Sunsetting the 3DS? Nintendo closing Japan's StreetPass Relays

TOKYO, March 1 — Nintendo appears to be preparing for a post-3DS future after a bumper launch year for the Nintendo Switch.

Released in 2010, the Nintendo 3DS has seen four major revisions and more than 71 million global sales over its eight-year history.

Titles like Mario Kart 7, New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Super Mario 3D Land, Animal Crossing: New Leaf and several successive entries to the Pokémon franchise helped propel it to worldwide popularity following a shaky initial launch.

The dual-screen handheld was introduced as an inexpensive way to experience glasses-free 3D graphics at a time when other hardware companies were pushing more ambitious 3D television sets.

That stereoscopic 3D feature was dropped for 2013’s 2DS spin-off, and another of the console’s unique features looks like it’s on the way out.

Using WiFi functionality, StreetPass enables Nintendo 3DS systems to swap data when they are in close proximity.

The handheld, portable consoles could connect whether active or stowed away in sleep mode, allowing an ad-hoc, peer-to-peer network of 3DS users to greet each other unawares as they went about their days.

In an effort to boost StreetPass effectiveness, Nintendo began rolling out static StreetPass Relay points, frequently housed within partner retail locations; StreetPass Relays would act as relay stations for player avatars, especially beneficial for fans of the system who weren’t usually in high-population areas.

That’s coming to an end as Nintendo of Japan has announced a March 28 closure for the country’s StreetPass Relays.

As StreetPass is essentially a decentralized social network, not reliant on central servers for communication to take place within nearby 3DS consoles, the system as a whole is not being shut down — but Nintendo’s withdrawal of backbone support is a sign that attentions are being turned elsewhere.

The portable Nintendo Switch console, which can also plug into TVs for home use, was launched in March 2017.

Some 14.8 million units were sold worldwide by the end of the year, with Nintendo targeting 20 million sales during the hybrid handheld’s second year. — AFP-Relaxnews

The Nintendo 3DS was introduced at E3 2010 by then-company president Satoru Iwata . — AFP pic
The Nintendo 3DS was introduced at E3 2010 by then-company president Satoru Iwata . — AFP pic

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