eShop: The Loss of History


Lukas Hutchens, Contributing Writer

Back in 2011, Nintendo released a console called the 3DS. It didn’t launch with many games, but it did have the eShop, where you could buy indie games and old Gameboy games. After Wii U launched, it also got an eShop for indies and retro titles. It was a great time. Unfortunately, Nintendo has decided to cut that time short. This time on March 27th, the shops will be closed forever, and everything on there will be lost to time. Why are they doing this? Well the reason is simple, but the reality still hurts.

The main reason why they’re doing this is most likely because of sales. The Wii U sold terribly. For five years it struggled to even stay afloat. It was done before the Switch even came out. The 3DS was a bit different. That actually sold fairly well. The problem, though, is that the second the Switch came out, the 3DS was over too. Every “major” release was criticized for not being on the Switch. But the worst part, might be that the 3DS has the lowest selling Mario gane…ever. Less sales than the Virtual Boy, something most people haven’t even heard of. And this wasn’t because it was a bad game, but it launched on the completely wrong system.

This is all compared to the Wii’s digital store. That store lasted from when it launched, all the way into 2019. It kept going well into the Switch’s lifetime. And that’s because it sold well. People would buy a Wii when they were supposed to get eggs, so of course they would keep that store open as long as they could. The Wii’s shop was open for thirteen years, while the 3DS got about eleven, and the Wii U barely broke ten.

While it closing is discouraging, the worst part is what this means for preservation. The eShop’s were the only way to buy some older games without selling a kidney to go on eBay. Now that’s gone, and the Switch has no replacement for it in sight. Not only are older games like N64 and Gameboy games now much harder to buy, some indie games will now be unpurchasable forever. Stretchmo, Dillon’s Rolling Western, and others were only on the eShop. Now there is no way to buy those either, and only those who already bought them can play them.

The public reaction to this has obviously been negative, though not quite unexpected. Though few people even talked about these consoles anymore, there were still some who were sad to see it go. While everyone knew it would happen, no one thought it would be this soon. Even if it makes sense financially, it still stings. So while the eShop is in its final month, those who used it should remember the good times it had. And then be sad again once they remember the Switch eShop is an empty void. Fun.