Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection logo
|Launch date||November 14, 2005|
Nintendo DS Lite
Nintendo DSi XL
|Status||Discontinued (May 20, 2014)|
The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection (ニンテンドーWi-Fiコネクション Nintendō Wi-Fi Konekushon?) (commonly abbreviated WFC) was an online multiplayer gaming service run by Nintendo to provide free online play in compatible Nintendo DS and Wii games. The service included the company's Wii Shop Channel and DSi Shop game download services, which still work. It also ran features for the Wii and Nintendo DS systems.
Games designed to take advantage of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection offered Internet play integrated into the game. When promoting this service, Nintendo emphasized the simplicity and speed of starting an online game. For example, in Mario Kart DS, an online game was initiated by selecting the online multiplayer option from the main menu, then choosing whether to play with friends, or to play with other gamers (either in the local region or worldwide) at about the same skill level. After a selection was made, the game started searching for an available player.
On January 26, 2012, it was announced by Nintendo during an investors' meeting that the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service will be succeeded by and absorbed into Nintendo Network. This new online system will eventually unify the 3DS and Wii U platforms and replace Friend Codes, while providing paid downloadable content, an online community style multiplayer system, and personal accounts. Nintendo Network is fully supported on the Nintendo 3DS and on the Wii U, whilst still continuing providing partial legacy support for both Wii and Nintendo DS under the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection brand. Specifically, the Wii U can boot to Wii mode and then access the Wii Message Board messages which have been recorded by the gameplay progress of compatible local games, but it cannot send Wii Message Board messages remotely between different machines.
The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service was terminated on May 20, 2014 for all Wii and DS games; online play features incorporated into these games are no longer available. The shutdown is connected to the shutdown of multiplayer services by GameSpy, who was acquired by Glu Mobile in 2012. 3DS and Wii U games are not affected by the shutdown because their multiplayer platform uses Nintendo's own infrastructure instead of a third-party service. The Wii Shop Channel, DSiWare shop, third-party video services, and the Pay & Play variants will remain active for the moment.
The shutdown had an immediate effect on all Nintendo-published Wii and Nintendo DS titles, however it may not necessarily apply to certain third-party titles, which could have separate servers running their own games' online functions. For example, Electronic Arts revealed that some of the games they published on the Wii and Nintendo DS had their online support terminated on June 30, 2014.
A small selection of online-enabled Wii games, such as newer FIFA and Call of Duty games and Dragon Quest X, which by happenstance are not branded under the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, may continue using their online functions normally.
- 1 Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection architecture
- 2 Features
- 2.1 Friend Codes
- 2.2 Pay & Play
- 2.3 WiiConnect24
- 2.4 BBC iPlayer
- 2.5 Wii Shop Channel
- 2.6 Virtual Console Channels
- 2.7 WiiWare Channels
- 2.8 Nintendo DSi Shop
- 2.9 Flipnote Hatena
- 2.10 Netflix
- 2.11 Internet Browser
- 2.12 Forecast Channel
- 2.13 News Channel
- 2.14 Everybody Votes Channel
- 2.15 LOVEFiLM Channel
- 2.16 YouTube Channel
- 2.17 Check Mii Out Channel
- 2.18 Television Friend Channel
- 2.19 Digicam Print Channel
- 2.20 Today and Tomorrow Channel
- 2.21 Wii My Room Channel
- 2.22 Demae Channel
- 2.23 Nintendo Channel
- 2.24 Mario Kart Channel
- 3 Wii Message Board
- 4 Games
- 5 Connection options
- 6 Official website
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection architecture
|System||Wii||Nintendo DSi/DSi XL||Nintendo DS/Lite|
|Online Shop||Wii Shop Channel||Nintendo DSi Shop||N/A|
|Loyalty Program||Club Nintendo|
|System Update||Wii System Update||Nintendo DSi System Update||N/A|
Services and apps discontinued prior to May 20, 2014:
- Wii no Ma - ceased operations on April 30, 2012.
- Kirby TV Channel - ceased operations on October 2012.
