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Nintendo is scrapping 3DS and Wii U online support

Online play is being kicked to the curb but StreetPass will live on forever (or at least, for now).

Chris Kerr, News Editor

January 24, 2024

2 Min Read
The Wii U and 3DS on a stylised background
Image via Nintendo

Nintendo is axing online support for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U at 4pm PDT on April 8, 2024.

That means console owners won't be able to play online titles or access other features that use "online communication," including online co-op, internet rankings, and data distribution.

The move will impact the entire Wii U and 3DS family of consoles. The only online services that will remain accessible on those platforms are Pokemon Bank and Poke Transporter.

In an FAQ posted on the Nintendo of America website, the company noted it'll still be possible to download software updates, redownload purchases through the Nintendo eShop, and play offline.

"With some exceptions, online services will end for all Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software. Please contact publishers for information about the online services for their software," added the company. 

StreetPass will remain unaffected by the move, as it relies on local communication between 3DS systems. SpotPass, which allows 3DS owners to detect wireless hotspots or access points to obtain information, game data, and free software, will no longer be supported.

"You will be able to use StreetPass in StreetPass Mii Plaza, which is pre-installed on Nintendo 3DS family systems, but you will no longer be able to use features that use online communication (such as receiving new panels in Puzzle Swap)," clarified Nintendo.

As has become standard when Nintendo announces these changes, the firm said it could end other Wii U and 3DS services earlier than planned if "an event occurs that would make it difficult to continue" offering support.

The online shutdown will take effect just over a year after Nintendo closed the 3DS and Wii U eShop, preventing owners from making new purchases on those platforms. When breaking the news in February last year, the company got a little tetchy about what the closure meant for game preservation and said it would still be offering "classic content" on other systems. 

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About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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