Gamers with international tastes might not want to wait until the actual last chance to snag Japan-exclusive games.

For some time now, Nintendo’s strength hasn’t been in the bleeding-edge performance specs of its hardware, but the fun-to-play factor of its systems’ software. That translates to Nintendo consoles having the most enduringly popular retro libraries in the industry, but time marches on even for them, and the company has announced the closing of two systems’ eShops.

The 3DS and Wii U were Nintendo’s last stand-alone handheld and home consoles before the convergence brought about by the Switch. Though the 3DS and Wii U debuted nearly two years apart, in February of 2011 and November of 2012, respectively, their digital days will be coming to a simultaneous close on March 28 in Japan (and March 27 in the U.S., effectively the same day, due to the time difference). That’s when Nintendo will be ending eStore service for the 3DS and Wii U, meaning users will no longer be able to purchase or download new software for the two systems.

▼ Mr. Sato still has fond memories of the friends he made waiting in line all night to buy a Wii U (while cosplaying as a  Dragon Quest Slime, as he so often did in those days).

While March 28 is still several months away, there’s another date to be aware of if you’re a gamer with international tastes. At 1 p.m. on August 1, the Japanese Nintendo eStore will discontinue the ability to add money to the pre-paid balance of Nintendo Network IDs, which are used for online transactions for the 3DS and Wii U. While shoppers will still be able to purchase games using a credit card up until March 28, the Japanese Nintendo eShop generally requires credit card shoppers to use a card that was issued in Japan. So gamers outside Japan who want to buy games from the Japanese eShop (for example, if the game wasn’t released in other regions), often need to purchase a pre-paid eShop card to add to their Nintendo Network ID balance with the Japanese eShop, then use that pre-paid balance to purchase the game. With pre-paid Nintendo Network ID balance additions no longer allowed after August 30, though, you’ll want to charge up you account now if you want to continue using this procedure to buy Japanese games.

There is a workaround to that problem, though. The eShop allows you to combine a Nintendo Network ID with a Nintendo Account, as the newer user registration format for the Switch is called. Balance-adding for Nintendo Accounts will continue as usual even after the function is disabled for Nintendo Network IDs. The more hoops you have to jump through when navigating multi-country e-commerce registration, though, the more chances there are that one of those loopholes will close, so if there’re some old-school 3DS or Wii U downloads you’ve been eyeing, you might want to pick them up before the end of August. That goes double if you’re the owner of a 3DS or Wii U but not a Switch, and thus don’t have a Nintendo Account.

Also, Nintendo has put out an update statement to let everyone know that Fire Emblem if, as the Japanese version of Fire Emblem Fates is titled, will, for some mysterious reason, become unavailable for digital purchase at 9 a.m. on February 28, a full month before the rest of the 3DS eShop closes down.

▼ So bear that in mind if you wanted the “skinship” gameplay mechanic that was removed from the North American release.

Nintendo Japan says that after 9 a.m. on March 28, any unused Nintendo Network ID balances can be transferred to corresponding Nintendo Accounts, and that they’re also considering implementing a system of repaying unused amounts. Another silver lining is that support for online play for the 3DS and Wii U will continue, and Nintendo says you’ll still be able to redownload games you’ve already purchased for but deleted from your device even after March 28, although it cautions that eventually redownloading support will be shut down as well.

Source: Nintendo, Twitter/@nintendo_cs
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