Nintendo has announced the exact date for when it plans to close the Wii U and 3DS eShops for good.
If you're still planning on buying games digitally from the Wii U and 3DS stores, you'll have until March 27 next year to do so. The Japanese publisher made the announcement on its official support website (opens in new tab).
You have much less time to add funds to these stores with a Nintendo eShop Card, though. On August 29 – just over a month from now – you'll no longer be able to add prepaid funds with these cards. However, you'll still have until the shutdown date next year to use these funds on digital Wii U and 3DS titles.
Nintendo isn't outright deleting these stores or their online functionalities, though. It announced that you can still redownload previously purchased software, DLC, and updates from the stores "for the foreseeable future."
Going, going, gone
With the Nintendo Switch soaring in sales ever since its launch half a decade ago, it's understandably become the company's key focus. Unfortunately, one knock-on effect of that has been waning interest (outside of collectors) in decade-old hardware like the Wii U and 3DS.
Personally, I can't help but feel like the closure of the Wii U and 3DS eShops is premature. The 3DS, especially, is home to a vast library of great games that are far easier to buy and play digitally. 3DS games that have any degree of rarity, such as the Etrian Odyssey series, Rhythm Thief, and Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, are all much harder to find physically. Not to mention such games command outrageous prices among second-hand sellers.
The Wii U didn't have as many hidden gems, but its library of games turned out to be solid by the end of its lifespan, thanks to games like Xenoblade Chronicles X (still waiting on that Switch port). The Wii U's eShop was also notable for selling coveted Wii games like Metroid Prime Trilogy at remarkably affordable prices.
If you still own a Wii U or 3DS and boot them up every so often, now's the time to hit those eShops and make sure you've scoured the libraries before the cutoff date. The best 3DS eShop exclusive games will be gone forever after March 27, for example. So barring any future re-releases, you have until then to secure your library of games.