The long-standing eShop services for the 3DS and Wii U are starting to show their age as select countries are discontinuing some features. Players for both systems won’t be able to redeem codes for digital titles while games and apps won’t be getting updates. Games that are deleted also won’t be re downloadable, giving players more reasons to keep as much software on their consoles as possible.
In an announcement by Nintendo, the changes are coming first for 3DS and Wii U owners in Latin America and the Caribbean, while the deadline on July 31, 2020 will start limiting the eShop’s functionality before it’s no longer accessible. Its FAQ’s explained this is in part of re-evaluating the company’s business strategies as it’s likely the focus is on Nintendo Switch’s three-year old eShop. The renewed interest in the portable system is clear, as worldwide shortages prompted Nintendo to ramp up production to 20 million by the end of 2020.
The eShop for the Nintendo 3DS went live on June 6, 2011 shortly after the portable system was released. A step-up from the Nintendo DS’ line of content, the eShop looked to give players more digital options as cartridges were staying at home. The full support of non-physical versions was also tied to its awards system, which helped encourage more players to build a virtual library. Of course, the eShop included other apps such as Netflix and Nintendo Video which provided 3D content from supporting content creators.
The Wii U’s eShop was similar in its online distribution and gave owners an instant option in purchasing games at launch while it meant no longer having to go to stores for discs. Its service went live on November 18, 2012 and even offered a selection of streaming apps to go along with the gaming experience. Added functionality was given through the Wii U’s controller and the shop could be used without looking at a monitor.
Both platforms are also ending their life cycle in certain parts of the world as the Nintendo Switch becomes the company’s primary console for the current generation. Its eShop gives full support for all titles released, with many owners having an all-digital library. Its service first went live as the console launched in December 10, 2019 (first in China). Purchases from the shop were also tied to the My Nintendo rewards service, which essentially gives digital buyers points to save and redeem on other games later.
The company also suggested users to use the service as much as possible before the cutoff time in those regions while it’s still unknown when the eShops begin dying in North America and Europe. Users in Brazil and Mexico aren’t affected by the changes while a full list of countries that are can be found on their info page here.