Video game publisher and hardware maker Nintendo announces that it will shut down some of the online functionality for the Wi-Fi Connection service on May 20, which will affect a number of titles that are launched on the Wii home console and both the DS and the DSi handhelds.The company has an official announcement that explains that it will eliminate online play, matchmaking and leaderboards, which will make the multiplayer side of a lot of games no longer work.
The list of affected games is comprehensive and can be consulted on the official site with highlights including a lot of Pokemon experiences, Dragon Quest, Fire Emblem, Mario Kart, WarioWare and Metroid.
The company explains that, “Online play for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games will be unaffected (aside from the Wii mode on Wii U and Nintendo DS games on Nintendo 3DS family systems). Other online functionality, such as access to the Wii Shop Channel, the Nintendo DSi Shop and video-on-demand services, are also not affected at this time.”
The Wii Speak service and the Channel associated with it will also be affected by the shutdown on May 20.
Nintendo is also thanking all players who have used the online functionality of its games so far.
It’s unclear why the company is eliminating the features at this point or how many players will be affected.
The problem is probably one of costs as Nintendo is spending more money to keep the online infrastructure active than it gets from sales of the games that actually use it.
Nintendo might also be actively working on getting as many players who are using its older hardware to switch to the newer 3DS handheld and Wii U home console, which also have more stable and more extensive online services.
The move will probably attract protests from long-term fans of some of the affected titles, but it’s unlikely that the measure will be reversed before May 20.
At the moment, Nintendo is focusing its resources on the trouble Wii U, trying to increase its abysmal sales numbers in the United States and in Europe.
The device is facing tough competition from both the Xbox One from Microsoft and the PlayStation 4 from Sony, and is expected to sell just 2.8 million units for the entire 2014 fiscal year, which ends on March 31.
The launches of Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. are expected to provide sales boosts.