- As Nintendo terminated the WiiConnect24 service worldwide on June 28, 2013, the following Wii Channels have been consequently closed:
- Flipnote Studio was replaced by Flipnote Studio 3D on June 1, 2013.
- The Pokémon Global Link for fifth generation Pokémon games - phased out between October 1, 2013 and January 14, 2014 inclusively.
The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection was developed to be easy to connect to, safe for everyone to use, and free. Games designed to take advantage of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection offered Internet play integrated into the game. The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection supported up to sixteen players on the Nintendo DS and thirty-two players on the Wii. Basic features of the Wi-Fi Connection included worldwide matchmaking, leaderboards, tournaments. Additional features were available between friends who exchanged Friend Codes.
Each game that used the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection generated a unique twelve digit Friend Code that could be exchanged with friends and be used to maintain individual friend lists in each game. Though certain games could be played online without a Friend Code, a Friend Code was required to play with a specific person. Friend Codes were generated from an identifier unique to a copy of a game and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection ID of a DS or Wii system. Using a different copy of a game or loading the same copy in a different system generated a new Friend Code. If users wanted to become "Friends", they had to mutually add Friend Codes and be authenticated as Friends once both of them were online. Nintendo introduced these features as conscious steps to preserve users' privacy. If a DS or Wii game was sold, but not the system, there was no risk of the purchaser impersonating the seller. If a user needed to replace his or her DS system, then the old system's Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection ID could be transferred wirelessly, in order to maintain the user's original Friend Codes on the new machine. Some games required that the user had to use Friend Codes to use any online functionality.
Many games have additional features that are enabled between registered friends. These may include customized matchmaking options, cooperative play, friend lists, text chat, and voice chat. Certain Wii games use the 16-digit Wii Number to share some data passively between mutually registered users via WiiConnect24 instead of using independent Friend Codes. Although, some of these games may use both the 16-digit Wii Number and its own 12-digit Friend Code, depending on whether the online connectivity requires either passive data-sharing or active multiplaying respectively.
Pay & Play
In 2008, Nintendo announced a new feature for the Wi-Fi Connection called Pay & Play. Games that use the Pay & Play feature may have additional downloadable content (DLC) or services that require extra fees. These fees will be paid for using Nintendo Points. A special red Wi-Fi Connection logo with the words "Pay & Play" is used to distinguish these games from the regular free Wi-Fi games.
The first games to feature Pay & Play were released in Japan as part of WiiWare on the March 25, 2008. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King, Kotoba no Puzzle Mojipittan Wii and Lonpos each had downloadable content available for 100 to 800 Wii Points. The first retail Wii titles to feature Pay & Play functionality are Samba de Amigo, Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band 2.
WiiConnect24 was shut down on June 28, 2013. WiiConnect24 was a feature of Wii that allowed the system to be connected to the Internet even when the console was in standby mode. Games and channels that utilized WiiConnect24 could send and receive data even while the game was not being played. Players who wished to send data to friends only needed to register each other's Wii System Code and not individual Friend Codes. Players could also send messages to their friends using WiiConnect24 from the Wii Message Board. When a message was received, the Wii's slot light glowed blue. WiiConnect24 is succeeded by SpotPass for newer Nintendo consoles.
On April 9, 2008, the BBC announced that its online BBC iPlayer would be available on the Wii via the Internet Channel browser. Some users experienced difficulties with the service. On November 18, 2009, BBC iPlayer on the Wii was relaunched as the BBC iPlayer Channel, which is free to download from the Wii Shop Channel. The service is only available to users in the United Kingdom.
Wii Shop Channel
The Wii Shop Channel allows users to download games and other software by redeeming Wii Points, which can be obtained by purchasing Nintendo Points cards from retail outlets or directly through the Wii Shop Channel using MasterCard or Visa debit/credit cards online. Users can browse in the Virtual Console, WiiWare, or Wii Channels sections for downloads. A feature to purchase downloaded software as gifts for others became available worldwide on December 10, 2007. Additional channels that were not released at the console's launch are available for purchase in the Wii Shop Channel. These include: Internet Channel, Everybody Votes Channel, Check Mii Out Channel, Nintendo Channel, Netflix Channel, Hulu Plus Channel and the Japan-only Television Friend Channel. Currently all downloadable channels are free of charge.
