Nintendo goes after pirates with the full backing of the law. But the company itself makes piracy enticing to its most dedicated fans.
Nintendo is shutting down the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShops in 2023. The company announced the digital stores for these consoles would cease to be available in the near future. While that sunset date is still more than a year out, Nintendo has effectively stopped supporting these legacy systems much sooner.
- As of May 23, 2022 – It will no longer be possible to use a credit card to add funds to an account in Nintendo eShop on WiiU or Nintendo 3DS.
- As of August 29, 2022 – It will no longer be possible to use a Nintendo eShop card to add funds to an account in Nintendo eShop on Wii U or Nintendo 3DS. Download codes will still be redeemable until March 2023.
The Wii U and Nintendo 3DS are legacy systems at this point, both more than a decade old. But Nintendo’s switch to a subscription model for classic games on systems like Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, and GameCube has left gamers feeling pretty bummed. Nintendo has no plans to rectify the situation, either. “We currently have no plans to offer classic content in other ways,” Nintendo said in a FAQ. The question?
Doesn’t Nintendo have an obligation to preserve its classic games by continually making them available for purchase?
The Video Game History Foundation is pretty miffed about Nintendo’s plans, too. They do everything they can to make sure old games are preserved and moves like this make that work harder than ever. It’s no surprise the foundation released a statement condemning Nintendo’s actions.
“While it is unfortunate that people won’t be able to purchase digital 3DS or Wii U games anymore, we understand the business reality that went into this decision,” the Foundation writes on Twitter. “What we don’t understand is what path Nintendo expects its fans to take, should they wish to play these games in the future. As a paying member of the Entertainment Software Association, Nintendo actively funds lobbying that prevents even libraries from being able to provide legal access to these games.”
“Not providing commercial access is understandable, but preventing institutional work to preserve these titles on top of that is actively destructive to video game history. We encourage ESA members like Nintendo to rethink their position on this issue and work with existing institutions to find a solution,” the statement concludes.
The shutdown of the Nintendo eShop on these systems will leave some 1,000 digital-only games unplayable. Others like Fire Emblem Fates will see entire storylines cut-off, unless a rare special edition physical copy of the game can be obtained. Those are retailing for around $900 on eBay since the news about the 3DS eShop broke.
Nintendo Goes Hard on Pirates
Nintendo hacker Gary Bowser was recently sentenced to 40 months for illegally selling Switch hacking kits. The company sued two websites that were distributing hacking kits, UberChips and Team Xecuter. Nintendo landed a $2 million settlement against UberChips in September 2020. Then it turned its eye to Gary Bowser, who has been hacking Nintendo consoles for years.
In the statement, Nintendo thanks the tireless efforts of federal prosecutors and law enforcement agencies to curb illegal activities on a global scale that cause serious harm to Nintendo and the video game industry.” Yet some of the hacks created by Gary Bowser will be the only way to play Nintendo 3DS games in the future. Something seems wrong about that.
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