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The Video Game History Foundation has issued a statement on the closing of the Nintendo Wii U & 3DS eShops

By now, you’re more than likely aware of the announcement that Nintendo will be closing the Wii U and 3DS eShops in March of 2023. The response to the closures has been quite a lot of backlash, due in large part to a significant library of digital-only games not being preserved and available to buy anywhere else.

For example, the Video Game History Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving, celebrating, and teaching the history of video games, has released a statement about Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS eShop closures. They say that, while “we understand the business reality that went into this decision”, they don’t understand “what path Nintendo expects its fans to take, should they wish to play these games in the future”.

The Video Game History Foundation states that Nintendo, as a paying member of the ESA, “actively funds lobbying that prevents even libraries from being able to provide legal access to these games”. While they say that “not providing commercial access is understandable” they state that “preventing institutional work to preserve these titles on top of that is actively destructive to video game history”. Their full statement is down below.

21 thoughts on “The Video Game History Foundation has issued a statement on the closing of the Nintendo Wii U & 3DS eShops”

  1. Most of the games that won’t have easy access aren’t Nintendo’s and such they themselves don’t have the legal rights to determine what happens to them. There’s very few games that are considered loss from Nintendo and they still may end up showing up in the future. People just act that if a game skips even a generation for re-release that it will never get one. Even Star Fox 2 was made available eventually.

  2. What a scummy thing for them to do.

    This was a non-issue. You know who was buying old games on the Wii U marketplace? Nobody. Wii U digital sales fell off a cliff, years ago. Even now, the shop isn’t closed for awhile. Does anyone at all think that all these people complaining are going to rush out and start buying Wii U and 3DS eshop games? Really?

    Every digital marketplace eventually closes. Every time one does, there is content on it that loses availability either forever, or for a very long time. This is not new. It happens on a constant basis. Not only is it not knew, but it is a known factor in advance. Nobody thought the day the Wii U marketplace went up that Nintendo would be supporting it until the heat death of the universe. The only reason, the only reason, anyone is complaining about it now, is because they don’t like the Nintendo online membership. Well that’s fine. The membership is not great. That doesn’t excuse lying through your teeth on an only tangentially related service to try and whip up negative PR over a fake issue.

    Do gamers really care that the eshop is closing? I’ll believe it when I see the announcement of the massive sales spikes in eshop games.

    1. I still by games on the e shop 🥺 looks like I gotta pick up the pace to get all the ones I want and keep installed to my hard drive.. it’s also a good reminder of why digital is bollocks

    2. “The only reason, the only reason, anyone is complaining about it now, is because they don’t like the Nintendo online membership.”

      lol, no it’s not. It’s because people like to be able to play their video games. There are plenty of video games on the Wii U eShop that don’t have physical versions to play them on, and there are plenty of people who don’t even have the original hardware to play the older games on. Both eShops offered an ease of access to those libraries, and within a moment they’re going to be gone forever. This isn’t just a virtual console thing either. Once the 3DS eShop is gone there will be no way to download DLC for games anymore, and there are thousands of DLC for games that you won’t ever be able to access if you don’t buy it now. This includes first party with Smash Bros by the way.

      This isn’t a “fake issue”, this is a real issue. I’m fine with digital stores closing due to whatever issues arise behind the scenes to keep them up and running, but they need to offer real solutions and ways to purchase their content that will be lost with the closure of the old store.

      What’s doubly dumbfounding is Nintendo’s stance on piracy and this blatant disregard to digital content distribution. These two stances are at complete odds with one another in terms of how they affect the actions of their fans. The issue with preserving DLC won’t be an issue for fans because this will entice them to dump those files and distribute them to other fans, but Nintendo hates that kind of distribution with a passion. So what solution are they going to offer to prevent this? DMCAs? Suing fans? Making their fans hate them because they have ass backwards mentality on how to distribute digital content is bad PR no ifs, ands, or buts. The closure of the eShop will not illicit anything but bad feelings in the long term unless they offer solutions on their current hardware, but Nintendo won’t do that.

      To circle back to the main point, people don’t hate decisions Nintendo makes because they don’t want to spend their money on certain things. If it’s a good price, affordable, and easy to access people will spend their money on it. Otherwise expect fans to turn to the seven seas and join the Great Age of Piracy. Maybe the higher ups at Nintendo are actually huge One Piece fans afterall

      1. Yep, exactly. I was pretty upset when Sony announced they were going to close down the PS3 online store because there were still games that I wanted to try and haven’t gotten around to it yet, and luckily they backtracked on it. Him saying certain games being inaccessible is a nonissue just because the store will inevitably close one day is… well calling it idiotic would be putting it nicely.

