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Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Online Services to Shut in April 2024 UPDATE

Wednesday, Jan 24th, 2024 (2:41 pm) - Score 1,920

Global video gaming giant Nintendo has today confirmed the sad, albeit not entirely unexpected (they’ve hinted at it before), news that the online service underpinning their once hugely popular 3DS and Wii U consoles will finally be discontinued on 8th April 2024.

The change inevitably means that online play and other functionality that uses online communication will end for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software. “This also includes online co-operative play, internet rankings, and data distribution,” said Nintendo (here). The company also caveats they may have to “discontinue services earlier than planned” if some as yet unspecified “event occurs that would make it difficult to continue online services.”

NOTE: StreetPass uses local communication between Nintendo 3DS family systems, meaning that it will still be available even after online services end. But SpotPass uses online communication and will no longer be available.

The good news is that Nintendo aren’t going to stop customers from being able to download software updates for their games and the console OS, at least not yet. “For the foreseeable future, it will still be possible to download update data, and redownload purchased software and downloadable content from Nintendo eShop,” said Nintendo. But at some point, that will probably stop too, which is a useful reminder about the caveats of online content distribution.

Quite a few of us still use these consoles, so this will inevitably come as a bit of a blow for some. But players will of course still be able to use features and game modes that do not require online communication and, to be fair, quite a lot of games on the older consolers were more offline than online focused.

The bigger challenge will come when we start to see similar changes hitting more modern internet-centric systems, where a lack of online connectivity and access to digital content could be much more problematic. Credits to insertfloppydiskhere for the news tip (here).

UPDATE 3:33pm

Some readers may like to know about the Pretendo Network, which is described as being a free and open source replacement for Nintendo’s servers for both the 3DS and Wii U, allowing online connectivity for all, even after the original servers are discontinued. The catch is that you may need to hack your device a bit in order to connect, and the service is still an early work in progress.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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4 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    And this is the problem with Games consoles and is why the WII U will be the last one I ever buy./

    1. Avatar photo John says:

      A 13 year old console not having enough players to justify keeping an online platform isn’t really an argument against consoles

      Switch is great and tons of games are still coming out on the PS4 with all of them compatible with PS5

    2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      @John, I don;lt care how good switch is, or that they make games for the PS4 still, I will still never buy another game’s console.
      How long will the switch keep going for? You spend £250 or what ever it is for it, and then they bring out a new version and then all new games will not work on the old version as it has less memory or a slower CPU or something like that.
      Twice bitten, three times shy.

      I will stick to my PC for games, not that p;lay a lot these days.

    3. Avatar photo John says:

      These new consoles gens have libraries much bigger than any other ones plus the online component doesn’t even matter for most people

      In 20 years I’ll still be able to play Yakuza on my PS4

Comments are closed

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