Last Updated on January 24, 2024
Wii U and 3DS online services end 8 April 2024.
It’s been a long time coming, but we knew it had to happen. As time rolls on, new devices are released, and technology evolves, older systems are retired, sunsetted, or simply disabled. This time around, it is the turn of the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U to have their online services disabled, in just a few weeks: April 8th, 2024.
As Nintendo advises:
As of 8 April 2024, online play and other functionality that uses online communication will end for Nintendo 3DS* and Wii U software. This also includes online co-operative play, internet rankings, and data distribution.
What happens when Wii U and 3DS online services end?
This end of life or sunsetting scenario doesn’t stop you playing games fullstop and doesn’t disable your devices. The Nintendo Wii U and 3DS will continue operating. Sunsetting the online services is primarily a Nintendo strategy to focus resources on the Nintendo Switch and its successor.
Further information to note:
- You will still be able to play offline titles after this date
- Pokémon Bank will remain active beyond the end of life date, but there is no guarantee that it will be available indefinitely
- Some non-Nintendo publishers will be maintaining online services, but should be contacted individually for details
- Updates can be downloaded and eShop purchases re-downloaded beyond the Wii U and 3DS end of life for the online services
- Streetpass will remain active as relies on local ad hoc networks
- Spotpass uses online services, so will be disabled
Still want to play Wii U or 3DS games (e.g. Super Mario Maker) after the end of the online services? You’re not alone, so let me introduce you to Pretendo, described as “a free and open source replacement for Nintendo’s servers for both the 3DS and Wii U, allowing online connectivity for all, even after the original servers are discontinued.”
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine, TechRadar.com, and other publications.