Nintendo has surprise-announced the end of online service for its Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U consoles. From April 2024, online play and other functionality will cease for both consoles, with online co-operative play, internet rankings, and data distribution included in this shut down.
It follows the closure of the online Nintendo eShop for both consoles, which concluded service in March 2023. While online multiplayer functionality remained for a brief window, it now appears all services will end. Notably, this will render some titles unplayable – perhaps most significantly, the original Splatoon.
In its message, Nintendo has thanked fans for their support over the years, while indicating the planned 3DS and Wii U online service shut down may arrive earlier than expected, should particular circumstances occur.
“We will announce a specific end date and time at a later date. Please note that if an event occurs that would make it difficult to continue online services for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software, we may have to discontinue services earlier than planned,” Nintendo said. “We sincerely thank players for using the online services of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software over a long period of time and apologise for any inconvenience.”
Read: Nintendo dates the 3DS and Wii U eShop closures in 2023
As Nintendo makes clear, while most games will continue to function post-shut down, games requiring permanent internet connection and relying on online multiplayer will no longer have a server on which to run. Pokemon Bank will remain live – but this is the only game with online service that will remain, per a Nintendo FAQ.
Going forward, it will still be possible to download update data and redownload purchased software and downloadable content from Nintendo eShop, which is one small caveat for disappointed players.
In the case of the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo has clarified that StreetPass will remain functional, as it relies on local communication between Nintendo 3DS systems – but SpotPass will no longer be available, as this requires online communication.
“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).”
The official closure of the online service for the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U marks the closing of an essential era in Nintendo history. From April 2024, the final bell will ring for these iconic consoles, bringing down the curtain as Nintendo focusses on its next steps.