Recently we've had news that isn't necessarily surprising, but has undoubtedly ruffled feathers and caused some upset among Nintendo fans: Nintendo is beginning a phased shutdown of the Wii U and 3DS eShop stores. This means that there's now limited time to purchase download-only games and content on both platforms. You will be able to redownload games you already own beyond the store's closure, though as is the case with Wii it'll be interesting to see how long that option remains open.
There's been — unsurprisingly — a strong reaction from some around the news with consideration of the download-only games that will be unavailable to buy after March 2023 (and it's worth remembering that you won't be able to add funds on either eShop after 23rd May this year). Both systems have some classic download-only games, including a number that remain exclusives to this day. We're putting together lists of some of these (in the meantime you should definitely head to the relevant eShop and pick up Pocket Card Jockey and Affordable Space Adventures if they're absent from your library) and, certainly, a number of us enthusiastic fans will be wondering whether to fire up our old systems for a purchase or two over the coming weeks.
Perhaps the systems also don't feel sufficiently 'retro' to have their stores shutdown, either. The Wii U isn't even a decade old yet — it'll reach that milestone later this year — and the 3DS is coming up to 11 years old; whereas the Wii Shop closure perhaps felt more natural (though losing access to that Virtual Console in particular stung), it's arguably more shocking when these closures are for systems that are still only 'last-gen'.
It'll also bring up a lot of familiar debates around Nintendo and game preservation, justifiably. Nintendo's dual hardware approach pre-Switch and shifts in architecture make it difficult to replicate the equivalent access possible on PlayStation and Xbox, but it's still a sore spot. Whether it's download-only games or the respective Virtual Consoles, there'll be a lot of content 'disappearing' and becoming inaccessible.
On the flipside, though, Nintendo has likely made the decision based on a combination of cost and data. How many people are actually still using the Wii U and 3DS eShop storefronts, never mind actually spending any money? Announcements like this tend to jolt our nostalgia and get us active on old systems again, but how many of us will need to recharge our now flat and dusty 3DS? How many of us will have to clamber into the attic or dig deep in a cupboard to get out the Wii U?
Well, we want to know where you stand on this, so below are a number of polls for your voting pleasure. Be sure to talk it all over in the comments too — a bit of nostalgia is always welcome.
Keep an eye out for out 3DS and Wii U eShop digital download-only recommendations coming soon. In the meantime, Affordable Space Adventures ain't going to buy itself — get that Wii U out of the loft quick-sharp!