Virtual Console Channels
Virtual Console channels are channels that allow users to play their downloaded Virtual Console games obtained from the Wii Shop Channel. The Virtual Console portion of the Wii Shop Channel specializes in older software originally designed and released for home entertainment platforms that are now defunct. These games are played on the Wii through the emulation of the older hardware. The prices are generally the same in almost every region and are determined primarily by the software's original platform.
Functioning similarly to the Virtual Console channels, WiiWare channels allow users to use their WiiWare games obtained from the Wii Shop Channel. The WiiWare section specializes in downloadable software specifically designed for the Wii. The first WiiWare games were made available on March 25, 2008 in Japan. WiiWare games launched in North America on May 12, 2008, and launched in Europe and Australia on May 20, 2008.
The WiiWare section is being touted as a forum to provide developers with small budgets to release smaller-scale games without the investment and risk of creating a title to be sold at retail (somewhat similar to the Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Store). While actual games have been planned to appear in this section since its inception, there had been no official word on when any would be appearing until June 27, 2007, when Nintendo made an official confirmation in a press release which revealed the first titles would surface sometime in 2008. According to Nintendo, "The remarkable motion controls will give birth to fresh takes on established genres, as well as original ideas that currently exist only in developers' minds."
Like Virtual Console games, WiiWare games are purchased using Wii Points. Nintendo handles all pricing options for the downloadable games.
Nintendo DSi Shop
The Nintendo Wii received Netflix on March 27, 2010 only for American and Canadian owners but a Netflix disc was required. As of October 18, 2010 American and Canadian Wii owners could watch Netflix instantly as a channel without requiring a disc.
The Nintendo Wii, DS and DSi can surf the internet with a downloadable browser. The Nintendo Wii and DSi browsers are powered by Opera, but the Nintendo 3DS browser is powered by NetFront. The Nintendo DS's web browser, also powered by Opera, requires a DS card and a RAM expansion through the Game Boy Advance port.
The Forecast Channel first became available on December 19, 2006, and was shut down on June 28, 2013 along with its foundational WiiConnect24. The Forecast Channel allowed weather reports and forecasts to be shown on the console from the Internet via the WiiConnect24 service. The Forecast Channel displayed a view of the Earth as a user-spinnable globe (courtesy of NASA), with which users could view weather in other regions. When fully zoomed out, an accurate star map was visible in the background. The Big Dipper and the constellation Orion are easily recognizable, for example. The Forecast Channel features included the current forecast, the UV index, today's overall forecast, tomorrow's forecast, a 5-day forecast (only for the selected country you live in), and a laundry check (Japan only). Certain games like Madden NFL 07, Nights: Journey of Dreams, and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games could use the Forecast Channel to simulate weather conditions depending on the player's region.
The News Channel allows users to access news headlines and current news events obtained from the Internet. News articles are available on a globe view, similar to the Forecast Channel, and as a slide show. The content was automatically updated and viewable via WiiConnect24 with clickable news images supported.
The News Channel became available in North America, Europe, and Australia on January 26, 2007. Content is in a variety of languages provided by the Associated Press, which currently has a two-year contract to provide news and photos to Nintendo. Canadian news is submitted by The Canadian Press for publication. Japanese news is provided by Goo. European news is provided by Agence France-Presse.
Starting with the August 6, 2007 update, the News Channel shows a news ticker in the Wii Menu. However, not visiting the channel for a period of time will result in the ticker not appearing, until the channel is viewed. A December 20, 2007 PAL region update increased the number of news feeds to the channel, sourced from a larger number of news resources and agencies, providing more news that is available per country. As with the Forecast Channel, the News Channel is not available in South Korea. The News Channel was shut down on June 28, 2013.  
Everybody Votes Channel
Everybody Votes Channel allowed users to vote in simple opinion polls and compare and contrast opinions with those of friends, family, and people across the globe.
