Nintendo has announced the end date for online services on the 3DS and Wii U platforms. On April 8th, 2024 at 4PM PT/7PM ET, Nintendo will permanently disconnect all online features for 3DS and Wii U games and software. This includes online play, rankings, competitions, and more. After this date, players will only be able to access offline game modes. What does this milestone mean for legacy Nintendo gamers?
X @NintendoAmerica: “Update: as of 4/8, online play and other functionality that uses online communication will end service for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software. Thank you very much for your continued support of our products.”
X @NintendoAmerica: “Update: until 3/11, you can merge your unused Nintendo eShop balance to your Nintendo Account, so that it can be used on #NintendoSwitch.”
The termination of 3DS and Wii U online services has been expected for some time. Nintendo closed the eShop stores for both platforms back in March 2023. However, players can still download previously purchased games and updates until sometime after April. The Pokémon Bank application will also continue to be operational for the foreseeable future.
For users with unused eShop balances, the deadline to transfer funds to a Nintendo Account is March 11th, 2024. This wallet linking process allows old eShop balances to be used on the Nintendo Switch eShop. Nintendo has offered manual refunds for unused 3DS/Wii U funds since October 2023.
The end of 3DS and Wii U online play marks the final chapter for two revolutionary Nintendo systems. The 3DS pioneered glasses-free 3D gaming and introduced innovations like the Circle Pad. The Wii U enabled off-TV play with its GamePad controller years before the Switch. While physical games will still work, online components will be lost to time.
For Nintendo fans, it’s a bittersweet milestone. The 3DS in particular had a robust online ecosystem. Losing communities like the ones in Mario Kart 7 and Super Smash Bros. is disappointing. But Nintendo is clearly focused on building online experiences for Switch. Phasing out aging networks allows for better quality going forward.
As we say goodbye to the online 3DS and Wii U eras, which games will you miss playing online the most? Follow us, let us know!