Nintendo has announced plans to discontinue the vast majority of remaining online services for the Wii U and 3DS in spring 2024, marking the final sunset of support for the ageing consoles. This follows the closure of the eShop digital stores for both platforms in March 2023 as Nintendo winds down their capabilities.
Affects Multiplayer, Leaderboards, SpotPass
The shutdown will include ending online multiplayer, data sharing, leaderboards, and the SpotPass passive update system across the two devices. Nintendo intends to share the specific shutdown date in early 2024 and warns they may need to discontinue services earlier if maintaining them becomes unfeasible.
Still, users will continue to have access to re-downloading purchased games and DLCs “for the foreseeable future” according to Nintendo. Local wireless functionality like StreetPass will also remain active. The Pokemon Bank storage service will additionally stay online post-shutdown on 3DS, having been made permanently free to use after the eShop closure.
The termination of online multiplayer and networked features has long been expected as Nintendo declared its plan to sunset Wii U and 3DS support years ago. Gradual discontinuation of specific apps and services has occurred since then, culminating now in a complete severing of most online ties.
This mirrors the process in 2014 when Nintendo ended all online functionality for the Wii and DS consoles. At the time, the shutdown preceded the upcoming launch of the 3DS XL to usher players towards the newer handheld. Interesting rumours suggest a successor to the Switch could release around Spring 2024 as well. This is to be taken with a pinch of salt though and official confirmation will need to be addressed at some point.
While unfortunate, shutting down outdated online infrastructure is inevitable to push players to current platforms. And Nintendo has provided ample notice to transition fans towards Switch before pulling the plug. Players can still experience the many excellent local and single-player experiences on Wii U and 3DS for years to come.
For games depending heavily on online connectivity, the shutdown will severely limit long-term enjoyment and preservation. Nintendo could mitigate this by integrating more legacy Virtual Console support into Switch Online. Until then, gaming history enthusiasts should chronicle and archive as much of the Wii U and 3DS’ exemplary libraries as possible.
With the end now in sight, the legacy of groundbreaking stereoscopic 3D showcased by the 3DS and the underrated creativity of the Wii U GamePad controller deserve appreciation. By properly announcing the conclusion of their online era, Nintendo has given fans time for a graceful goodbye. While future gaming moves on, these consoles showed innovation still possible in familiar packages.
Source – Nintendo
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Stephen is the proud owner of a popular gaming news website GLN, where he provides the latest updates on everything gaming-related. With a passion for video games that dates back to his childhood, Stephen is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and expertise with fellow gamers around the world.