While the original Wii has been out of the loop for quite some time now, some if its services have still been living on up to this day. But, that will be changing soon enough. Nintendo has officially announced that the Wii Shop Channel will be closing down soon….well, if you count 2019 as being right around the corner.
The closure of the service will happen gradually. Users will be unable to add ‘Wii Shop Channel Points’ to their account as of March 26th, 2018. Purchasing content from the Shop will be disabled on January 31st, 2019. Finally, the Wii Shop Channel will be completely shut down later in 2019, to the point where users won’t even be able to redownload content.
The Nintendo Wii was a very simplistic system compared to that of the PS3 and 360. While those consoles were all about being media powerhouses with very large online infrastructures (Xbox Live and PlayStation Network), the Wii offered very little outside of gaming. Even so, it still had a few Internet treats. The star of the show was the Wii Shop Channel, an incredibly primitive but charming online store that housed the limited offerings that made up the Wii’s digital library.
Most Wii Shop Channel buyers paid the store a visit to download Virtual Console titles. While Virtual Console also came to the 3DS and Wii U (and will soon be coming to Switch), the Wii still has the largest library of the retro titles. In addition to the VC collection, the Wii Shop Channel also housed WiiWare games; the only original Wii games avaliable digitally (excluding Wii titles that have come to the Wii U eShop).
If there are any titles you’ve been meaning to grab from the Wii Shop Channel, now’s the time to do it. As an added note, this closure will also affect ‘Wii Mode’ on the Wii U (since that’s basically the same as an actual Wii console). Once the store closes, it will officially mark the end of the original Wii’s era. A 13-year lifespan; very impressive.
While the Wii Shop Channel was not nearly as robust as say Steam or the Xbox and PlayStation Stores, it was a pretty neat little online marketplace (that background music is still pretty snazzy). The biggest loss with all of this is that Wii Virtual Console and WiiWare titles will no longer be able to be legally purchased, unless Nintendo re-releases them on Switch.