Get in as much online multiplayer with your Wii and DS games as you can over the next three months because, come May 20, Nintendo will be shutting down online functionality for all of its last-gen games.
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, seeing as how only a handful of Nintendo games ever took advantage of online services and, of those, only a handful ever actually had legs. Taken directly from the official announcement, here’s what the Big N has to say about the matter: “As of May 20, 2014, certain online functionality offered through Nintendo Wi-Fi connection will no longer be accessible,” reads the announcement. “The discontinued services include online play, matchmaking and leaderboards for many Wii, Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi games.
A comprehensive list of all games affected by this shutdown can be found on Nintendo’s website but, if it’s a game that has an online mode for any of the above named consoles, you can pretty much bet that it’s included on the list.
As a small sampling, DC games include Animal Crossing: Wild World, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, Mario Kart DS and about a billion Pokemon games. The Wii list is much smaller, as far fewer games on the Nintendo home console offered online support. Examples include Animal Crossing: City Life, Mario Kart Wii and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It’s those last two games that really sting, as they’re likely the only two titles with anything resembling an active online community for the platform.
This move feels pretty dang rushed, considering the fact that the Wii and original DS seem to be selling better than, say, the Wii U on a regular basis. Then again, maybe that’s exactly the reason Nintendo is pulling the cord. Even with a couple of decent online games, there probably isn’t a big enough audience to warrant keeping those servers running. Secondly, by discontinuing service to the old games, maybe Nintendo is hopping it’ll help push gamers to finally buy a Wii U with a new Mario Kart and Smash Bros. on the way. Still, it would have been nice of them to leave the engine running until those new games arrive.
Obviously, these games will still work in offline mode, so don’t worry about your last gen library suddenly becoming obsolete. Again, online play has never been a big push for Nintendo until more recent consoles, so I’m guessing the impact won’t be as huge as, say, cutting off servers to the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.
In case you’re thinking there’s a workaround using the 3DS to play DS games or the Wii U in Wii Mode, those hopes have been equally dashed. Nintendo has stated right out that online functionality still won’t work. For those of you gaming on a DS or Wii, you’ll still have access to the eShop, however, as well as the web browser and streaming services like Netflix.