The Nintendo Wii was revolutionary not just because of its motion controls, but also because of its Wii Shop — a digital storefront where users could purchase digital Wii games as well as retro titles through the Virtual Console. But all good things must come to an end, and for the Wii Shop, that end is quickly approaching. The service will limit its services in early 2018, with a full shutdown coming the following year.
Beginning on March 26, 2018, Wii Shop users will no longer be able to add currency to their account, meaning that if you haven’t done so before that date, you won’t be able to buy anything ever again.
On January 31, 2019, you’ll no longer be able to buy anything from the Wii Shop regardless of your point balance. This includes WiiWare games, Virtual Console games, and even “Wii Channels.” Netflix is one of those channels, so make sure you have it on your console if you ever want to use it for streaming. At a later date in 2019, users will no longer be able to download anything they had previously purchased, as well.
For Wii U owners you’re also going to want to transfer any purchased Wii Shop software from your Wii to your Wii U, as well. The Wii U Transfer Tool will no longer be supported, meaning that any games you have on your Wii will have to stay on your Wii.
The news comes just after the launch of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System: SNES Classic Edition, which features a number of games currently available on the Wii Shop’s Virtual Console. These include Contra III: The Alien Wars, Super Castlevania IV, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country, and Final Fantasy III. Star Fox 2, which was originally canceled before its release in 1995, is also included.
Curiously, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t have a Virtual Console service, with only a limited number of classic games getting direct ports. Nintendo’s online subscription service kicks off in 2018 and will featured a library of NES and SNES games for players to use for an unlimited amount of time, but they won’t be able to purchase them outright if they decide to cancel the service.