Nintendo will begin the second process of its gradual closure of the 3DS and Wii U eShop as of today.
The first process back in May involved disabling the ability to add funds via credit/debit card. Now, after today, August 29, 2022, users will no longer be able to add funds to their accounts by the means of the Nintendo-issued prepaid cards. This means that the only way to add funds to your account until the 3DS/Wii U eShop is fully closed is by means of linking your Nintendo Network ID with the Nintendo Account system that the Switch supports.
With a Nintendo Account, funds can be added via prepaid cards, Paypal, or direct links with a credit/debit card.
So, this means that you’re still free to browsed the 3DS and Wii U eShop how you see fit and you can still go ahead and make purchases. But, the functionality of the latter is the next to go.
Nintendo has announced that March 27th, 2023 will be the final day for buying games on either storefront. After that, players will no longer be able to purchase anything new. Already purchased content that’s still in either eShop will be available for redownloading for an unspecified amount of time.
The closure of the Wii U and 3DS eShop follow the closure of the Wii Shop Channel, which was shut down only a few years ago. It, too, is currently in a state of only serving as a temporary repository for redownloads, and Nintendo still has yet to say when it will pull the plug on the Wii Shop Channel altogether. With this in mind, it does at least give an indication that the 3DS and Wii U eShop will stick around at least for a good few years after their full closure in 2023.
In both of these instances, however, it is created a discussion surrounding the topic of game preservation.
As gaming becomes more digital-oriented, concerns around preservation have become more prevalent. After all, once a digital-only game is delisted and/or the storefront that hosted it becomes inaccessible, then it’s lost to time unless an unofficial backup copy is preserved.
Wii U and 3DS emulators are out there, but not everyone will and/or wants to use them. So, for those who do have existing hardware, particularly in the case of the Wii U which is far more rare, they’ll have to hope their systems last a good while in order to maintain access to their libraries.
The Switch has garnered thousands and thousands of releases over the last five years. There’s no telling if Nintendo will continue on with a “Switch 2”, which should have backward-compatibility. If the company goes with an entirely different successor, then this could put the Switch in a similar position where its game preservation is challenged.
Source: Nintendo Life