Nintendo shutting down 3Ds and Wii U eShops — here’s when

Someone playing a Nintendo 3DS
(Image credit: Barone Firenze/Shutterstock)

While it has been rumored for a while, Nintendo has now officially confirmed that the 3DS and Wii U eShops will be closing shop permanently. Previously, the window for a potential closure was “late March” 2023, but Nintendo confirmed in a blog post yesterday that the online stores will close on March 27, 2023.

Unfortunately for fans of the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo Wii U, there is even more bad news. Gamers will not be allowed to use a Nintendo eShop gift card to add funds to an account associated with a Wii U or Nintendo 3DS as of August 29. Luckily, we learned the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShops are shutting down back in February, so hopefully, you've had time to plan appropriately.

Nintendo eShops closing: How does this impact gamers? 

Gamers have already been preparing for the death of the 3DS and the Wii U for some time. We originally reported on this story back in February, and since then Nintendo has already removed the ability to add funds to a 3DS or Wii U eShop account via credit card.

This means that currently the only way to add funds to an eShop account for a 3DS or Wii U is via gift card, though as previously stated that will cease to be supported on August 29. After that point, you will either need to use your existing eShop balance or redeem download codes to digitally purchase games.

Nintendo 3DS XL

(Image credit: Nintendo)

There are a couple of silver linings to this news. First, Nintendo has said that users can redownload purchased 3DS and Wii U games and associated DLC, receive software updates for those games and play them online even after the eShops close on March 27. Nintendo has stated that it has no intention to change this stance anytime soon. 

Another silver lining is that Nintendo Switch users do not need to burn through their eShop balance just for the sake of using it. Once the 3DS and Wii U eShops close, your eShop balance will be usable on the Nintendo Switch eShop. If you have been thinking about upgrading, make sure to look at the best Nintendo Switch deals before purchasing. 

Nintendo eShops closing: What games should I get? 

12 3DS games to buy

(Image credit: Nintendo)

If you are panicking about which games to buy don’t worry, we did plenty of research for you. We found 12 3DS games to buy before Nintendo shuts down the eShop, and yes, there’s plenty of The Legend of Zelda on that list. We also found 10 Wii U games to buy before Nintendo shuts down the eShop, so make sure to take a look before the eShops close for good.

Finally, there was one last wrinkle in Nintendo’s announcement. For fans of Fire Emblem Fates on the 3DS, you will need to make sure you buy all the content you need one more prior to the eShop closure. Fire Emblem Fates sales will officially cease on February 28, 2023. 

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.

  • seylen
    This year brings many worries and disappointments for gamers. Unisoft has shut down more than a dozen games, Nintendo is shutting down 3DS and Wii U eShops. Although it is possible to play some games in single-player offline mode, this does not make it any less sad. I understand that the games are old and the companies are trying to evolve and create something new. I am a desperate fan of retro games, especially DS Games like The Legend of Zelda, Fire Emblem bring me joy. Because it was with the Nintendo DS handheld console that my gamer journey began. Man, 3DS, Wii U, Unisoft's Assassin's Creed are all an entire era, it breaks my heart to hear news of the shutdowns.