Nintendo Zone

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Nintendo Zone
Nintendo Zone logo.svg
The Nintendo Zone logo.
TypeOnline distribution service
Launch date
  • JP: November 27, 2008
  • NA: November 14, 2008
  • EU: April 25, 2012
  • NA: August 28, 2016
  • EU: March 28, 2018
PlatformNintendo DS
Nintendo DSi
Nintendo 3DS
StatusDiscontinued in NA and EU

Nintendo Zone was a download service and an extension of the DS Download Station.[1] Users could access content, third-party data, and other services from a hotspot or download station.[2] The service had demos of upcoming and currently available games and may have location-specific content. When the service debuted, users could also connect to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and DSi Shop.[3]

The Nintendo Zone Viewer application allowed the Nintendo DSi and 3DS to detect and use the Nintendo Zone service.[3][4] This application has been discontinued in North America, but all other Nintendo Zone functionality remains.[5]


In collaboration with the restaurant chain McDonald's, the service originated in the Kantō, Chūkyō and Kansai regions of Japan.[3] Over 1,000 DS Download Stations in Japan were planned to be converted into Nintendo Zones to enable SpotPass communications.[6] Nintendo Zone content was available at over 29,000 locations in the United States.[7] The service launched in Europe on April 25, 2012 with approximately 25,000 locations.[8] Nintendo announced in July 2013 that the service will receive StreetPass enhancements.[9] The StreetPass Relay Points system was introduced as part of an firmware update to Nintendo 3DS consoles in August 2013. When a 3DS owner visited a Nintendo Zone location his or her StreetPass data would have been stored there then transferred when another owner visited with the same games.[10] The viewer will always remain on even if it is out range of a Nintendo Zone.[11]

On December 8, 2011, a 3DS update began allowed users to access new Nintendo Zones through a variety of new hotspots. A press releases showed that Boingo Wireless teamed up with Nintendo of America Inc. to allow users automatic access to the zone within 42 Boingo-serviced airports within North America.[12] This has offered a new range of encounters and features without any additional cost.

In December 2013, a new feature was added on in celebration of National StreetPass Weekend.[13] This feature combined and mixed together all Nintendo Zones within North America into one and allowed users who come across a Nintendo Zone to streetpass and exchange data with other 3DS users from all around the continent, as opposed to only those 3DS users who have passed by that specific zone. Through this feature, users were able to StreetPass a maximum of 6 users at a time from other parts of North America. This feature helped raise awareness about Nintendo Zone and what it could offer to 3DS users. It encouraged 3DS users to access a nearby zone in order to meet users from other parts of the continent and to gather more StreetPass relay points.[14] Through this feature, many users were able to exchange information and gameplay items with other users. It also encouraged interaction between 3DS users who own the same game to initiate item exchanges that each users would be able to take away with them once the events are over.


Nintendo 3DS users were able to access the Nintendo Zone inside these following places:[15] Best Buy, Home Depot, and CrossIron Mills in Canada; and AT&T Retail Store, and McDonald's in the USA. Users could find nearby Nintendo Zones by searching for their city or postal code on the Nintendo website.[16]

DS Download Station[edit]

View inside a DS Download Station

The DS Download Station was an in-store demo service launched by Nintendo in early 2006. As the name states, these are stations that can be used to download game demos and trailers to a Nintendo DS.[17] The download station consists of a standard retail DS hidden inside a sealed box with a special DS Download Station cartridge inserted in it. The cartridge acts as a server for customers to download new game demos or videos. When Nintendo releases a new demo cartridge to retailers, they simply load the cartridge into the DS locked in the sealed box.[citation needed]

A DS Download Station could distribute only one game at a time, but can send the demos to up to fifteen DS systems simultaneously. The games can be downloaded by navigating to DS Download Play on the Nintendo DS's main menu and browsing for a DS Download Station in range. Players could choose from a wide range of games that refreshed every quarter of the year. The first game demos released were Tetris DS, Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!, Mario Kart DS and more.[citation needed] From there it would load a simple menu & loader application to facilitate loading the demo of the player's choice. The demos remain on the DS until the power is turned off.[18]

The US and European version of the DS Download Station are completely different from the Japanese version. The Japanese version uses 3 PCs, each connected to an Internet connection. The difference in design was due to most retail locations in the US at the time not having an available Internet connection, and therefore, a self-contained solution was necessary.[citation needed]

Thus far, there have been nineteen different volumes of DS Download Station, with each volume differing in content between North America, Europe, and Japan.[citation needed]

The DS Download Station had long since been discontinued, with all the Display DS being resold as normal Nintendo DS.


  1. ^ "Nintendo Zone test service were available at the Nintendo World store beginning November 14, 2008, but were discontinued as of April 25, 2016". Nintendo of America. Redmond, Washington: Nintendo. November 14, 2008.
  2. ^ "- Nintendo - Customer Service - Nintendo DSi/Nintendo DSi XL - End User Agreement". Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Satoru Iwata (October 2, 2008). "Nintendo Conference Fall 2008". Nintendo. p. 5. Retrieved May 22, 2009.
  4. ^ "Iwata Asks". Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "Nintendo Zone Viewer Service Update".
  6. ^ "Nintendo Conference 2010 - Presentation - Text". Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "Nintendo Zone Adds Pokémon Episodes and Game Demos". Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  9. ^ "EarthBound is Now Available; Enhancements to Nintendo Zone Announced". Reuters. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  10. ^ "3DS Update Introduces StreetPass Relay Points". IGN. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  11. ^ "Nintendo Zone Viewer Overview". Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  12. ^ O'Neil, Katie. "BOINGO AND NINTENDO TEAM TO CONNECT NINTENDO 3DS USERS ON-THE-GO". Boingo Press Releases. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  13. ^ McMinn, Kevin (December 12, 2013). "Get Ready For National StreetPass Weekend Beginning This Saturday". Nintendonews. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  14. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (December 6, 2013). "Nintendo of America Announces StreetPass Weekend and Nintendo Zone Shake-Up". nintendolite. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  15. ^ Grubb, Jeffrey (August 6, 2013). "3DS owners can now get StreetPasses from Nintendo Zone retail locations". Gamesbeat. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  16. ^ "Nintendo". Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  17. ^ Gwinn, Eric (February 14, 2006). "Nintendo signals gaming's next wave: [Chicago Final Edition]". Chicago Tribune: 5.5. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  18. ^ "The Legend Builds: Nintendo DS Offers Bold New Features". PR Newswire: 1. Feb 9, 2006.