RIP, Wii Shop Channel

A sad loss – Nintendo shuttered the Wii Shop Channel today. This was advertised well ahead of time; hopefully most people who care were able to retrieve and backup everything they wanted to. I haven’t powered my Wii up in quite some time, so likewise… hopefully I don’t have any gaps in my downloads. People are (rightfully) disappointed with Nintendo (I guess this is the first major console download marketplace to disappear?), but I don’t really think it’s sensible to focus our ire on Nintendo specifically – this is the nature of the download beast1.

Assuming one can readily dump downloads, then I suppose from an archive perspective the data can be passed around eternally. Beyond that, however, I fail to believe that any of these markets will outlive the silicon in a cartridge. It would surprise me if they outlived properly-stored optical media. I’m glad that a lot of Switch games are being released in both download and cartridge form – even indie titles via small-batch entities like Limited Run Games. Cartridges are still patched via downloads, and these patches are stored on the device (not the cartridge), so that could become its own issue, but the base game should stay functional for a very, very long time.

Anyway, nothing I’ve said here is particularly groundbreaking. It’s sad that the Wii Shop is no more, but… it was inevitable. One thing that has, fortunately, been archived: that lovely, lovely theme music.

  1. Not to mention the last networking-capable version being discontinued over five years ago. Which puts the dichotomy in perspective again: five years isn’t much of a thing for video game hobbyists/archivists, but it’s an eternity in tech. ↩︎