Whenever a digital marketplace closes its doors, there are plenty of franchises and series in media that tend to lose a huge part of their identity. And, while The Pokémon Company promised its games wouldn’t suffer the same fate, it appears the key feature allowing players to transfer their Pokémon from past generations has already broken following the Nintendo 3DS eShop shutting down.
Earlier today both the 3DS and Wii U eShops were officially closed, leading to hundreds of games and applications becoming completely inaccessible to anyone who did not already download or purchase them beforehand.
This includes Pokémon Bank, the 3DS’ predecessor to Pokémon HOME players could use to store and transfer Pokémon between generations using the Poké Transporter.
Using Pokémon Bank was the only way to bring Pokémon onto the 3DS from games prior to X and Y, meaning using the service would allow players to bring older Pokémon over from Gens IV and V on the DS—which were also compatible with Gen III games on the Game Boy Advance.
Bank would later add the ability to transfer Pokémon in from the Virtual Console versions of Gen I and Gen II games, giving players access to seven different generations of Pokémon games on the 3DS alone using that app.
Pokémon Bank was a paid subscription, costing roughly $4.99 USD per year to access all of its storage and transfer features.
And, with the eventual release of Pokémon HOME in Feb. 2020, compatibility was added to let players send any of their Pokémon stored in Bank over to the newer app—connecting Gens I to VII to the same service Gen VIII and beyond were going to use.
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At the time of Scarlet and Violet’s release in Nov. 2022, using Bank in partnership with HOME was still the only way for players to have a complete National Pokédex on the Switch since not every Pokémon is available to catch on the system yet.
When Nintendo initially announced the 3DS eShop would be closing last February, Pokémon fans panicked because it looked as if that connectivity would be lost—removing the ability for players to bring along Pokémon they had been training since as early as 2002 in Ruby and Sapphire. TPC and Nintendo quickly responded to this by announcing Pokémon Bank and all of its features would remain active after the closure and the subscription service portion would even be removed, making Bank free to all users.
Despite that, when the eShop did cease operations at 7pm CT on March 27, players immediately went to test that Bank and its Poké Transporter app would still function. And, despite the promises made by the companies behind the app, it appears something broke once the switch was made as multiple users reported issues.
According to reports, a message telling players their Pokémon Bank pass—the paid subscription—has expired, rendering them unable to use the Transporter.
After doing some digging, fans discovered the issue was only popping up for anyone who did not have an active Pokémon Bank subscription when the eShop went down. This means most users, even those who did have an active subscription for multiple years, are likely locked out of the Transporter at this time due to some payment options on the 3DS being shut down or limited over the last year.
Unless The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, or one of its development partners resolve this error, anyone who did not have an active Pokémon Bank subscription at the time of the eShop closing will not be able to access the Transporter. As a result, this would keep them from transferring Pokémon from their DS or Virtual Console titles entirely.
As of now, TPC nor Nintendo has released a statement on this issue. Dot Esports has reached out to Nintendo for comment.