Two Nintendo systems are being sent out to the online pasture.

The Nintendo Switch’s seventh birthday is coming up this March, and there’s strong speculation that we’re going to be seeing the unveiling, and maybe even the release, of its successor system before the year is done. For the time being, though, there’s still quite a bit of life left in Nintendo’s current flagship piece hardware.

The same can’t be said, however for two of its forefathers, as Nintendo has announced the exact date and time at which it will be ending online service for both the 3DS and Wii U.

We knew this was coming, as back in October the Kyoto-based video game developer said online services for the systems would be shutting down within approximately six months. In an updated statement released on Wednesday, Nintendo has fine-tuned the timetable. Within Japan, 3DS and Wii U online service is scheduled to conclude on April 9 at 9 a.m., and the shutdown will occur simultaneously, at 4 p.m. on April 8, within North America.

The silver, or at least silvery, lining is that the 3DS’s StreetPass functionality will continue even after April 8/9, due to operating via local connection between 3DS units themselves. All other forms of online multiplayer play, though, including SpotPass, are going away.

In the modern age, video game companies paring back their online services comes with the risk of games which are out of print or never offered as physical releases becoming lost media. That concern is especially big when Nintendo is involved, as the company has historically been less enthusiastic than many of its industry rivals when it comes to offering classic games for purchase and use with newer hardware. In March of 2023, Nintendo ended support for digital purchases of 3DS and Wii U software through the Nintendo eShop, so the ship has already sailed for picking up new games. Thankfully, even after 3DS/Wii U online services end this coming April, Nintendo says you’ll still be able to redownload games you’ve already purchased, as well as updates, “for the foreseeable future.”

It should also be noted that Nintendo’s announcement includes a warning that “if an event occurs that would make it difficult to continue online services for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software, we may have to discontinue services earlier than planned.” So if you’re hoping to get in one last online session with some old friends and old games, the clock is ticking.

Source: Nintendo (1, 2)
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