Only a few days ago, Nintendo announced that it will be ending support for the 3DS and the Wii U eStores between now and March 2023. A statement released by the company said that "it will no longer be possible to make purchases in Nintendo eShop for the Wii U system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems”. While the Switch only became Nintendo's primary focus since its launch in 2017, it seems the company has been planning this move since 2014.
"Nintendo knows it has to support a product for a minimum of 10 years or they risk some class action," a former Nintendo of America employee told NintendoLife. "Internally, NCL has been waiting for that day since 2014 based on sales… Nintendo looks at the first 2 years as the indicator of when to start packing it in with a console."
According to the source, Nintendo was waiting for the 10-year mark before ending support for the 3DS and Wii U eStores. Everything that the company was rolling out for the two consoles before 2017 was only to buy time till the launch of the Switch.
"While NX [code name for the Switch] was being worked on, you saw a test with amiibo and a bunch of weird apps that interacted with those on Wii U. All just busy work to fill the sales void until NX would arrive. Same thing with the mini consoles… panic products aimed at filling the NX gap for Christmas."
While Nintendo's official statement says that all your purchases will be accessible for "the foreseeable future", the source wasn't too optimistic about it. "They will give notice in 2023 that the server will be shut down after a time. People will 100% lose their games if something happens to their Wii U or the drive they have their games on."
Nintendo's decision has left fans pretty upset about losing some of their favourite games. Even the Video Game History Foundation put out a scathing statement about this decision, saying that it is "actively destructive to video game history". Shutting down eShops is one thing, but going out of your way to torpedo fans' attempts to preserve games is nothing short of distasteful.
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