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Do 3DS Digital Codes Still Work in 2023? The Ultimate Guide for Free Games and Downloads

The short answer is: Yes, Nintendo 3DS digital codes will still work until April 3, 2023. After this date, you will no longer be able to redeem any download codes on the 3DS eShop.

As an avid gamer and streaming enthusiast, I understand how important it is to take advantage of every opportunity to get free and discounted games. With the 3DS eShop closure looming, I wanted to provide a detailed guide to help fellow players maximize their remaining 3DS digital codes before it‘s too late.

In this 2300+ word guide, I‘ll cover everything you need to know as a 3DS owner, including:

How Digital Codes Work on the 3DS eShop

Digital codes provide a way to get free or discounted games and extras on the 3DS eShop without needing a credit card. Here‘s a quick overview of how they work:

  • Each code consists of a unique 16-digit combination of letters and numbers.
  • Codes can be redeemed directly on your 3DS system to download full games, DLC packs, themes, and more.
  • Most codes do not expire and can be redeemed at any time. Promotional codes may have shorter time limits.
  • There are no limits to how many codes you can redeem on a single 3DS.

So digital codes offer an easy way to build your 3DS library and take advantage of deals. Now let‘s talk about how you can use them before it‘s too late!

The End of 3DS Codes: Key Deadlines

To use your unused 3DS codes, it‘s essential to know these closing dates:

  • August 29, 2022 – The last day to add funds to your 3DS eShop account using eShop gift cards.
  • March 27, 2023 – The 3DS eShop will close permanently. No more purchases can be made.
  • April 3, 2023 – The final day to redeem any valid 3DS digital codes.

Mark these deadlines on your calendar! Any codes that are not redeemed by April 3rd will cease to function. Let‘s make sure to use them while we still can.

Where to Find 3DS Digital Codes

As an avid deal hunter and bargain shopper, I know where to look for the best digital codes. Here are some of my favorite sources:

  • Limited time promotions – Nintendo and publishers will offer exclusive codes during events and contests. Sign up for newsletters and watch social media to find them.
  • Pack-in codes – Physical 3DS games may come bundled with a digital code for extras or another full game. Check the box carefully.
  • Second-hand purchases – Buying pre-owned games often includes unused download codes you can redeem.
  • Retail discount bins – Check for discounted eShop cards or games with included codes at retail stores.
  • Online marketplaces – Sites like eBay reliably list unused digital codes for the 3DS. Research seller ratings.

With some persistence, you can stock up on download codes for much less than full eShop prices. Now let‘s look at how to safely find and purchase codes online.

Buying Cheap Codes Safely Online

One great option is looking for deals on unused 3DS codes online through marketplaces like eBay. Here are my tips for buying safely:

  • Vet the seller‘s profile and reviews for positive ratings. Avoid any red flags.
  • Only buy from sellers located in your 3DS region. Codes are region locked.
  • Check if the listing states "new/sealed" or "unused code". This verifies it should work.
  • Message the seller with any questions prior to purchase. Get confirmation it‘s unredeemed.
  • Use buyer protection programs in case the code doesn‘t work. Document your purchase.
  • Search thoroughly and compare listings to find the best discounted prices.
  • Avoid buying large batches of codes in one listing, as they may be more prone to fraud. Stick to reputable individual sellers.

With some discretion, you can score major deals on 3DS games and DLC with digital codes. Now let‘s go over how to efficiently redeem them.

Redeeming Digital Codes on the 3DS

The process for redeeming download codes directly on your 3DS is quick and easy:

  1. From the 3DS Home Menu, open the Nintendo eShop.
  2. Tap on the menu icon in the top left corner.
  3. Select "Redeem Download Code".
  4. Carefully enter the 16-digit code using the on-screen keyboard.
  5. Confirm the code looks correct and select OK.
  6. The content will begin downloading immediately, if available.

Be sure to input the code precisely as shown on the card or listing. Typos will result in an error. I recommend redeeming codes right away rather than saving them.

Tips for Redeeming Codes

Here are some of my handy tips for smoothly redeeming and using 3DS digital codes:

  • Take a clear photo or scan of each code when you acquire it as backup.
  • Triple check the code for accuracy before redeeming to avoid mistakes.
  • Try to redeem all unused codes ASAP instead of waiting.
  • Redeem any rare or exclusive codes first in case they expire sooner.
  • Don‘t throw away the code until you successfully redeem and download the content.
  • Bookmark the Redeem Code page on the eShop for quick access.

Following this advice can help avoid complications and ensure you utilize all of your eligible codes.

Downgrading Your 3DS Firmware Version

One advanced tip for tech-savvy users involves downgrading the 3DS firmware to access certain expired codes.

By installing an older firmware version, it may be possible to redeem codes that no longer work on the latest version. However, this process is complex:

  • Requires a 3DS that can install custom firmware. Check your model number.
  • Risks bricking your device if done improperly. Proceed with caution!
  • Violates Nintendo‘s terms of use. I do not recommend or endorse this.

The ability to install older firmware versions may disappear entirely after the eShop closure. Nonetheless, downgrading is not endorsed and comes with serious risks.

What Happens After the eShop Closes?

It‘s important to understand what happens once Nintendo shuts down the 3DS eShop forever after March 27, 2023:

  • All remaining balances in your eShop account will be lost. Nintendo does not provide refunds.
  • You can no longer make any game purchases or redeem codes. The eShop will cease to exist.
  • However, you will still be able re-download previously purchased games tied to your Nintendo Network ID indefinitely. Just no new purchases.
  • Any unused 3DS digital codes become permanently invalid and unusable. They will provide no value going forward.

So after the closure, your 3DS eShop access will essentially become "frozen" based on what you redeemed prior. Be sure to redeem and download everything you want before then!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here I‘ve compiled answers to some common questions about 3DS digital codes:

Do eShop codes expire?

Most normal game and DLC codes do not expire and will work until the eShop closure. However, limited-time promotional codes may expire sooner.

Can I still add funds to my 3DS eShop account?

Unfortunately, no. Nintendo ended support for eShop cards on August 29, 2022.

Are codes region locked?

Yes, 3DS codes are region locked. A North American 3DS cannot redeem a Japanese or European code.

Can I sell or trade my unused codes?

Yes, you can exchange unused 3DS codes until April 3, 2023. After that they will have no value.

What happens if I enter a code incorrectly?

You will receive an error message. Double check the code and re-enter it carefully. Contact the seller if issues persist.

Will games redeemed with codes still work after the eShop closes?

Yes! Any games redeemed with codes will remain tied to your NNID indefinitely for redownloading.

I hope this FAQ helps provide clarity on how 3DS digital codes function. Please reach out if you have any other questions!

In Conclusion

With the looming shutdown of the Nintendo 3DS eShop, now is the time to redeem any unused digital codes lingering in your collection. Follow this guide to maximize your 3DS game library before it‘s too late.

The key points to remember are:

  • 3DS codes will only work until April 3, 2023.
  • Stock up on discounted eShop codes via promos, packs-ins, and resellers.
  • Redeem all eligible codes ASAP by carefully entering them on your 3DS.
  • Re-download any previous eShop purchases before March 27, 2023.
  • Understand that any unused codes become worthless after the eShop closure.

I hope these tips help you secure some outstanding freebies and deals for your 3DS before code redemption expires. Game on!