Everybody Votes Channel was launched on February 13, 2007, and was available in the Wii Channels section of the Wii Shop Channel. The application allowed Wii owners to vote on various questions using their Mii as a registered voter. Additionally, voters could also make predictions for the choice that would be the most popular overall after their own vote had been cast. Each Mii's voting and prediction record was tracked and voters could also view how their opinions compared to others. Whether the Mii was correct in its predictions or not, it was displayed on a statistics page, along with a counter of how many times that Mii voted. Up to six Miis could be registered to vote on the console. The channel was free to download. Each player could make a suggestion for a poll a day. Everybody Votes Channel was shut down on June 28, 2013.
As of December 4, 2012, a LOVEFiLM channel is available to download in the UK.
The YouTube channel allows the user to view YouTube videos on the television screen and has the ability to sign into an existing YouTube account. The YouTube channel, which became available without warning, is currently only available in the North American and Australian versions of the Wii system, with the North American release on November 15, 2012, only three days before the Wii U was released in North America. Google plans to gradually make the channel available on Wii in other countries besides the aforementioned regions. The YouTube channel was initially categorized on the Wii Shop Channel as a "WiiWare" title by mistake, but this was later fixed when the Wii U Transfer Tool channel became available.
Check Mii Out Channel
The Check Mii Out Channel (also known as the Mii Contest Channel and the WatchMii Channel), is a channel that allows players to share their Miis and enter them into popularity contests. It was first available on November 11, 2007. It is available free to download from the Wii Channels section of the Wii Shop Channel.
Users can post their own Miis in the Posting Plaza, or import other user-submitted Miis to their own personal Mii Parade. Each submitted Mii is assigned a 12-digit entry number to aid in searching. Submitted Miis are given 2 initials by their creator and a notable skill/talent to aid in sorting.
In the Contests section, players can submit their own Miis to compete in contests to best fit a certain description (e.g. Mario without his cap). After the time period for sending a Mii has expired, the user has the choice of voting for three Miis featured on the judging panel, with ten random Miis being shown at a time. Once the judging period is over, the results of the contest may be viewed. Their selection and/or submission's popularity in comparison to others is displayed, as well as the winning Mii and user.
The Check Mii Out Channel sends messages to the Wii Message Board concerning recent contests. Participants in certain contests can add their user and submitted Mii to a photo with a background related to the contest theme. This picture can then be sent to the Wii Message Board. Check Mii Out Channel was shutdown on June 28, 2013.
Television Friend Channel
The Television Friend Channel allows Wii users to check what programs are on the television. Content is provided by Guide Plus. The channel is said to be "very fun and Nintendo-esque". A "stamp" feature allows users to mark programs of interest with a Mii-themed stamp. If an e-mail address or mobile phone number has been registered in the address book, the channel can send out an alert 30 minutes prior to the start of the selected program. The channel tracks the stamps of all Wii users and allows users to rate programs on a five-star scale. Additionally, when the channel is active the Wii Remote can be used to change the TV's volume and channel so that users can tune into their shows by way of the channel. The Television Friend Channel launched in Japan on March 4, 2008. It is not going to be launched outside Japan, as most countries, unlike Japan, have a guide built into set-top boxes and/or TVs.
Digicam Print Channel
The Digicam Print Channel is a channel developed in collaboration with Fujifilm that allow users to import their digital photos from an SD card and place them into templates for printable photo books and business cards through a software wizard. The user is also able to place their Mii on a business card. The completed design is then sent online to Fujifilm who print and deliver the completed product to the user. The processing of individual photos is also available.
The Digicam Print Channel became available from July 23, 2008 in Japan. It was planned to be available in Europe, Australia, and North America, but was shut down on June 28, 2013.
Today and Tomorrow Channel
The Today and Tomorrow Channel became available in Japan on December 2, 2008, and in Europe, Australia, and South Korea on September 9, 2009. The channel was developed in collaboration with Media Kobo and allowed users to view fortunes for up to six Miis across five categories: love, work, study, communications, and money. The channel also featured a compatibility test that compared two Miis, and it also gave out "lucky words" that had to be interpreted by the user. The channel used Mii birthdate data, but users had to input a birth year whenever they were loaded on to the channel.
