Bad news for anyone trying to redownload some old 3DS digital games or Wii titles via each consoles’ respective store channels: Currently, players report both channels are down and have been for a few days now. Many are now concerned the channels may not return, possibly locking away a lot of digital content that people owned and didn’t have a chance to download before the surprise shutdown.
As spotted by Eurogamer, it appears that since March 16 the official Nintendo 3DS and Wii Shop Channels have been offline. If this shutdown is permanent and these stores never return, then they seem to have been closed with no advanced warning from Nintendo.
To be clear: We knew Nintendo had plans to start limiting what you could do on the 3DS shop later this year and into 2023, including blocking users from adding more funds to their accounts. And you haven’t been able to buy anything on the Wii Shop Channel since 2019.
However, in both cases, Nintendo didn’t announce any dates or specific plans for when these stores would be shut down entirely. If they have been in fact closed for good, with no heads up, that’s bad.
The possible premature and unnotified closing of these stores is a big deal for many. Once (or if) these digital shops close for good, you’ll be unable to re-download any content you previously purchased on them. Many players would probably like a few months to download and install some of their favourite or hard-to-find 3DS and Wii exclusives before the door is closed on the servers forever.
Kotaku has reached out to Nintendo about the stores being down for days and if it has plans to bring them back online.
Over on the announcement page for the news that Nintendo was ending support of the 3DS and WiiU stores, this is what the publisher said about the future, emphasis mine:
“Even after late March 2023, and for the foreseeable future, it will still be possible to redownload games and DLC, receive software updates and enjoy online play on Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems.”
And over on the support page announcing its plans for the Wii Shop Channel, you can find a similar message, though here Nintendo does at least acknowledge it will probably one day shut it all down and again, emphasis mine:
“However, for the time being you may continue to re-download content you have purchased or transfer that content from a Wii system to a Wii U system. Be aware that these features will eventually end at a future date.”
Still, it seems pretty shitty to pull the plug completely on these stores with no warning. It’s also possible that this is just an extended amount of downtime due to some behind-the-scenes issues or technical hiccups we aren’t aware of. If so, Nintendo has yet (as of March 20 at 3:15 EST p.m.) to publicly acknowledge the outage or its cause.
Another interesting thing to note is that some players have reported the ability to still be able to download games and DLC via third-party tools like NUSDownloader. This seems to imply that the servers are still up in some capacity, but the storefronts are down for some unknown reason.