Subscribe To When The Wii Shop Channel Will Cease Operations Updates
Nintendo supports a lot of its older hardware and software for quite some time. In fact, the original Wii Shop Channel on the eShop is still up and available, despite the fact that the Wii released a whole 11 years ago. Well, the Big N won't be keeping the shop channel for the motion-controlled gaming console open for too much longer... if you don't consider January, 2019 to be "too much longer."
You'll still be able to use those points that you've acquired to pick up Virtual Console titles for the Wii, along with WiiWare games. For unused points or those purchased with a prepaid card, Nintendo has plans on refunding those following the closing of the Wii Shop Channel, but details on how to get a refund were not disclosed at this moment. The company has plans on sending the announcement soon, though.
Now, if you're worried about your digital purchases, you'll still be able to re-download all your games that you've already purchased from the eShop, including both Virtual Console titles and WiiWare games.
Additionally, Wii owners will still be able to make use of the Wii system transfer that allows gamers to move content from the Wii to the Wii U. So if you're one of those rare people with a Wii U in your possession, you can move over your Wii content to the Wii U. Gematsu notes that eventually these secondary services for the Wii will eventually be shutdown as well, and at that point you will no longer be able to re-download your games to a Wii console. This means that you'll most definitely want to download all your WiiWare and Virtual Console games now before it's too late.
Obviously, even with a two year heads-up before the Wii Shop Channel closes for good, a lot of gamers are still absolutely unimpressed with the whole digital landscape of buying games since, one day, the service will shutdown and you will lose all of those digital purchases.
It's exceptionally frightening for a lot of big AAA games (even those released on physical disc) that require day-one patches just to operate or an online handshake before you can play. Once those servers go down for good the game is lost to time.
Organizations like the EFF have been attempting to advocate on behalf of emulation as a means of preservation for some types of games that can no longer be purchased physically and are no longer available digitally. But the digital landscape is always going to suffer from this particular problem.
However, in Nintendo's case this could be remedied if the company decides to open up the Virtual Console for the Nintendo Switch, which is something gamers have been clamoring for since the console's announcement. If the Switch does receive Virtual Console support, then it could easily make up for the Wii's channel being brought to a close on the eShop.