Wii My Room Channel
A video on-demand service channel was released in Japan on May 1, 2009, it was planned to be released in North America.The channel is a joint venture between Nintendo and Japanese advertising agency Dentsu. The channel's interface is built around a virtual living room, where up to 8 Miis can be registered and interact with each other. The virtual living room contains a TV which takes the viewer to the video list. Celebrity "concierge" Miis occasionally introduce special programming.
A food delivery service channel was released in Japan on May 26, 2009. The channel is a joint venture between Nintendo and Japanese on-line food delivery portal service Demae-can. The channel offers a wide range of foods provided by different food delivery companies which can be ordered directly through the Wii channel. A note is posted to the Wii Message Board containing what had been ordered and the total price. The food is then delivered to the address the Wii user has registered on the channel. It is only available in Japan.
The Nintendo Channel (also known as the Everybody's Nintendo Channel in Japan), was launched in Japan on November 27, 2007, in North America on May 7, 2008, and in Europe and Australia on May 30, 2008., and was shut down on June 28, 2013. It allowed Wii users to watch videos such as interviews, trailers, commercials, and even download demos for the Nintendo DS. In this capacity, the channel worked in a similar way to the DS Download Station. The channel provided games info pages and users could rate games that they had played. A search feature was also available to assist users in finding new games to try or buy. The channel had the ability to take the user directly into the Wii Shop Channel for buying the wanted game immediately. The Nintendo Channel is updated with different Nintendo DS demos and new videos every week; the actual day of the week varies across different international regions.
An updated version of the Nintendo Channel was released in Japan on July 15, 2009, North America on September 14, 2009, and in Europe on December 15, 2009. The update introduces a new interface and additional features, options, and statistics for users to view. However, the European version is missing some of these new additional features, such as options for choosing video quality. In addition, a weekly show known as Nintendo Week began airing exclusively on the North American edition of the channel, while another weekly show Nintendo TV, is available on the UK version of the channel.
Mario Kart Channel
Mario Kart Wii allows players to install the Mario Kart Channel on their Wii console. The channel can work without inserting the Mario Kart Wii disc into the console, but to compete in races and time trials the disc is required. The use of the Mario Kart Channel allows for a number of options. A ranking option lets players see their best Time Trial scores for each track and compare their results to those of their friends and other players worldwide, represented by their Miis. Players will have the option of racing against the random or selective ghosts, or improving their results gradually by taking on the ghosts of rivals, those with similar race times. Users have the option to submit these times for others around the world to view. Players can also manage and register friends using the channel and see if any of them are currently online.
Another feature of the channel are Tournaments, where Nintendo will, on a regular basis, invite players to challenges similar to the missions on Mario Kart DS. Players are also able to compare their competition rankings with other players.
Wii Message Board
The Message Board's online connectivity is now defunct, along with the shutdown of its foundational WiiConnect24 service. It allowed users to leave messages for friends, family members, or other users on a calendar-based message board. Users could also use WiiConnect24 to trade messages and pictures with other Wii owners, conventional email accounts (email pictures to console, but not pictures to email), and mobile phones (through text messages). Each Wii had an individual wii.com email account containing the Wii Number. Prior to trading messages, it was necessary to add and approve contacts in the address book, although the person added would not get a notification of the request. The service also alerted all users of incoming game-related information.
Message Board was available for users to post messages that are available to other Wii users by usage of Wii Numbers with the now defunct WiiConnect24. In addition to writing text, players could also include images from an SD card in the body of messages, as well as attaching a Mii to the message. Announcements of software updates and video game news were posted by Nintendo. The Message Board could be used for posting memos for oneself or for family members without going online. These messages could then be put on any day of the calendar. The Wii Message Board could also be updated automatically by a real-time game like Animal Crossing: City Folk.
