Find your friend codes, break out the game cartridges, hunt for the charger and mess around with your WiFi security settings, because your chance to play online games on Wii, DS and DSi is coming to an end. Nintendo are shutting down the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection servers worldwide on May 20th.
In all fairness, it’s not the most surprising move. The Wii and DS were Nintendo’s first forays into online gaming and never really seemed to hit the big time. Mario Kart, Smash Bros. and Pokémon games probably had the biggest online communities, but everything was hampered by the clumsy friend codes which were dealt with on a game-by-game basis. Thankfully, though online functionality is still nowhere near that of PSN or XBL, it’s much more streamlined on the 3DS and Wii U, consoles which are unaffected by this.
What’s affected on the Wii and DS is:
- Online play and matchmaking
- Leaderboards and tournament data
- Sharing of user generated content (ghost data, user created levels)
- User exchange of in-game items or characters (Global Trade Station)
- Free add-on content or downloads (new levels, in-game items, Mystery Gifts)
Game-based servers are turning off, then, but services unrelated to multiplayer will continue to function. This means that things like the DSi Shop and DSi Browser will continue to work as will the Wii Shop Channel and video services like Netflix and Youtube on the Wii.
Still, it’s time to blow the dust off your console and settle any long distance grudge matches you might have outstanding. It won’t be long before you have to be in the same room to do so… or play a newer game.