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Nintendo's Wii Shop shuts down next week

The end of an era is upon us. According to Game Informer, we're just under a week away from the Wii Shop closing down, effectively ending all digital downloads for Nintendo's Wii console.

If there's something you don't have downloaded to your Wii, you have until Wednesday, Jan. 30 to do it. After that, kiss your Wii digital library goodbye.

It's safe to say we've now found the rub with buying things digitally. The Wii — and the Wii Shop — launched into the same generation that the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 did. But while the storefronts on those consoles are still very much supported, Nintendo has no issue pulling the plug on the Wii's version, which contains a vast collection of WiiWare titles, Virtual Console games, and apps. Sony or Microsoft would (rightfully) get raked over the coals for closing off the ability for gamers to access the digital products they paid for. Yet Nintendo's Wii Shop closure is largely flying under the radar.

Why is that?

Nintendo's decision, which goes into effect very soon but was announced ages ago, puts all of the company's digital offerings into question. It's the Wii Shop today. But if you're one of the few who purchased a Wii U, supporting a console that was undeniably Nintendo's least successful, you now have to wonder how long that store will remain online. And what of the Nintendo Switch? Sure, Nintendo is encouraging you to buy there today, and is hoping that you cram that 32 GB of storage full of Nintendo titles. But what happens ten years down the line when Nintendo has a new piece of hardware? Are your digital purchases safe?

It seems like Nintendo is getting to skate by on this because — unlike Sony and Microsoft — Nintendo managed to squeeze out three consoles in 12 years instead of two. But it still feels wrong that Nintendo can simply shut down support for digital games on an older console. The company isn't going out of business. The internet today works the same way it did back in 2006. There is really no excuse for this to fly. Yet here we are, six days away from watching the Wii Shop — and all of its content — go bye-bye.

The digital world offers a whole lot of benefits. This definitely isn't one of them.