Until today, it was possible to download a digital copy of the Nintendo strategy game Pikmin 3 on the Wii U’s aging but still functional digital storefront, aka eShop. But after Nintendo announced yesterday that an updated version of Pikmin 3 would be coming to Switch in October, the website Nintendo Everything noticed the company took Pikmin 3 down from the eShop. You can re-download the copy you already own or buy a physical disc, but you can no longer purchase Pikmin 3 on the eShop because, apparently, there’s a Switch version.
Nintendo did not respond to a request for comment by VICE Games, as of this writing.
VICE Games verified Pikmin 3 was no longer listed on the eShop, but you can, if you want, still purchase Pikmin 1 and Pikmin 2. A specific search for Pikmin 3 only brings up a Nintendo Direct presentation from 2012, when the Wii U version of Pikmin 3 was announced.
Nintendo presents itself as a fun-loving video game company that is also your friend, but it is, at the end of the day, an entity designed to make money. Nintendo today reported a 428 percent profit surge, because so many people are playing games during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no company more aggressive about taking down ROMs (digital copies of old games). There are few companies happier to sell new copies of games you already own.
Which means, perhaps, an easy explanation for this change! Pikmin 3 Deluxe for Switch, an upgraded version of the game with some new content, will cost $60 when it arrives on October 30. Pikmin 3 on Wii U, still a perfectly playable version of Pikmin 3, costs only $20.
For the moment, it appears you can still buy digital codes from retailers like Amazon.
Again, if you’ve already purchased Pikmin 3 for the Wii U digitally, it still works. I asked some VICE Games readers to test this out on their own Wii U and everything seemed in order:
Another wrinkle: Nintendo also removed every piece of Pikmin 3 downloadable content from the eShop. So if you own a copy of Pikmin 3 for Wii U, either digitally or physically, if you haven’t already purchased the game’s DLC, you are now out of luck. It’s all vanished.
“If they had even given folks a 24-hours warning that would have been sufficient for me to go in and scoop it [the DLC] up,” said one user on Twitter with a copy of the game on Wii U.
This is not the first time Nintendo has pulled the same anti-consumer move. After announcing a port of Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze for the Switch, Nintendo also took down the game from the Wii U’s eShop. The change happened just weeks before the port arrived.
No surprise, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze cost more to purchase on Switch.