It's with a heavy heart that we have to tell you that the Wii Shop Channel will be shutting down on January 31, 2019. Users will no longer be able to add Wii Points to their account from March 26, 2018.
Thankfully, it will still be possible to re-download purchased WiiWare and Virtual Console titles, then transfer them to the Wii U using the Wii System Transfer feature, but Nintendo notes that this functionality will also cease to work in 2019, so get it done sooner rather than later. Nintendo has said it will provide exact timing on when redownloads will be disabled in the future.
"In 2019, we will close the Wii Shop Channel used on Wii and Wii U (the Wii Shop Channel is accessible on the Wii U via the Wii backwards compatibility feature), which has been available since December 2006," Nintendo said in a statement. "We would like to thank our loyal customers for supporting the Wii Shop Channel, and would like them to continue to enjoy software downloaded from the shop."
Of course, WiiWare and Virtual console games will be playable on the Wii and Wii U as long as they are on the system's memory. But if they are deleted, there's no guarantee you'll be able to reacquire them after the transfer support ends.
The Wii Shop Channel has given us many wonderful digital and classic games to play over the years. However, arguably its lasting legacy will be the absolutely delightful menu music that plays while using it. This jaunty little ditty is undoubtedly among the best system-level music ever included in a console, and it's sad there will be a time when we won't be able to hear it in its purest form.
Nintendo's latest platform, Switch, uses the Eshop for all its digital game delivery. Fans have been clamoring for news on whether Nintendo will introduce a Virtual Console-like system for classic games, however, the company hasn't provided any concrete details as of yet.
Nintendo is bringing ports of classic arcade games to Switch as Arcade Archives. During a recent Nintendo Direct event it showed off Mario Bros., Vs. Balloon Fight, Vs. Ice Climber, Vs. Pinball, and Vs. Clu Clu Land. The first of the Arcade Archives collection, Mario Bros., is out now for $8/£6.29.