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Nintendo turns off Wi-Fi

By Alex Sferrazza
On March 11, 2014

Nintendo has announced its intention to end Wi-Fi gameplay service for all Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii platforms on May 20 this year. While downloadable games will still be available for purchase from the Wii Shop Channel and the DSi Shop, the news comes as a significant blow to fans who still enjoy the online connectivity of many popular titles.
Personally, I still find myself logging online from time to time to enjoy a few games of "Super Smash Bros. Brawl," "Mario Kart DS" and "Mario Kart Wii," and of course game-changing online Pokémon trading brought to the series by the Nintendo DS entries. To say the news is disappointing for me is a gross understatement.
The move isn't too surprising, the company and most Nintendo gamers have moved into the era of the 3DS and Wii U. It's unsettling that the company was willing to pull such a move even as some popular Nintendo DS titles are barely a few years old.
While it's possible that the move is a strategic one on Nintendo's part to encourage people to upgrade to newer Nintendo platforms, the unpopularity of many titles might also have contributed to the decision. It's been years since I have been able to find an online match in "Goldeneye 007" or "Tetris Party" in a reasonable amount of time. Even popular titles feature far fewer players than they used too. But what about online multiplayer with personal friends? Nintendo's system for such play on the Wii and DS has always been a train wreck, but I still enjoy playing certain titles with friends of mine through the convenience of the Internet whenever I please.
Even so, the move isn't exactly fair to all players of titles which implement Wi-Fi gameplay as a major selling point.
"Pokemon Black 2" and "Pokemon White 2" were released on Oct. 7, 2012 in North America. Both titles feature online gameplay connectivity as a major component of the game. It's disheartening that Nintendo will basically make these components null for titles that won't even be two years old come May 20.
Now Nintendo cannot be blamed too much for the move. With the company recording record losses due to the abysmal failure of the Wii U console at retail, Nintendo is looking to cut costs anywhere possible. Bear in mind, Wi-Fi has always been a free service on Nintendo's systems so there's no revenue loss on that front. While shutting off Wi-Fi service for the Wii and DS will aggravate many dedicated fans, it's unlikely that the backlash will be too strong-other companies drop online support for titles all the time-but what makes this instance different is its comprehensiveness (all titles across both platforms at the same time) and the fact that the very fans upset by this minor move are some of Nintendo's most loyal. With the company needing support now more than ever, these are exactly the last type of people Nintendo should be further aggravating.


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