allows Nintendo to emulate games from older consoles on newer devices. Think along the lines of playing a Gameboy game on a 3DS.

By discontinuing eShop support, we lose the ability to download a relatively large number of games that have not been ported to the Nintendo Switch. Personally, I am sad to see the Pokémon Ranger games no longer be available for purchase. 

It’s especially frustrating given Nintendo’s take on emulation. They frequently file lawsuits against people uploading roms of Nintendo games to the internet.  This is legally within their right to do, but there isn’t usually an alternative, other than buying the old console and the game you want to play and spending a lot of money to do it.

Another minor gripe that I have is that downloadable content will no longer be available for 3DS and Wii U titles. For some games this is not really a big deal, but for some games it’s a pretty big deal. One example is “Fire Emblem: Fates,” which is a game with three story routes. Unless you bought the collector’s edition, you have to buy at least one or even both of the other routes through downloadable content. 

This does not mean that Nintendo won’t move more games to the switch in the future, but we do not really have any guarantee that everything is going to be ported over.

Currently, if you have a Nintendo online subscription, you can select from a large number of NES and SNES titles and if you buy the expansion pack you can play N64 and Sega Genesis games.

While there are some Wii U games that are already ported to the Switch, we are still going to be losing a lot of titles. 

Hopefully, more titles will be made available in the future, especially since we are going to lose so many of them with the eShop going down. Right now, I would recommend picking up any eShop titles that you may have passed up on before, because in a few months it will be gone forever.


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