Nintendo Announces Planned Closure of Wii Shop Channel

If you have Wii Points to spend, or if there are Wii games you want to download, make sure to take action while you still can.

19

Nintendo has announced it will close the Wii Shop Channel on January 30, 2019. The service, which allows gamers to purchase digital titles that aren’t available in stores, was originally introduced in December of 2006, shortly after the mid-November launch of the Wii console itself.

Word came in the form of two separate announcements, one from Nintendo of America and one on the UK site.

Nintendo notes you will be able to add Wii Points, the currency required to purchase games on the Wii Shop channel, through March 26, 2018. You can add that currency using a credit card, or perhaps an old points card you might still have lying around after purchasing it from a retailer. Wii Points are separate from any Nintendo eShop points you may have recently obtained to use with the Nintendo eShop. Consumers are unable to refund Wii Points purchases or convert them to the new currency. Once that date passes, they are functionally worthless.

“Now that customers have shifted to Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS family systems, we plan to focus our efforts in those areas,” Nintendo noted in its official Q&A. “As such, the Wii Shop Channel will close in 2019 after over twelve years of operation. We sincerely thank our loyal customers for supporting the Wii Shop Channel on their Wii systems.”

The Wii Shop Channel includes Virtual Console titles, services such as Netflix and Hulu, and original “WiiWare” content from Nintendo and third parties. There are hundreds of games available. You can currently transfer most Wii software to a Wii U, using the provided transfer tool, but Nintendo warns that capability will be removed at some point in the future.

If you already have a large library of Wii Shop Channel software, note that it’s safe for now but not indefinitely. You can redownload any software you already own, even after the announced deadline, but that option “will also stop at some point.” Nintendo promises to announce specific details when that time draws closer.

As time marches on, older digital titles run the risk of disappearing forever. Numerous WiiWare titles have made the move to Wii U, and most Virtual Console titles are also available on the newer hardware, but there are some experiences that will simply cease to exist. This is not a new concept. Nintendo shut down its Wi-Fi Connection service for Wii and DS games in 2014 (see the video embedded above for details), and stopped selling certain titles for the latter hardware earlier this year. Microsoft is also working to pull a slew of Xbox 360 indie titles from its online shop. Still, such developments are distressing for those who are interested in seeing gaming history preserved. Are there any WiiWare titles you plan to purchase before they go away?

Contributing Editor

Filed Under

From The Chatty

  • reply
    September 29, 2017 11:23 AM

    Jason Venter posted a new article, Nintendo Announces Planned Closure of Wii Shop Channel

    • reply
      September 29, 2017 11:31 AM

      Boo, but understandable.

    • reply
      September 29, 2017 12:01 PM

      I still miss the News Channel. Underrated feature.

    • reply
      September 29, 2017 12:05 PM

      i'm disappointed that the amazing Wii Shop song will be going away.

      • reply
        September 29, 2017 1:18 PM

        It will live on forever in our hearts.

    • reply
      September 29, 2017 12:24 PM

      This sucks. No interest in preserving game history by any of the major publishers. They're fine with them fading away, only playable by people who downloaded them a long time ago. And you better hope your SD card or NAND memory doesn't corrupt.

      • reply
        September 29, 2017 12:46 PM

        You can copy everything to a computer, then initialize another sd card on the Wii and copy everything back. It's also been hacked to hell so you can likely get whatever you want so long as you have a valid Wii.

        • reply
          September 29, 2017 1:26 PM

          Yeah, this is all true for Wii. I still think they should either find a way to keep to the store up, or transfer it to a third party that can maintain it. Because now after Jan 2019, your Wii is stuck with what it has for eternity, at least officially. I'm not sure if we can always rely on hacks to preserve games history. Just look at how long it's taking the PS1 to get an SD loader.

      • reply
        September 29, 2017 12:54 PM

        That's one of the reasons I really dislike Nintendo

        • reply
          September 29, 2017 2:38 PM

          can you still download games you bought on the original xbox? Genuinely curious

          • reply
            September 29, 2017 7:33 PM

            The OG didn’t have a digital store from what I remember. But the ones ported like halo CE yes you can.

      • reply
        September 29, 2017 1:41 PM

        Microsoft is doing it though. They win hands down in terms of online, BC and game sharing. Nintendo is WAY behind in both of those. Their online is a disgrace and so is their constant milking of old games, expecting you to pay over and over again.

        • reply
          September 29, 2017 1:50 PM

          They (MS) have been actively working on it for two full generations now. I think it was part of the really smart move of virtualizing the OS, it lets you write a whole 'nother OS to emulate previous hardware for BC. I think Nintendo will get there, but it's probably going to be another generation or two before they're caught up to where MS is now, and even then it'll likely be a bit janky.

          • reply
            September 29, 2017 2:43 PM

            No excuse for such shitty online though. It’s literally worse then the original Xbox

    • reply
      September 29, 2017 1:45 PM

      So man virtual console games that only exist on the Wii

      • reply
        September 29, 2017 2:13 PM

        And there were some very cool WiiWare games, like the ReBirth games from Konami

        • reply
          September 29, 2017 2:18 PM

          Contra rebirth was a top notch Contra game. It may even be one of the top three in the franchise and it's a shame that it will forever languish on that piece of shit platform.

      • reply
        September 29, 2017 2:45 PM

        Wii virtual console is the best. Best emulation (on a console) for the most part and an insane selection of games. Crossing fingers that the emulation on Switch will be as good or better, emulation on Wii U was awful outside of SNES. I'm not expecting nearly as many games, but we'll see.

        • reply
          September 29, 2017 2:46 PM

          Every game that was at least emulated should really exist on the new platform. It really sucks to lose all those TurboGrafx 16 games for example.

          It's also frustrating that Nintendo has not talked at all about their Switch plans.

          • reply
            September 29, 2017 3:52 PM

            It should exist, question is if Nintendo is going to put the resources into doing it. I reckon they based their VC strategy on how well it did on Wii.

            Note that the Wii sold 100 million units and out of the gate the VC had loads of obscure shit (TG16, Sin & Punishment, etc). Within that userbase they know what they sold of those niche TG16, Genesis, N64, etc games. Based on what they did with future consoles I have to assume that those obscure games probably didn't sell enough for them to justify putting future resources into.

            Now, they're probably overreacting in the other direction but I have to assume that VC on Wii U and 3DS was scaled back from what was on Wii because of sales. If VC happens on Switch I'll be thrilled if it is as comprehensive and broad as what was on Wii, but I won't be surprised if its mostly limited to sure-fire NES/SNES/N64 classics.

            Were Genesis games even on Wii U? There were a few 3D Genesis remakes and some Game Gear games on 3DS but I can't think of much else.

            • reply
              September 30, 2017 1:12 PM

              Nintendo has recently been bringing a lot of the TurboGrafx-16 stuff to Wii U (the same games that were available on Wii), so I wouldn't be surprised if by the time that's done, almost every Virtual Console game that hit the Wii makes it to Wii U. I don't know about Genesis stuff, though, and most everything from Square/Enix/Taito looks like it might never make the trip. I can only assume that's Square Enix's doing, though. They didn't seem to think much of the North American market for the Wii U's duration.