When Does 3DS And Wii U Online Shut Down? Nintendo Online Closure Guide
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Guide to the Closure of Nintendo Online for 3DS and Wii U: When Will it Happen?

3DS and Wii U Online Shutdown Guide – Everything You Need To Know

It seems only yesterday that Nintendo shut down the eShop functionality for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, doesn’t it? After stating that online functionality would remain for the “foreseeable future”, the firm has confirmed that 3DS and Wii U online services will be discontinued in “early 2024”.

So what does this mean for you? Well, for many, the answer will be obvious — no more online play. But, if you’ve got any lingering concerns or questions regarding the discontinuation of online services for the 3DS and Wii U, hopefully, we can answer them all here.

When will online services for 3DS and Wii U end?

Nintendo has announced that online services for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U will discontinue in “early 2024”. That’s the most accurate timeframe we have at the moment; Nintendo has stated that a specific date will be announced in the future. It has also stated that should an event occur that might make it difficult to continue online services for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software, then the closure may occur earlier than planned.

So what does the discontinuation of the online service mean, exactly?

It means that online play and any other functionality that uses online communication will end for 3DS and Wii U software. This includes PvP versus matches, co-op play, leaderboard rankings, and data distribution. More specifically, you won’t be able to play online races in Mario Kart 7, visit friends’ towns in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, or trade Pokémon via the internet in Pokémon Sun and Moon. Stuff like that.

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Silly question, but which 3DS and Wii U models does this apply to?

All of them. So that includes New Nintendo 3DS, New Nintendo 3DS XL, New Nintendo 2DS XL, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, Nintendo 2DS, Wii U Deluxe, and Wii U Basic.

Will the discontinuation of online services affect all games on 3DS and Wii U?

More or less, but there are a couple of caveats. First, Nintendo has stated that it will be possible to use online services for Pokémon Bank beyond the discontinuation date. However, it has also been stated that this may too end in the future. Nintendo has also stated that “with some exceptions”, online services will end for all 3DS and Wii U software. This means that if there are any third-party games you’re concerned about, Nintendo has advised you to reach out to the relevant publisher directly.

Which 3DS and Wii U games will be affected?

Well, lots. But if you want a quick gander at some of the post popular online titles on each system, then here’s a quick breakdown:

Popular 3DS online games

  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf
  • Mario Kart 7
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon
  • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

Popular Wii U online games

  • Mario Kart 8
  • Splatoon
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
  • Mario Maker
  • Pokkén Tournament

Can I still play 3DS and Wii U games offline?

Yes, of course. You can still play any 3DS and Wii U software that does not require online functionality.

What about StreetPass and SpotPass on the 3DS?

StreetPass will work, but SpotPass won’t. StreetPass utilizes local communication between 3DS consoles, meaning it’s not tied to online services. Theoretically, then, it should remain functional indefinitely, though we can’t state this with 100% confidence. SpotPass, however, does utilize online communication, so it will no longer work beyond April 2024. So what this means, for example, is you’ll no longer be able to receive new panels in Puzzle Swap (although you should be able to still get missing puzzle pieces for panels you already have via StreetPass, if you meet someone who’s got a piece you need).

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Can I still redownload my digital games on 3DS and Wii U?

Yes. Nintendo has stated that you’ll be able to redownload purchases, digital games, and any update data for the “foreseeable future”. However, given that Nintendo initially said the same thing about its online services back when the 3DS and Wii U eShops closed, we might surmise that “foreseeable future” translates to “roughly one year” in Nintendo’s books. We’ll have to wait and see. Our suggestion? Get yourself a decent SD card and download anything outstanding from your eShop account.

Will this also affect Nintendo Badge Arcade on the 3DS?

Yes – Nintendo has stated that in conjunction with the discontinuation of online services for 3DS and Wii U, features for Nintendo Badge Arcade will also end in April 2024. After the service ends, the app will display an error message when launched, so you won’t be able to use it at all, including the Practice Catcher. Nintendo has also stated that it will no longer be possible to place badges in the badge box, meaning that users will only have access to a maximum of 100 categories and 1,000 badges that are in the badge box. It recommends that users finish placing badges prior to April 2024, and also back up any additional data on multiple SD cards.

Will 3DS System Transfers still be possible once the online servers are gone?

We don’t know. We’ve reached out to Nintendo for clarification and will update this guide when we have an answer. Our gut instinct is probably. It makes sense that as long as redownloads are available (for “the foreseeable future”), being able to perform a 3DS system transfer should still be possible. But as we say, we’re in the process of confirming this. Watch this space.

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So that’s pretty much it. The sun is truly setting on the 3DS and the Wii U, and we’re sad to see online functionality for the systems come to an end in April 2024. If you have any questions that we haven’t already answered, please do leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer it.

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Written by Benjamin Bartlett

A veteran gamer since the age of 5, Benjamin has traversed the digital realms of Azeroth to the streets of Los Santos. With a master's in Game Design from Stanford, hi penned three best-selling books on the evolution of gaming culture.

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