Was it Wise for Nintendo to Discontinue Wii and DS Online Services?
You may have heard that Nintendo will be ending online services for their old generation consoles, Wii and DS, starting in May. For a list of affected games with discontinued online connectivity, click here.
Many people are speculating that Nintendo is shutting down online services as a strategic move to drive people to the newer generations, like the Wii U and the 3DS. But is this a wise move? It is a smart marketing move to essentially cut off the life support of old games that people still loved to play just to force gamers to spend more money on something new?
There's no denying that it makes logical sense. If we can't play old games, we might as well buy new ones. But is it really that simple? I would suggest that the people still playing Mario Kart DS online or Super Smash Brothers Brawl are not doing so as a substitute to enjoying brand new titles. We're still playing those games because they're still good. We still like them. And other people are still playing them.
I still connect to the internet using a lot of the games on that list, including Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, Tetris DS, and Metroid Prime Hunters. Even so, I've since purchased two new Tetris games, played all the newest Metroid titles, and completed Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move 100%. In other words, I'm still buying new games and enjoying them. I only go back to those old titles because Nintendo games have such incredible replay value--especially if they can go online.
Similarly, I purchased a new copy of Smash Brothers Brawl (since my brother took ours with him when he moved out) solely so that we could play online together. I bought that game only about a year ago, which means it was a bad investment. Once May roles around, I probably won't play it again.
I'm not furious with Nintendo for shutting down online services for such great and still-relevant games; I have a lot of games to entertain me. But I don't think this drastic move was necessary. Any other excuse they may have for discontinuing service is simply not viable. It costs very little to keep these online communities going, and they've done just fine doing it in the past. Any cash, time, and energy they'll save by closing the services will contribute too much to fan outrage and disappointment to be worth the risk.