Nintendo eShop Pre-Purchase and Pre-Load FAQ (Nintendo 3DS family and Wii U)
Certain games are available for pre-purchase on Nintendo eShop prior to their release date.
When you pre-purchase a game, a non-playable version of the game will be pre-loaded to your system at the time of your order.
You'll be able to start playing it after downloading a small update, beginning on the game's release date.
Note: The information in this article applies to Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. For information on how to pre-order games or DLC for Nintendo Switch, see our Nintendo eShop Pre-Order FAQ (Nintendo Switch).
How do I pre-purchase a game?
To pre-purchase an applicable game, locate your game on the official Nintendo website or on your system's Nintendo eShop. Select "Pre-purchase" and follow the on-screen steps to make your purchase. The game will be pre-loaded to your system at the time of your order. You'll be able to start playing it after downloading a small update, beginning on the game's release date.
Please note that you will need a Nintendo Account with a linked Nintendo Network ID to purchase Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games through the official Nintendo website.
For additional information about this process, please click here.
Can I pre-load a game if I purchased a download code from a retailer?
For select titles that are pre-load enabled, once you redeem a download code on Nintendo eShop, a non-playable version of the game can be pre-loaded onto your hardware. You'll be ready to play after downloading and installing a small game update when you launch the game on its release date.
When will I be charged?
The full amount of the purchase will be deducted from your Nintendo eShop balance when you place your order. If you don't have enough funds, you can use a Nintendo eShop Card, credit card or PayPal to add more.
What is the refund policy for software pre-purchased on Nintendo eShop?
All sales are final. Please be sure that you meet all of the download requirements for your game before you place your order.
For additional information, please see the Purchase Terms in the Nintendo Account Agreement.
What happens when a game is pre-loaded?
A non-playable version of the game will be pre-loaded to your system at the time of your order. You'll see an icon for the game on your HOME menu, but you will not be able to launch the game until it is officially released. You'll be able to start playing after downloading a small update on the game's release date.
How do I get the software update that unlocks the game on the release date?
As long as your Switch console, Wii U console or Nintendo 3DS family system is connected to the Internet, you will be prompted to download the update data once you launch the game. Additionally, if you have your console in standby or sleep mode and connected online, the update data will download and install automatically.