      2. “Wii U digital sales fell off a cliff, years ago. Even now, the shop isn’t closed for awhile. Does anyone at all think that all these people complaining are going to rush out and start buying Wii U and 3DS eshop games? Really?”

        I mean, Metroid Fusion and Metroid: Zero Mission sales spiked on Wii U once Dread released. Almost like a new game in a series sparked interest for people who had never played the previous games.

      3. There’s no legitimate reason to close the storefront. “Every digital marketplace eventually closes” — that’s often been the case in the past, but times and technology have changed, and this practice is no longer justifiable. Modern virtualized server architectures lend themselves to a flexibility, scalability, and interoperability; meanwhile, the cost to store and maintain the actual data only gets cheaper with each passing year. Preserving access to the full Wii U and 3DS libraries indefinitely is an increasingly negligible drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of Nintendo’s server expenses.

        But make no mistake, this decision wasn’t made to pinch pennies, it’s about long-term psychological manipulation of the market. Put all these titles “in the vault,” do everything possible to deprive people of legitimate access for 5-10 years, then bring them back out at an exaggerated price or for a limited time (or as “value added” to a barely-functional online service) and act like you’re doing everyone a huge favor. It’s one of the central pillars of Nintendo’s business strategy in the Switch era, because they’ve shifted from viewing their core customer base as people, to something more akin to livestock.

      1. You’d better hope that 3DS never breaks then. It’s gonna be quite some time before 3DS games get put on to other systems, and I doubt that we’ll get many 3DS remasters like when we got Miitopia on the Switch

      2. I wish PokĂ©mon X and Y were sent to the Switch. I guess it will in 15 or 20 years because that’s how Nintendo is. They wait 15 to 20 years to get a game done.

        1. You do (of course you actually don’t) realize that Nintendo doesn’t make the Pokemon games- Game Freak and The Pokemon Company do. Nintendo just helps publish them on their consoles.

          Also why are you even talking about new video game sequels on this post when the topic is PRESERVING OLD GAMES, and how so many are at risk of disappearing leaving the only way to obtain them past a certain point is through illegal emulation.

          1. the distinction between Game Freak and Nintendo is kinda moot for a few keys reasons:
            1. Practically speaking and in layman’s terms, Nintendo owns The Pokemon Company and the Pokemon brand;
            2. Nintendo promotes and signal-boosts Game Freak’s marketing, lies and all;
            3. Game Freak’s greed, lack of ambition, lack of technical competence, and general scumbagginess are increasingly coming to describe Nintendo generally.

        2. Capcom really needs to release that Ace Attorney 4 – 6 collection they’ve considered doing. I’m afraid of my 3DS breaking and not really having a good way to play Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice, and I don’t really like playing anything on a smartphone.

        3. If these are going to close up then there should be another new way to access what would become inaccessible. We saw this happen with the Wii Shop Channel closure three years ago- so many WiiWare gems like LIT, FAST Racing League, and WarioWare D.I.Y. Showcase (I unfortunately forgot to buy this on my second Wii before the closure), now impossible to get legitimately.

        4. They’re right about everything, except to insinuate that there was a “business reality” that lends legitimacy to Nintendo’s decision.

          Modern virtualized server architectures lend themselves to a flexibility, scalability, and interoperability; a single physical server box can easily respond to eShop requests from 3DS, Wii U, or Switch, and overall server resources can be allocated between the three platforms dynamically in proportion to usage/need. Meanwhile, the cost to store and maintain the actual data only gets cheaper with each passing year. Preserving access to the full Wii U and 3DS libraries indefinitely is an increasingly negligible drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of Nintendo’s server expenses.

          Most likely, this decision isn’t about penny-pinching, but rather part of Nintendo’s broader strategy of long-term psychological manipulation of its market. Put all these titles “in the vault,” do everything possible to deprive people of legitimate access for 5-10 years, then bring them back out at an exaggerated price and/or for a limited time (or as “value added” to a barely-functional online service) and act like you’re doing everyone a huge favor.

        5. We need public (digital, or possibly in person) video game libraries where people can rent old games for free without having to pirate. We libraries for books, which also have music and movies. Maybe libraries can get arcade cabinets or machines that have games built in. Or with a library account you can log in online and play old games that aren’t readily available for purchase.

          Whatever the solution, it will probably have to be done through government legislation, as we can’t expect coorporations to do the right thing. Need to get the law on the consumer side, for videogames, and basically everything else.

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