In a surprising turn of events, new owners of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U consoles are facing an unexpected setback as recent updates have rendered online play inaccessible for these platforms. The move comes ahead of the planned shutdown of Nintendo’s last-gen servers, scheduled for April 2024, leaving enthusiasts saddened by the premature loss of online features.
Nintendo, having already shifted its focus to the immensely successful Nintendo Switch, officially ceased the production of the Wii U in January 2017, just ahead of the Switch’s release. While the 3DS managed to linger on for a few more years, its production was halted in 2020, signaling the end of an era for handheld consoles. The closure of the eShops for both the 3DS and Wii U earlier this year hinted at the impending demise of their online services. Now, with the unexpected halt of online play for new users, the countdown to the complete shutdown in April 2024 has begun.
Reports from NintendoLife indicate that a recent update to the 3DS and Wii U systems has disabled online play specifically for new users. Players attempting to access the online servers for Super Mario Maker were the first to notice the issue, sparking concerns that the shutdown was initiated earlier than announced. However, it was later revealed that the problem was limited to new 3DS and Wii U accounts, suggesting a synchronization issue with the servers preceding the planned shutdown. Existing users, fortunately, are still anticipated to have access to online services until the official termination in April.
As part of its strategy to preserve the legacy of the 3DS and Wii U, Nintendo has diligently ported some of the platforms’ most beloved games to the Switch. Notable titles such as Bayonetta 2 and Super Mario 3D World have found new life on the hybrid console, with the enhanced port of Mario Kart 8—aptly titled Mario Kart 8 Deluxe—emerging as the best-selling game on the Switch. This transition has allowed Nintendo to maintain the essence of these classic games while embracing the innovative features of the Switch.
The upcoming closure of online services for the Wii U and 3DS follows a bustling holiday season for Nintendo, marked by the release of several major titles. The last quarter of 2023 saw the launch of two new Mario games, including a remake of the classic Super Mario RPG and the introduction of Super Mario Bros. Wonder, the latest installment in the 2D Mario platformer series. Additionally, the Pokémon franchise celebrated the release of Detective Pikachu Returns and the “Indigo Disk” expansion for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. These releases have not only capped off a successful year for Nintendo but also served as a precursor to the impending farewell to the 3DS and Wii U’s online servers.
While the shutdown of online play for the 3DS and Wii U may evoke nostalgia and a sense of loss among dedicated fans, it also signifies Nintendo’s unwavering commitment to evolving gaming experiences. As the company bids adieu to the online services of these venerable consoles, it continues to usher in a new era of gaming innovation, with the Nintendo Switch at the forefront of its ground breaking endeavours. As April 2024 approaches, the gaming community eagerly anticipates the final moments of online play for the 3DS and Wii U, cherishing the memories these platforms have provided while embracing the limitless possibilities that lie ahead in the ever-evolving world of Nintendo gaming.