With the booming release of the SNES Mini, a somber headline quietly sneaked in last Friday. Nintendo has confirmed that the Wii Shop Channel will discontinue in 2019. From an excerpt from their support page, the Wii Shop Channel will no longer be available on January 30, 2019. However, owners of the Wii and Wii Mini can still add funds before March 25, 2018 and purchase games until January 29, 2019.
This shutdown will impact the Virtual Console, a service allowing people to play classic video game titles on modern consoles. The reason for this has yet to be stated, but it may be linked to Nintendo moving away from its previous consoles and instead focus on the services for Nintendo Switch and 3DS systems. This will also affect the Wii System Transfer Tool, a 1st party program allowing users to move downloaded games from their Wii to their Wii U system.
While the Wii has seen better days compared to current generation consoles, it had an impressive catalogue of retro games no other system has achieved. The Virtual Console allows players to easily access titles on older systems without having to hunt for them. As of today, Nintendo has not announced plans for the Virtual Console on the Nintendo Switch, leaving the 3DS to sustain player’s desires for such games. Yet, the 3DS does not compare to the Wii in its scope on games (this list shows 200 titles that are only available on the Wii). While it has been proven that the 3DS can play games that aren’t on the Nintendo eShop, this loops back to the original issue that the Virtual Console solved. Especially with titles like Super Smash Brothers and Chrono Trigger, those games may become a thing of the past if Nintendo does not provide an alternative way to obtain those games.