Last night, just before the launch of the Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo shut down the SpotPass functionality in the Swapnote app on Nintendo 3DS. Their reasons seem to stem from the ability to send photos through the service. Even though you must be friends to send the photos, it seems many have been sending inappropriate photos.
Instead of releasing an update that disables just the use of photos, Nintendo decided to suspend the ability to send messages at all. Granted, the use of StreetPass is still available, but this requires you to be friends and pass each other in person. Discontinuing the service, however, seems to point to further plans.
Could this shut-down be connected to the launch of the 2DS, which is largely marketed toward young children? Could it be connected with the eventual launch of Miiverse on their handhelds, thus making the service obsolete, anyway? While we cannot read Nintendo’s mind, and they have not released any statements that answer these questions, we feel safe assuming they were definitely in the minds of those who made the final call.
Along with canceling SpotPass functions, Nintendo has also suspended “special notes,” which came from Nintendo or other specific developers. These notes usually involved announcements of an upcoming game or feature. They also, most often, contained new stationary to use in future notes. The most unfortunate news for many of us is that all this means we will no longer wake up to a new Swapnote from our friend Nikki anymore. (Hmmm… Did she just lose her job?)
If you were like me, and you have not used Swapnote in quite a while, you probably are not too upset. If you were one of those who were still using Swapnote, though, let us know what you think about this move. Are you sad to see the service die, or are you more excited for Miiverse to finally launch?
FULL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM NINTENDO OF AMERICA:
Notice about service for Nintendo 3DS software Swapnote
Thank you for your support.
Nintendo has learned that some consumers, including minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material. Nintendo has been investigating ways of preventing this and determined it is best to stop the SpotPass feature of Swapnote because it allows direct exchange of photos and was actively misused.
Nintendo always wants to provide a positive experience for all consumers and limit the risk of any inappropriate activity or misuse of a service. We feel it is important on this occasion to take this action.
We are very sorry for any inconvenience to the many consumers who have been using this service responsibly; however this decision was made considering the point that many minors also use this feature of Swapnote. Thank you for your understanding.
Nintendo will continue to work to ensure more consumers are aware of our Parental Control features, which allow parents to manage their children’s experience on our systems. For more information, please click here.
Service stop date: Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 7 p.m. PT
Service being stopped: Nintendo 3DS software Swapnote – Sending and receiving notes using SpotPass
Affected regions: All regions where the service was offered
Special Notes services are also stopped.
[Announcement via Nintendo.com]