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Nintendo to Close Wii U, 3DS Digital Stores in 2023

The company also letting you take a look at your Wii U and 3DS gaming stats.

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The Wii U and 3DS eShops will close next year.
Sarah Tew/CNET

If you want to download digital games to your Nintendo Wii U or 3DS, don't put it off too long. Nintendo revealed Tuesday that you'll no longer be able to make purchases for these devices in its eShops starting in "late March 2023."

You also will no longer be able to add funds to your account in these eShops via credit card starting May 23, 2022 -- or do the same with a Nintendo eShop gift card as of Aug. 29, 2022. Download codes will still be redeemable until late March 2023.

Nintendo's online statement originally included a suggestion that people who want to play its older games in future should get a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online, according to Kotaku, and that Nintendo currently has "no plans to offer classic content in other ways." The part has since been removed from the Q&A section.

Switch Online lets you access a library of retro games from the Nintendo 64, SNES, NES and Sega Genesis, but you have to connect to the internet once a week to authenticate your subscription. By contrast, the Wii U and 3DS let you buy individual games from a wider range of systems (like the DS and various Game Boys) and the eShops' closure will remove access to 1,799 titles, according to IGN.

The Wii U holds the distinction of being Nintendo's worst-selling console, with 13.56 million units sold. By contrast, the Switch has sold more than 100 million units. The 3DS was more successful, with 75.94 million units sold but is still the company's least popular handheld. The DS was its most popular handheld, with 154.02 million units sold.

Sony was planning a similar shutdown for digital stores on PS3, PS Vita and PSP last year, but fan outcry pushed the company to partially reverse that decision by keeping the PS3 and Vita stores open.

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This is why I'm pretty good at Mario Kart 8.

Nintendo

On the positive side, Nintendo also added a website feature allowing you to look at your Wii U and 3DS play history.  

I spent 172 hours playing my Wii U, across 23 different games. Mario Kart 8 was my most-played title, at 68 hours. I spent 270 hours on my 3DS, on 64 different games. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D was my main game, at 33 hours.

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A slightly obscure Resident Evil spinoff was my top 3DS game.

Nintendo