Nintendo hasn’t supported the 3DS with any new content for several years now, and the Wii U was abandoned the second the Switch showed up. When the Wii’s eShop was shut down, many fans wondered how long the Wii U’s shop had left, as it was a far less successful console. Looks like now we know. The shop, and everything in it, has been given a March 2023 expiration date. The 3DS’s eShop will be shut down at the same time, despite there still technically being a model on the market (you can find a cheap 2DS at Walmart or Target if you hunt for it).
Note that they say March, but it’s actually much sooner than that: the point where credit cards will no longer work on the 3DS and Wii U eShops is May 23, 2022. After that point you’ll be able to use prepaid cards until August, but for most people, a credit card is the only way.
So what does this mean — that hundreds of unique games, and Virtual Console titles that are not sold anywhere else, are about to disappear? If Nintendo had its way, yes, but fortunately we live in a world plagued with piracy. Every single one of those eShop games has been archived in the form of a pirated file, and because of this, you should be able to simply download the entire eShop library for generations to come. Nintendo doesn’t care what you do with machines they have abandoned; otherwise the Everdrive would have been sued off the market.
It’s not too late to get some of these games legitimately, though. The website VGC has made a list of the most notable 3DS and Wii U games about to be taken off the market, as well as a pretty exhaustive tally of what we’re losing. It’s more than you think!