Sad news for many 3DS owners today, as Nintendo has officially pulled the plug on the online component of the handheld’s popular Swapnote photo and message-sharing service. Originally made available for free in late 2011, Swapnote allowed players to send messages within the app to anyone on their online friend list, with the ability to write and doodle freeform across multiple sheets, as well as attach photos or sound files saved to the system’s SD card.
Nintendo cited the main reason for the shutdown of Swapnote (AKA Nintendo Letter Box in numerous countries outside of North America) as numerous users, including minors, sending inappropriate material to their friends via messages. The company ultimately decided that the best way to prevent this problem was to disable the online component of Swapnote altogether. Another former feature, which came in the form of promotional messages from Nintendo via a mascot Mii named Nikki, has also been discontinued.
Personally, this feels like the wrong decision from my point of view. Nintendo has always been hesitant to dip their feet into the now-thriving community of online gaming, and only recently, with titles like Pokemon X & Y, have they started offering robust Wi-Fi features in their games. Company representatives have stated in the past that they don’t want kids seeing or hearing inappropriate material from other gamers, but seeing how Swapnote was entirely reliant on each user’s friend list and not total strangers, you could always just delete a friend if you were offended by something they sent you.
Tell us, were you a frequent Swapnote user? If so, what are your thoughts on the app’s discontinuation and Nintendo’s reasoning behind it?