Nintendo update affecting Pokémon gameplay has fans upset

Early 2024 should, for most, conjure feelings of hope and excitement of what is to come next in life’s story. However, following an announcement made by gaming mega-corporation Nintendo on Oct. 4, this period of time can only be anticipated with anxiety and fervor for 3DS and Wii U fans. This coming April, Nintendo will be discontinuing functionality for the online services on both systems. 

The company’s full statement reads “As of early April 2024, online play and other functionality that uses online communication will end service for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U software. Thank you very much for your continued support of our products.” The ending of this statement is particularly ironic, as Nintendo is thanking its fans for the support they gave to a feature the company itself will no longer support. 

As the 3DS alone is a 13 year old console, some might be confused why shutting down old servers in April is causing such a fuss. The 3DS user community is actually still thriving despite its age with gatherings happening between players at local game shops, convention handheld meetups and in international gameplay tournaments that utilize these online connectivity features.

Games like “Mario Kart 7” will lose all competitive functionality besides local play, decreasing the variety of events that can happen and significantly reducing the replay value of these older games. Limiting this functionality to local play alone crushes any nostalgia-based dreams older fans may have with revisiting beloved games, or hopes newer Nintendo fans have of experiencing these games to the fullest. 

Nintendo fans are disappointed they may no longer be able to utilize the Pokémon Bank feature. Photo courtesy of Poké

The panicked feeling this news brings only grows larger if one reads the full statement posted by Nintendo to their Nintendo Support webpage wherein they state that come any unforeseen events that make keeping the server active harder, they will shut down online connectivity services right away. This means that Nintendo fans cannot comfortably rely on the given time slot of “April 2024” and are even being encouraged to complete any actions requiring this connectivity as soon as possible.

“Pokémon” fans in particular had quite a bit of fear instilled in them when they beheld this news, as two applications central to a lot of people’s “Pokémon” gameplay — PokéTransporter and Pokémon Bank — will be abandoning their services shortly after the initial online connectivity shutdown. PokéTransporter and Pokémon Bank are essentials for “Pokémon” fans as they are the only way to transport Pokémon from the pre-Switch era games to the newer ones. Some Pokémon are only available in these previous games and will be completely unattainable following the online shutdown.

3DS games are arguably the most affected by this connectivity severance. A lot of fans replay the games quite frequently either to shiny hunt before the odds were doubled to give themselves more of a challenge, or to complete a living dex, which is a collection of every single Pokémon to date within the application “Pokémon Home” on Switch devices. Some players like to ribbon hunt, a task that requires playing the oldest “Pokémon” game in your collection, beating the champion, and then transferring that winning team to the next game in the series and repeating the process. This will become impossible with the shutdown of online connectivity.

Sometimes players would even receive a special certificate if they brought older Pokémon to a newer game, so the fact that a quest many players undergo that is even acknowledged in-game is being rendered obsolete is very disheartening for fans to hear.

Some fans speculate that this shutdown signals a future console drop from Nintendo, as the “Switch 2” has been a hopeful fever dream for quite some time now. Regardless of the reasoning, to shut down older games’ functionality in an attempt to force players to buy the newest console to enjoy certain games is a distasteful tactic to witness.

There is a tiny green light at the end of this tunnel however as “StreetPass,” a beloved connectivity feature on the 3DS, will not be shutting down this coming April.

This connectivity shutdown is killing both players’ nostalgia and the replay value of hundreds of beloved Nintendo titles.


Featured photo courtesy of Dids, Pexels