Nintendo has announced today that May 20th of this year will be the last day of online connectivity for any and all Wii and DS titles. In much the same fashion as Microsoft with OG Xbox Live and EA with their yearly cuts, Nintendo is taking the all too common approach of a massive shutdown of old servers to pave the way for newer games and services. Among the affected titles that are still relevant and active are Mario Kart DS, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and every DS Pokemon game. It’s worth noting that this shutdown will not effect eShop services, or apps such as YouTube and Netflix, it is only for online games and one service, the “remember when this was going to be a thing” WiiSpeak microphone.
Perhaps it is unrealistic to expect companies such as Nintendo to keep services going indefinitely, but this is affecting games that came out less than five years ago. This is affecting single player games such as the Professor Layton series, which had puzzles on the cart that could only be unlocked after checking what day it was on a server that will no longer be running. Every time this happens, a piece of gaming history is lost, and no matter how small that history is, it’s still important. Games on PC have released their source code and had fan communities rebuild their online infrastructure after official support was gone, but the closed market of consoles makes this impossible without breaking the law in some way. But these lawbreakers are doing a service in some sense, and here’s hoping that companies will eventually see the value in preserving their legacy themselves rather than leaving it to their most dedicated fans.