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There are now three weeks to go until it’s no longer possible to buy games on the Wii U and 3DS eShops.
Nintendo is in the process of completely shutting down both digital stores, and players are only able to buy games on them until March 27.
If you intend to buy certain titles on the Wii U or 3DS eShops but don’t have enough balance in your account, you’ll need to use a Switch to top it up.
This is because Nintendo has already removed the ability to top up Wii U and 3DS balances directly through their respective eShops.
Nintendo removed credit card support from the 3DS and Wii U eShops last year, followed by the ability to use prepaid eShop cards.
At the moment, then, the only way players can add to their 3DS or Wii U balance is to merge their Nintendo Network ID (used for Wii U and 3DS) with their Nintendo Account (used for Switch).
This gives players the option to merge both balances, meaning any money added on one system will be reflected across them all.
As such, it’s still possible to top up a 3DS or Wii U balance by merging the accounts then topping up your balance on Switch.
However, from March 27, players won’t be able to buy digital 3DS or Wii U games at all, even with their existing balances.
Nintendo has also announced that the ability to merge Wii U and 3DS eShop balances with a Switch balance will end in March 2024.
This means if players still have an existing balance on the Wii U and 3DS eShops and don’t link their Nintendo Network ID to a Nintendo Account by then, their existing Wii U and 3DS balance will effectively be gone.
Last year, though, it assured that even though no more transactions (including the downloading of free demos and content) will be possible after March 27, the online service won’t shut down completely.
“Even after March 27, 2023, and for the foreseeable future, it will still be possible to redownload games and DLC, receive software updates and enjoy online play on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems,” it said.
As revealed by VGC analysis, up to 1000 digital-only eShop games will effectively disappear for good once 3DS and Wii U eShop transactions end on March 27.
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.