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Hundreds of Wii, DS games losing online play

Nintendo confirms WiFi Connection shutting down May 20; online stores, 3DS, and Wii U to be unaffected

More than 400 Wii and DS games are about to lose their online functionality. Nintendo today confirmed that it is shutting down its WiFi Connection service on May 20, leaving affected games without features like online play, leaderboards, sharing of user-generated content, or free add-on content.

While access to the Wii Shop Channel and DSi Shop will be unaffected, games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Mario Kart DS, and Pokemon Black and White will lose their online functionality entirely. A full list of the 408 first- and third-party games impacted is available on Nintendo's website.

"Our focus now shifts to readying our Wii U and Nintendo 3DS matchmaking services for upcoming games such as Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros," A Nintendo representative said. "We at Nintendo sincerely thank our fans for their continued support of our company's legacy systems. Your enthusiasm for games made for these systems speaks to their longevity, and the passion of Nintendo fans."

Before Nintendo made the announcement public, a source told GamesIndustry International the shutdown was imminent, and pointed to a dissolving partnership with Glu's GameSpy Technology as the reason for the shutdown. Nintendo announced it was licensing GameSpy tech for the DS online network in 2005, and expanded the relationship in 2007 to offer online functionality for Wii games.

Glu came under fire late in 2012 when it shut off multiplayer servers to a number of PC games including Flight Simulator X, Neverwinter Nights, and Rebellion's Sniper Elite. A Rebellion producer told the community that Glu shut the servers down without warning and said they would turn them back on only for an annual fee "far in excess" of what the developer had previously been paying.

As of this writing, Glu had not returned a request for comment.

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Latest comments (16)

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd2 years ago
Luckily it will mean little for the vast majority of Nintendo's online gamers. Those who do play online will have already upgraded to a 3DS or Wii U or will be preparing to upgrade come big online games (like Mario Kart and Smash Bros.). Still it's unfortunate for those affected.
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Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus2 years ago
The problem is that a lot of DS games required online play to be fully functional. I know that after May 20th, Dragon Quest IX becomes significantly less useful. Then again, I knew that was coming the day I bought it.

This also guarantees that Dragon Quest X is never going to happen in America. Even on the Wii U, we know it's a ticking time bomb. I just can't see why anyone would look for a Nintendo game to have full online functionality; they have botched its handling for years.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 2 years ago
As I keep saying, no online game is safe no matter how fun or great. I wonder if Glu is experiencing financial issues and is trying to rake in those fees from Nintendo and others to no avail? Anyway, while some are griping this is Nintendo's fault (ah, the internet raaages elsewhere about this), an wailing about not being able to play older games, I'd hope that a few lessons are learned here as this will only happen with every other game that relies on an online connection at some point down the road...
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Show all comments (16)
Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 2 years ago
This is a fine example of why I dont invest on games that depend on online gameplay. And why I prefer games that can work and function without an internet connection. Good one Nintendo, you just proved what Ive been saying for years.
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Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online2 years ago
This is not just happening with Nintendo. Try to play any original Xbox game on Xbox Live. Oh wait, you can't.

Aside from being a core gameplay loss to the player who paid for both the game and the online service (at least with Xbox Live), we actually lose out on being able to reference, play or show a game in the future.

Imagine not being able to study film because we can't watch movies anymore as there are no more projectors that were used to show them not even two decades ago. Imagine not being able to read books because they used a completely different language not even two decades ago.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Roland Austinat on 27th February 2014 8:22pm

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Rafa Ferrer Localisation Manager, Red Comet Media2 years ago
@Roland - I'm in no way certain, but with any luck, the homebrew/emulators scene will already have figured out how to set up private servers. Of course that doesn't make it all right, but it's funny how people who are usually criminalised by the industry (sure, sometimes rightfully) are in fact keeping alive the video games legacy that some of their own producers seem to not care much about.
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Steven Hodgson Programmer, Code in Progress Ltd2 years ago
I wonder if this means there will be a new Pokemon Stadium/Battle Revolution
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Christopher Ingram Editor-at-Large, Digitally Downloaded2 years ago
I'm sure the amount of people still playing Wii and DS games has been significantly reduced over the past few years, but this still seems to be a drastic move so early into Nintendo's current generation consoles - both the Xbox 360 and PS3's online services continue to thrive.

I'm curious to see if this move has any ramification with developers/publishers who might be developing titles that are dependent on online integrations for the 3DS and Wii U after this.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 2 years ago
No big surprise because A) these are last gen systems and B) it's Nintendo online we're talking about. The one thing that might surprise people is that Nintendo kept those servers going this long.
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Jeff Norris IT Contractor 2 years ago
Microsoft has stated that they will continue to serve xbox 360 for a long time to come as a secondary platform.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 2 years ago
This is why I like PC games, most games keep their online functionality one way or another.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.2 years ago
Brook, the last main paragraph here points out how Glu Mobile (owner of the GameSpy technology that powers the DS and Wii online infrastructure), shut down several PC games without warning recently. So even PC is not immune to removed online play.
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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 2 years ago
@Jim
Oh I'm sorry did you miss the word "most" in my comment? I didn't say all.

There is no way around that some games will lose it's multiplayer functionality, but consoles it's pretty close to guaranteed as new consoles emerge and older ones become out dated.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.2 years ago
Brook, I didn't miss your 'most'. In fact, you're post isn't factually incorrect or anything. It's more of an ironic thing. The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection shutdown seems quite related to PC online game shutdowns (those powered by Glu Mobile's GameSpy). You talking about PC games (yes, you said most) not getting shut down is in direct contrast to the reason that Nintendo is likely shutting their older systems down.

Again, you're not wrong. PC games on average indeed do have a longer lifespan of online utilization over consoles but it is because of PC games beign shut down that Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection is being shut down (at least according the insinuations in the article).

Edit: I'm also curious what time frames major services have stayed online. For DS, it's been almost 9 years. That sounds pretty respectable from what I recall many games (PC or otherwise) having access to.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jim Webb on 28th February 2014 8:36pm

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Brook Davidson Artist / 3D design 2 years ago
@Jim
I really don't see them insinuating that at all. They mention the company Glu had shutdown some other game services back in 2012. Which has nothing to do with this shut down.

The article clearly states the reason.

Let me quote it for you.
"Before Nintendo made the announcement public, a source told GamesIndustry International the shutdown was imminent, and pointed to a dissolving partnership with Glu's GameSpy Technology as the reason for the shutdown."

How on earth is that because of pc games being shut down? Either I am missing something in the article or you are assuming things the article does not say.
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Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange2 years ago
It's not a big issue since most of the games people play online on the DS have moved on to newer versions on the 3DS. If they want to continue playing those legacy games online what's preventing them from tunneling like people did on the Gamecube with games that doesn't even have online play?

It was a free service that went on for nearly a decade, the only people who would really complain are late adopters. They're so late in the game, the 3DS just celebrated its 3rd year a few days ago.
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