Nintendo Kills Online Functionality For Wii, DS Titles, Highlighting Need For Greater User Control Over Content They Supposedly Own

from the lonely-Mario dept

Whether it's music or games, we've seen countless examples of how the content you think you own can either be taken away from you entirely -- or can suddenly be greatly limited, often with little to no warning. The latest example of that is courtesy of Nintendo, which is informing users that the online components of a long list of titles for the Nintendo Wii, DS and DSi will no longer work after May 20 of this year. From Mario Kart Wii to Animal Crossing: Wild World, many of these titles will suddenly find themselves with a gaping hole where core gameplay mechanics used to be. Nintendo is telling these users that they appreciate user support of legacy systems, even if Nintendo won't support them themselves:
"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."
Except if you really cared about fan enthusiasm for legacy titles, why not empower them to hack together solutions to help keep at least some core multiplayer functions in place? Because that would keep them from buying your latest hardware, even if they're perfectly happy playing older games. People have a right to worry that this phenomenon is accelerating as the newer generation of consoles become more tied to the Internet and the cloud than ever before:
"Nintendo's decision to stop running Wii and DS servers feels like the leading edge of a big expansion of this problem, though, as the first full console generation with tightly integrated online play starts to get phased out. I give the Xbox 360 and PS3 two or three more years at most before Sony and Microsoft decide it's not worth supporting servers for the aging hardware anymore. Looking ahead even further, there will probably come a day when Titanfall is no longer playable on the Xbox One because Microsoft thinks it's no longer worthwhile to support it (in that case, the game won't even have a single-player mode to fall back on)."
PC users for years have hammered together online solutions for this problem (albeit not always glamorously), and it doesn't seem like it would be a particularly taxing thing for Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo to throw a little support in the general direction of core fans, making them more likely to buy your products in the future. The alternative is a path where titles keep going up in price, while the shelf-life on their full functionality continues to decrease. Now you'll excuse me if I take one last, teary-eyed lap around Moo Moo Meadows in Mario Kart Wii -- alone.

Filed Under: cloud, ds, wii
Companies: nintendo

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  1. identicon
    Lobsangdibbler, 9 Mar 2014 @ 7:50pm

    Secondary Options

    This move is likely a response to offset the abysmal sales of the Wii-U (A system with an abysmal launch title selection and even poorer development post-launch.) The system itself has had little to offer that other systems have not done better. It is essentially the N-gauge of Nintendo products. The notable games for it are entirely remakes, I'm looking at you Windwaker and Monster Hunter Tri U.

    I do enjoy those games but compared to the selection on the Wii and the DS offered it is an abysmal switch. The DS is the single most ubiquitous hand held gaming device on the planet and quite a few of the games in it offer online features that add to the games themselves.

    By choosing to eliminate these services for expensive new consoles, yes the WII-U and 3ds(2ds) are "expensive" for new consoles considering one is dated and the other simulation sickness prevents people from playing, Nintendo is effectively shooting itself in the foot for a profit grab that will be disappointing for them and add more tarnish to the aging giant. Unless they expect to see a slew of new customer attracting IP coming to these systems then we can all predict the outcome. It happened to Sega twice.

    They do have an easy out on this, release the server software and let their customers do with it as they will. That however will cut into their bottom line as having these devices remain functional may slow down the sales of their new systems. It may not. It is hard to tell with nintendo devices as even a lot of the old first generation gameboys are still in functioning order and in use.

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