Users with the Wii Speak peripheral were able to access the Wii Speak Channel. Users could join one of four rooms (with no limit to the number of people in each room) to chat with others online. Each user is represented by their own Mii, which lip-syncs to their words. In addition, users could also leave audio messages for other users by sending a message to their Wii Message Board. Users could also share photo slide shows and comment on them. The Wii Speak Channel became available in North America and Europe on December 5, 2008.
The first Wi-Fi Connection games were Mario Kart DS and Tony Hawk's American Sk8land for the Nintendo DS, both released on November 15, 2005, followed by Animal Crossing: Wild World in Japan on November 23 and in North America on December 5. The first Wii Wi-Fi Connection games were released in 2006 in Japan and in 2007 overseas. In Japan and North America the first game was Pokémon Battle Revolution. In Europe, Australia, and New Zealand the first game was Mario Strikers Charged.
Since May 20, 2014, it is no longer possible to download additional content for games, as the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service was terminated on that date.
The Nintendo DS has an 802.11 wireless adapter built in allowing the DS to access the service via a compatible wireless network. Support for 802.11b clients must be offered by an access point for a DS to be able to connect to it. Public hotspots that use a captive portal can be accessed after login using the Nintendo DS Browser.
Prior to the release of the Nintendo DSi, neither consoles nor games could support security protocols more advanced than WEP. Even after the Nintendo DSi's release, only online-enabled games made exclusively or enhanced for usage on this console iteration were able to support the Nintendo DSi's native online connection. This extended to the Nintendo 3DS as well, conditional the console's native online connection setting is the same as the Nintendo DSi, as other advanced settings were also unsupported.
The Wii has an 802.11b/g wireless adapter built-in. Due to flaws in its implementation, however, it is only capable of working when the 802.11 (legacy mode) basic rates of 1 Mbit/s and 2 Mbit/s are advertised by an access point. This means that 802.11b support must be offered on an access point for a Wii to be able to connect to it. It is compatible with WEP, WPA with TKIP or CCMP, and WPA2 with CCMP. The Wii is also AOSS compatible as of the 3.0 system update. The connection settings allows players to configure access to and save settings for up to three different networks. Connection settings can be detected automatically or entered manually. The Wii does not have an Ethernet port built in, but can be connected via wired LAN with a USB Ethernet adapter available from Nintendo and third parties.
Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector
If a compatible wireless network is not available, the Nintendo DS and Wii can also connect through the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector. Broadband Internet access is not required to make use of this connectivity, though it is recommended to reduce network latency. It was priced at the Nintendo Online Store, however it has since been discontinued due to legal issues. Its replacement, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Network Adapter, and many third party products, provide similar functionality.
Nintendo is working with hotspot providers to allow free access in public for Nintendo DS users. In 2005, Nintendo made an agreement with Texas-based firm Wayport, Inc. to provide access in McDonald's Restaurants in the U.S. However, the deal was not renewed and has since expired. A similar partnership with FatPort to create free hotspots in Canada was announced by Nintendo of Canada on October 19, 2005.
In 2006 former Director of Marketing for Nintendo of Europe Jim Merrick announced that Nintendo was planning total of 25,000 hotspots in Europe, with 7,500 in UK alone thanks to a partnership with The Cloud and BT Openzone.
Nintendo of Australia initially announced on November 17, 2005 that they would roll out only 26 hotspots across the country, in partnership with selected EB Games, Myer and Dick Smith Powerhouse stores. On April 14, 2007, Nintendo announced that over one thousand additional free hotspots had been added in a partnership with Telstra Wireless, providing access in selected hotels, airports, Starbucks cafes, and McDonald's restaurants.
|Hotspot providers with free access to Nintendo DS users|
Nintendo created the official Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection web site as a portal for gamers looking to access the service or whom were in need of troubleshooting assistance. The website had live statistics and data from the service's servers and recorded high scores and service status. It also allowed a user to link his or her Nintendo DS Wi-Fi Connection ID to a My Nintendo account. As of November 2008, the site has closed in North America and has now moved into a subsection of the Games section on Nintendo.com. On May 20, 2014, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Service was shut down, and because of that, Nintendo has deleted the subsection on its website.
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- List of messaging applications for Nintendo game consoles
- PlayStation Network
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