So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night: Nintendo says it’s going to pull the plug on its Wi-Fi Connection service for the DS and Wii on May 20.
That means online play, matchmaking, user-generated content, free add-on content and leaderboards for DS, DSi and Wii games that make use of it. The shutdown includes Wii games played on the Wii U in Wii mode.
If you look at the rundown of impacted titles sorted by Nintendo first-party titles, you’ll notice right away how short it is. That, to take a parting shot because it’s warranted, is how behind the curve Nintendo was with the Wii when it came to online functionality. The full list of games is here. All of these games will continue to function as normal offline, with just two apps/services I’d never heard of ceasing to function because they required Wi-Fi Connect: Wii Speak and Wii Speak Channel.
Mind you, where the 3DS has long since taken up the DS’s mantle, the Wii is still a thing, selling used for under $100 or new in the vicinity of $130 to $150 (bundle depending). In global sales, the Wii U’s beating it, but by nothing like the margins Sony and Microsoft’s consoles have been.
On the upside, Nintendo’s leaving most of its non-gaming services on the systems alone. So the Wii Shop Channel, Nintendo DSi Shop and on-demand video services are “not affected at this time,” though the words “at this time” sound vaguely doleful in that context. Nothing’s forever, but neither the Wii nor DS are yet a decade old (the DS launched in late 2004, the Wii in late 2006). You’d like to think these systems might have half again as much time left, even used as basic utility boxes.
I’ll leave you with Nintendo’s parting words on the matter: “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.”
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