Nintendo to End Online Support for 3DS and Wii U Next Year. Here's What to Know

Fans of the older Nintendo consoles can expect to lose online support in April 2024.

Mary-Elisabeth Combs Associate Writer
Mary-Elisabeth is an associate writer on CNET's How-To team. She's a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's English Department, and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the How-To team, she covers a little bit of everything. When she's not writing, she's catching up on Formula 1 or reading.
Mary-Elisabeth Combs
2 min read
Nintendo 3DS in front of Wii U box

Fans of the 3DS and the Wii U will be losing online support in April 2024. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Nintendo this week said it will end online support for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U models in April 2024. This change will affect the Nintendo 2DS, New 2DS XL, 3DS, 3DS XL, New 3DS and New 3DS XL as well as the Wii U Deluxe and Wii U Basic.

Though the company hasn't announced a specific date for when online support will officially be cut off, it did let customers know that "if an event occurs that would make it difficult to continue online services for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software," the company "may have to discontinue services earlier than planned." Nintendo shuttered the 3DS and Wii U's online shops in March.

The company didn't immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

Fans who follow Nintendo closely will notice that the company is almost overdue for the release of a brand-new console. With rumors of an upcoming Nintendo Switch 2 flying and Nintendo continuing to cease support for its older consoles, this move could be a sign that the gaming giant is preparing for a new release. 

Read on if you're a fan of the 3DS or the Wii U and you're wondering how this will impact your ability to use your consoles. For more, here's our review of the Nintendo Switch OLED model

What does this mean for my 3DS and Wii U? 

Essentially, after Nintendo cuts support in April of next year, you'll no longer be able to access the internet on the 3DS and Wii U. That means online rankings, online cooperative play and any other features that require an internet connection will no longer be supported. 

However, users will still be able to use their consoles to play games offline, so you don't have to worry about losing the ability to play your favorite games outright. And cooperative play isn't totally off the table, users will still be able to play games together locally, which means both consoles are on the same Wi-Fi network. 

Updates and previously downloaded games will also still be available to access through the Nintendo eShop for the "foreseeable future," according to the company.

It's important to note that there could be some exceptions to the company's ceasing of online support. Nintendo suggests reaching out to publishers for specific information on whether their software will be affected. 

For more, check out the best handheld video game consoles of 2023