Nintendo has already removed credit card support from the North American console stores (Europe had the functionality removed back in 2019), and from August 29, 2022, it will not longer be possible to use eShop cards either.
The restrictions arrive as Nintendo looks to totally phase out the digital stores by March 27, 2023, after which users won’t be able to buy games at all, even with existing balances.
Between August 29 and the final closing date Nintendo Switch owners will be able to add funds via credit card to their account for use on the 3DS and Wii U stores.
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, as revealed by VGC analysis, up to 1000 digital-only eShop games will effectively disappear for good.
Some of the more notable Wii U download-only exclusives set to disappear forever include Affordable Space Adventures, Amiibo Tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits, Chasing Aurora, Dr Luigi, The Letter, Mini Mario & Friends: Amiibo Challenge, Pokémon Rumble U, Pushmo World (Pullblox World in Europe) and Shut the Box.
On 3DS, the list of games set to disappear is even larger. These include 3D-enhanced re-releases of a number of classic games, including Nintendo’s 3D Classic range, which offered stereoscopic versions of games like Excitebike, Kid Icarus and Kirby’s Adventure.
Finally, the closure of the Wii U and 3DS eShops will also mean the termination of the final systems to support the Virtual Console service. Once this happens, the only retro games provided by Nintendo will be the ones available on Switch Online’s various apps.
At the time of publishing, around 350 retro games released on the 3DS and Wii U in the west are not available to play on Nintendo Switch, including over 100 Game Boy systems games, 40 TurboGrafx-16 games, 30 DS games and 35 Wii games.
For the full list of games disappearing from the 3DS and Wii U eShops, read VGC’s analysis.