3DS Black Screen Crashes Due To Wi-fi?

We picked up on stories circulating (some first hand via TSA writers) earlier in the week that Nintendo’s new 3DS was crashing with what’s since been dubbed the ‘black screen of death’ by some.

Although there’s no ‘death’ involved – the worst that happens is you need a reboot and you lose any progress since the last save – it is frustrating, and although we’ve only personally seen it happen with two games there’s been no real word from Nintendo about how to fix the problem other than the usual ‘try the latest firmware’ line we’ve seen around the ‘net:


“If anyone is experiencing any problems with their Nintendo 3DS console, we recommend that in the first instance they download and install the latest system update, now available online,” said a spokesperson on Monday.

However, as the problem settles and people stop overreacting, it’s clear there’s a pattern emerging – and it seems to be linked to whether or not your Wi-fi connection is on.

We don’t know much more yet, but from taking samples from various message boards (including NeoGAF) the general consensus appears to be that most, if not all the crashes, happen when the 3DS’ network slider is at the ‘on’ position.

Any 3DS owners out there like to help verify this for us?  It’s obviously something we’re hoping can be fixed via a new firmware update, but in the meantime at least we can try to figure out any constants.

It’s also worth reiterating that any such crashes are few and far between, some of us haven’t seen any at all and the vast majority of users are perfectly happy.

Image: NeoGAF.



  1. That makes sense in that I have had my wifi switched off since the initial firmware update and haven’t seen a crash, despite putting a fair amount of hours in.

  2. I’m always connected to WiFi and have yet to get the black screen. *Jinxed*

  3. Ironically, the very first time I played Super Monkey Ball, just after I got past the title screen I got the black screen of death. Since then it’s been fine.

    • Oh and I was connected to wi-fi when it happened but I have been ever since and I’ve had no problems.

  4. Everytime I play Shadow Wars, it crashes. I was getting a little annoyed. It’s pretty random too. I could be on it for 2 mins, and it crash, or be on it for 20 mins, and then it crashes. But generally always within half an hour it crashes.

    Turned my Wi-Fi off this morning, and I’ve been playing Ghost Recon for over an hour now without it crashing… Problem solved? It’s looking likely.

  5. maybe the wifi is drawing too much power leaving too little for the processors which causes them to operate incorrectly and crash.

    it’s odd, nintendo hardware is usually pretty reliable.
    but then quality control does seem to have taken a back seat to profit in the last few years.

    on a more positive note, i managed to fix the spontaneous turning itself off that my old phat ds used to like doing, at least i opened it up and fiddled around with the power button and it hasn’t spontaneously shut down since.

  6. Can we not call it the black screen of death if that’s not actually what it is, the thing crashed, it’s not uncommon. No new product launches without it’s share of problems and Nintento is no exception to that rule. I’m sure they’ll sort it.

  7. The only two times my 3DS has crashed (both last weekend) was when I flicked the Wi-Fi switch.

  8. of Death” is going to be the defacto name for any full software/hardware failure from now. We’ve have BSOD, RROD, YLOD and no BLOD. When we get hologram Tvs it will be the Spinning Cube Of Death or whatevs.

    • I don’t mind the ‘of death’ moniker providing it’s apt. The RROD, YLOD and BLOD all are releavent for when your console dies. But were just talking about a crash here and there, the machine doesn’t actually stop working, people need to stop dramatising things… my nerves can’t handle it.

      • So in this case it’s more ‘Black Screen of Inconvenience’?

      • Just before I scrolled down I was thinking the exact same thing… BSOI… doesn’t quite have that ring to it.

        How about BSOF? (Black Screen of Fail)

      • Or, ‘BSOD,NIHTTIOAOA’ – Black Screen of Damn, Now I Have To Turn It Off And On Again. Catchy or what?

      • but it’s like the whole gate thing, thisgate, thatgate.
        even though watergate was the name of the hotel where that original scandal occurred, now they just stick gate on stories of scandals

        and besides, the “of death” thing began with windows blue screen of death, which was just a system crash, not the death of your machine.
        so in one sense, calling this the black screen of death is more accurate than RROD or YLOD

      • See, now doesn’t that just make the Blue Screen of Death the source of the inaccuracy? I mean, to get around that you had to reboot your computer, that’s not quite as terrible as getting a YLOD or a RROD. Calling it the Blue Screen of Death is a little over the top by comparison. I mean, death implies (sorry to any Buddhists) the end, finality, no more living. So, YLOD and RROD are justified, whereas BSOD isn’t.

      • There’s a reason they weren’t called Blue Screen of Instant Death. Usually they mean one of three things; broken hardware, broken drivers or corrupt files. Rebooting just postpones the inevitable.

      • So what you’re saying is it’s less of the Blue Screen of Death, more, Blue Screen of Terminal Illness?

    • sounds like a move from Mortal Kombat

  9. “However, as the problem settles and people stop overreacting

    This is the internet. Since when is that going to happen? :-)

  10. Sounds like an over reaction I think….

Comments are now closed for this post.