Nintendo’s ongoing path to making the 3DS and Wii U more or less obsolete will hit a new milestone in April 2024. The company has announced that online services for both systems will be ending in around six months time. That means any online play or features that require internet connection will be inaccessible from early April onwards.
Anyone that still uses the 3DS or Wii U regularly will know that both consoles lost access to their respective online stores earlier this year. That means you can’t buy any more digital games for your system, though previously-purchased titles are still available to download if you need them.
Nintendo’s announcement page confirms that offline play will still be available on titles and game modes that don’t need an internet connection. The shutdown will also affect all 3DS and Wii U software, even titles not published by Nintendo, though there will be “some exceptions."
The only exception that has been confirmed right now is Pokémon Bank, the transfer app that lets players pass monsters between games. However, it’s noted that support may still “end at some point in the future." In other words, while you have some time, you better get your favorite monsters over to Pokémon Home while you can.
Users will also be able to continue downloading purchased software and content, including updates, from the Nintendo eShop “for the foreseeable future."
Nintendo also confirmed that Streetpass will still work on 3DS, since it uses local communication to operate. Similarly StreetPass Mii Plaza will continue to work, though online features for both titles will be disabled come April. That affects the likes of Puzzle Swap and SpotPass, both of which rely on the internet.
This news is disappointing, but not all that surprising. The loss of the eShop on Wii U and 3DS has already proven Nintendo is ready to move on from both systems, and it was only a matter of time before all online services were shut down for good. It’s an unfortunate eventuality for all connected consoles, as owners of both the Wii and original DS have discovered. Xbox 360 owners will also face this problem next July, with the shutdown of the Xbox 360 store.
So if you’re a big fan of playing online games on your aging Nintendo systems, be sure to get as much playtime in while you still can. And, if a Nintendo Switch version is available, it’s worth considering whether you want to upgrade or not.