The Wii Shop Channel closes its doors, leaving hundreds of games out to pasture

The Nintendo Wii Shop Channel shuts down today, January 30. As a result of the digital distribution platform shutting down, hundreds of games are no longer available for purchase. The Wii Shop closure is a major blow to games preservationists and game players alike.

Nintendo announced that the Wii Shop Channel would close today way back in September 2017. The Wii Shop’s closure also means that redownloading purchased games will no longer be possible. The console’s entire lineup of digital-only games — WiiWare titles, its Virtual Console lineup, and countless other games and services — are being put out to pasture. Many WiiWare titles never released on other systems, nor did they have physical releases. Similarly, while some Virtual Console games have made it to other platforms, hundreds of others have never been released digitally elsewhere.

The Wii Shop Channel became a treasure trove of unique indie games and classic titles from the NES and SNES, among others. Not only was it a gateway to different kinds of games, it was a great place for game preservation. Dozens of old, cartridge-based games that have either become incredibly expensive to buy physically or immensely rare were available on the cheap for millions to enjoy. The loss of the Wii Shop is a huge obstacle to playing some old games.

Wii Points became unavailable to purchase back in March 2018, although content was purchasable through today. The Wii Shop opened its doors in December 2006, a little over a month after the Wii came out. Its closure comes just over a dozen years and two consoles later.

The Wii U, while a commercial flop, allowed users to access and play Wii and WiiWare games. Nintendo’s Switch broke the backward compatibility streak, as it moved to different system architecture. That being said, the Switch has also sold like gangbusters and is slowly introducing a lineup of classic games through Nintendo Switch Online’s NES portal.

Let’s listen to the Wii Shop Channel song, just one last time.