Nintendo will shut down the Wii U and 3DS eShops in March 2023, and in a now-deleted Q&A section said there are currently no plans to offer "classic content" outside of Nintendo Switch Online memberships.
The company will begin stripping marketplace support from both platforms later this year, explaining that as of May 23, 2022, it will no longer be possible to use a credit card to add funds to an account in the Nintendo eShop on the Wii U or 3DS.
From August 29, 2022, users will also be unable to use a Nintendo eShop Card to add funds to their eShop accounts on both platforms, although it will still be possible to redeem download codes until March 2023.
Nintendo added that Wii U and 3DS owners will still be able to redownload games and DLC, play online titles, and receive software updates after March 2023, and described the shuttering as "part of the natural [console] lifecycle."
"As of late March 2023, it will no longer be possible to make purchases in Nintendo eShop for the Wii U system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. It will also no longer be possible to download free content, including game demos," reads a support page.
"Users who link their Nintendo Network ID wallet (used with Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems) with their Nintendo Account wallet (used with the Nintendo Switch family of systems) can use the shared balance to purchase content on any of these systems until late March 2023. After that, the balance can only be used to purchase content for the Nintendo Switch family of systems."
Curiously, Nintendo attempted to pre-empt the game preservation question in a now-deleted Q&A section that saw the company explain why it won't be making classic titles available in other forms.
"Doesn't Nintendo have an obligation to preserve its classic games by continually making them available for purchase?" asked the company in a rather combative self-interrogation, a screenshot of which was shared online by Kotaku reporter Ethan Gach.
"Across our Nintendo Switch Online membership plans, over 130 classic games are currently available in growing libraries for various legacy systems. The games are often enhanced with new features such as online play," came the response.
"We think this is an effective way to make classic content easily available to a broad range of players. Within these libraries, new and longtime players can not only find games they remember or have heard about, but other fun games they might not have thought to seek out otherwise.
"We currently have no plans to offer classic content in other ways."