Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Online Services Ending Next Week

Get those last OG Splatoon matches in, folks.

On Monday, April 8th, online services for two of Nintendo's older systems will come to an end. That day, online co-op and competitive gameplay will cease in titles released on Wii U and 3DS. As a result, games like Mario Kart 8, Pokemon Sun and Moon, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Super Mario Maker, and the original Splatoon will all have some features that are no longer accessible. Nintendo announced an end date back in January, so this isn't coming out of left field, but for anyone that still plays these games, it will likely be a bit disappointing! 

What 3DS and Wii U Services Will Still be Available?

While players will not be able to enjoy most online services on either system, there are some notable exceptions. As previously announced, the online features for Pokemon Bank and Poke Transporter will continue to operate after April 8th. However, The Pokemon Company has encouraged players to transfer their Pokemon over to Pokemon Home "at their earliest convenience." This has led some fans to assume those services will end sometime this year, though nothing has been confirmed. 

Additionally, 3DS and Wii U users will be able to continue to re-download already purchased software, as well as any updates. The Wii U and 3DS eShops were closed last year, so fans won't be able to buy anything new, but if they have to re-download something that's already been purchased, that is still being supported. 

Why are Online Services for 3DS and Wii U Ending?

It's always disappointing when online services come to an end, but the reality is that servers will go down for most online games at some point. It costs money to keep these servers going, and to pay for the required technical support. Last year, online services for Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 were temporarily terminated, "to address a vulnerability related to online play." Those servers eventually went back up, but it's easy to see how these Wii U games might be a lower priority compared to more recent Nintendo Switch offerings, such as Splatoon 3 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

It's also hard to say how many people are still playing these types of games online. The original Splatoon sold just under 5 million copies, while Mario Kart 8 sold under 8.5 million. With Nintendo Switch now having been on the market for more than 7 years, it's probably a small fraction of players. Of course, when online services end like this, it tends to convince some players to jump back into a game they haven't played in years. That's exactly what happened when Microsoft ended support for several Halo games on Xbox 360 back in 2022, and it's possible the same thing could happen for Splatoon, a series that has a very passionate fanbase. 

Are you planning to jump into some online games before 3DS and Wii U services end? Were you still playing any of these games online? Share your thoughts with me directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp or on Instagram at @Dachampgaming!