Home Gaming

Is Pokémon Bank shutting down alongside online Nintendo 3DS services?

With the 3DS going offline, is it the end for transferring Pokémon between gens?

Image via TV Tokyo

The Nintendo 3DS has now been on shelves for 12 years, but even with the absolute dominance of its successor the Switch, there’s still some life in the old girl yet. There’s a whole bunch of exclusive titles that have never left the platform, including heavy hitters in the Mario, Zelda and Fire Emblem franchises. But, just as with every other Nintendo handheld, for many the 3DS was a Pokémon machine.

Recommended Videos

Pokémon X & Y and Sun & Moon debuted on the platform, and its backwards compatibility with the Nintendo DS means Diamond and Pearl and Black & White are playable on it. Beyond that, Red, Blue Yellow, Gold, Silver, and Crystal are available on the virtual console.

All of these games are compatible with Nintendo’s Pokémon Bank and Poké Transporter online service, which allows you to transfer your favorite Pokémon between games. But there’s a Cutiefly in the ointment, as in early April 2024 Nintendo will shut down the 3DS online service. So, if Pokémon Bank is part of that, is it the end for this feature on the handheld?

A run on the Pokémon Bank?

Image via The Pokémon Company

We’re pleased to report that The Pokémon Company has confirmed that the Pokémon Bank isn’t going anywhere. The company has revealed that despite every other bit of online functionality going the way of the dodo, the Bank will remain open for now.

However, maybe don’t pop the champagne just yet. The announcement came with a note that support “may end at some point in the future,” and an ominous bit of advice to do it “at your earliest convenience”.

Pokemon Bank announcement
Image via X

The service could stop in a decade’s time or a year, so we advise transferring any Pokémon you want to keep around into the bank as soon as possible. That said, even if the 3DS service is eventually turned off, the Pokémon Bank itself will almost certainly stick around for good and be compatible with all future mainline titles.

Beyond that, it seems that the distant future will see Pokémon from older generations marooned on the cartridges they were captured on. That dark future may be a long way away yet, but it’s best to enjoy the feature now while it’s still active.

Sadly you can’t transfer every Pokémon from older games into Scarlet & Violet as it doesn’t have the full Pokédex, but the majority of the most popular creatures are here. This means it’s possible to choose a Charmander from the virtual console version of Pokémon Red, and transport it across a quarter century of technology into the newest game.