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Nintendo Announces Discontinuation Of Online Services For 3DS And Wii U. What It Really Mean

Nintendo Announce Discontinuation Of Online Services For Nintendo 3DS And Wii U

A few days 2K Games, the makers of the WWE 2K franchise announced that it would shut down servers for WWE 2K22. That announcement was met with backlash from furious gamers. This time around the focus has shifted to Nintendo.

Nintendo Wii U
Photo credit: Nintendo

The company announced through a post on its support page that it will shut down online services for Nintendo 3DS (including software exclusive to the New Nintendo 3DS) and Wii U software.

“In early April 2024, online play and other functionality that uses online communication will end for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software,” read part of the message. “This also includes online cooperative play, internet rankings, and data distribution.

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Although the company mentioned that the shutdown will happen sometime in early April 2024, the specific date will be revealed subsequently. However, the company warned that if there are unforeseen events that may make it difficult to continue the online services for both Wii U and 3DS, they may be forced to pull the plug earlier than planned.

The company thanked players “for using the online services of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software over a long period of time and apologize for any inconvenience”. The video game giant also used the medium to answer some of the nagging concerns of gamers.

Back in March, Nintendo shut the eShops for both the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. That did not stop players from using in-game online services like rankings and online multiplayer.

What the shutting down of online services mean to Nintendo 3DS and Wii U users

Nintendo 3DS
Photo credit: IGN

When Nintendo finally shuts down the online services for the platforms, players will no longer be able to use the ranking and online multiplayer feature. However, that doesn’t mean you should throw your consoles into the trash can.

You can still play all your downloaded games offline—if they don’t require online communication. In other words, all games on the platform that need you to connect to the Internet to play will be rendered unplayable.

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Nintendo suggested that players may still be able to use some online services like Pokémon Bank (the cloud storage service launched in 2013) and Poké Transporter. However, they warned that those services may also be terminated in the future. Some publishers may still offer online services—but these are a few exceptions.

Transfering to transfer pokemon

What we found interesting in the development is that Nintendo has confirmed that, “For the foreseeable future, it will still be possible [for gamers] to download update, and redownload purchased software and downloadable content from Nintendo eShop”.

StreetPass will remain functional

Even after the termination of online services—whenever that eventually happens—StreetPass will still be available because it makes use of “local communication between Nintendo 3DS family systems”. Therefore, players can still use StreetPass in StreetPass Mii Plaza pre-installed on the Nintendo 3DS family system.

Nintendo 3DS pack

SpotPass, on the other hand, will cease to function as soon as the online services are shut down because it uses online communication. Features like receiving new panels in Puzzle Swap will be affected.

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Sadly, the Nintendo Badge Arcade game that allows players to decorate their 3DS home menus with stickers grabbed using a virtual crane arm will also cease to exist. The company revealed that the data for the virtual badges will be stored on users’ SD cards.

Reactions trailing Nintendo announcement

Nintendo announcement on twitter

When the company shared the news on the X social media platform, a lot of people didn’t seem to care which may point to how unpopular Wii U and 3DS have become in recent years. However, the comment that caught our attention came from @Crzypengu who said, “Why does the Wii U have better online than the Switch,” the user wrote. “Why don’t you fix your servers before closing down others?”

Interestingly, some users also corroborated that notion with Zynex (@ImZeynex) saying, “Same for 3ds… like the online systems of the Pokemon games on Switch feel like small studios without servers having p2p and expecting a small player base… the 3ds had the best online system for the whole franchise without any issues”.

Reactions following the announcement that Nintendo was shutting Wii U and 3DS online servers
Screenshot: Gamebaba Universe/X

Nintendo Wii U was one of the worst-performing consoles in terms of sales numbers in the history of the company. Its production was discontinued in 2017, just about five years after its initial launch.

While it may seem like Nintendo wants to move away from the memories of that failure, the recent announcement further punches a dent in video game preservation. It is only a matter of time before most of the games on the platforms will become unattractive—and are eventually lost.

About 1,000 digital-only games were wiped off history when the eShop was shut down on March 27. More hands need to be on deck to improve video game conservation or it will only get worse.

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