News Article

Iwata Hints at Upcoming Swapnote Update

Posted by James Newton

What's on the way?

Swapnote/Nintendo Letter Box is still compelling many 3DS owners to open their console every day to see what's new, and Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has hinted that there may be more to come from the app in the future.

Speaking to investors, Iwata revealed that over 10 million notes were exchanged within four weeks of the app becoming available, but acknowledged the software could grow in popularity:

And, I believe that the number of handwritten notes to be exchanged will increase at an accelerated pace if we can have users continue to enjoy the software for a long time. In fact, we have some plans to encourage more people to use it, and you will find out what I am talking about when we reveal such plans in the future. Therefore, we believe this software will gain more popularity going forward.

Iwata also may be hinting at an upcoming promotion, perhaps along the lines of the Zelda Flipnote campaign, or something else entirely. He's cagey, that Iwata.

What upgrades would you like to see made to Swapnote? If you've stopped using it, what would entice you back?


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User Comments (77)



Rocketship said:

Unlikely but I hope they update for instant messaging, or at least provide an instant messaging feature, would greatly improve the online capabilities!



Victoria said:

It would be nice to find a way to organize the notes. And a way to delete multipul posts at once would be handy. I hit the 3000 post mark yesterday thinking that they would start deleting the old ones automatically ... NOPE. I had to go back and do them all one by one.



robohobo93 said:

I still use it everyday. I always use it to keep in touch with a friend whose computer got a virus and I still have fun trying to figure out funny ways to use the other stationery. I definitely wouldn't mind an update though, even if it was only to add more stationery or even ink colors, but new features would be great too... though I can't really think of anything specific that I would want.



grumblebuzzz said:

I would definitely like a way to organize the notes. Folders with each friend's mii on them would be a nice solution. Also being able to reply to replies would be great. It sucks when someone asks you a question in a thread that you've posted and you have to write an entirely separate note and address it straight to them. I'd also like an option to include typed text with my messages. I have what is called an essential tremor (my hands shake) and some days it's hard to write legibly on the 3DS touchscreen. Aside from these minor upgrades, new stationary (both normal and Nintendo-themed) would be great for Swapnote as well.



Eldin said:

Colors, instant messaging, animation and infinite ink. It's so annoying when you are trying to draw something really cool, and then the ink is depleted. Fix, Nintendo! D;



ArcanaXVI said:

Instant messaging would do it for me. Pictochat's one downfall was that it had no online capability--this is a great chance for Nintendo to remedy that.



mac_hine said:

@heavy barrel: that is a great idea!

as for new features i would like:
Ink colors
ability to respond to reply's
different style pens



Smooth27 said:

For notes to be instant! Its annoying how their not its the only way ill go back, but as a bonus they should add the ability to msg emails and phones like the wii. But instantaneous is what I want!!



CrazyOtto said:

Flipnote Memo fused in with Swapnote? I hope the update at least allows you to sort out notes by the friend that made it.



advance_melee said:

I want the notes to send instantaneous. Its basically pointless because we got Phones that can text and computers that can email instantly.



advance_melee said:

Everytime I send a note I dont hear back from the person for a while sometimes up to a week. By that time it's outdated, hell snail mail is faster. My bro asked me to day if i got my swap note and I was like no not yet.... it sucks that you have to have your family or freind let you know you might have note.



SkywardLink98 said:

Colors, a "Delete all" button, a stationary that doesn't mess up the photo, video support, longer sound recordings, videos, and text. (I can't read half the notes I get.)



OldBoy said:

Hmm ,I wonder how many of those 10million were just pictures of willies though? I know at least 15 of them were



bonesy91 said:

more ink?
instant messaging?
voice chat using our miis?
organize by friends list?

no, probably just more stationary...



Marks said:

I would love organization!
I also, but I'm not sure if this is possible, desire for it not to be an application. I would love to pause my game, go to the home menu, and message someone without closing my game. It could be beside the little "friend list" icon on top.



Kirk said:

Well I certainly think they'll have some kind of Swapnote App for WiiU so maybe there will be some kind of cross compatibility between the home and portable versions.



Minny said:

Swapnote is a great idea in theory. It allows me to drop a note to a friend after an on-line game of Mario Kart, saying good game. However, it is such a bare bones program. Getting stupid updates from that girl (can't that just make a tuturial/help section for that?), and the fact the notes are all strung along, without a way to delete them as a group. It would be nice to Nintendo to finally give us some options to customize things, and not just appearance, but having notes lined up similar to an e-mail, with the ability to erase the notes just like you can with e-mail.



alLabouTandroiD said:

Most of all i'd want it to StreetPass with everyone else that has it activated. Regardless of if he's my friend or not. (If parents are worried about inappropriate messages they could surely lock its StreetPass use.) It may be it's already possible and i just haven't had any luck. It's just too vaguely documented if you post everyone or just friends with StreetPass imo.



SLiM said:

A method to delete notes in mass would be nice. Best new feature would be instant messaging hands down. We need a faster way to communicate with the people on our friend's lists.



Shock_Tart said:

like a multitude of people have already stated an instant message feature would be nice. also some organization and a way to delete multiple notes at a time. as well as a keyboard feature if u dont wanna hand write. also the ability to send people messages who are in ur mii plaza so u can swap friend codes with them.



NintyMan said:

There's several things they should do, mainly a better way to organize notes. I think with some fine-tuning it can be better.



Shock_Tart said:

now that i think about it. anyone remember picto chat? and how much of a let down that was because you couldnt go online with it. and it was pointless to pictochat someone because they were right beside you? add the elements of picto chat to swapnote and just make it online compatable. that would be awesome



JohnDoe123 said:

I stopped using Swapnote less then a week after release. Mainly because nobody sent me notes. That's something Nintendo can't fix.



saikun said:

A huuuuuuge polishing on the note editor, disable the limits on ink, number of notes, colors, responses, etc.... and a better online performance. The problem about notes arriving to some contancs way later than others is constant. I think those are the main points to improve, rather than including new features



Chris720 said:

Give me a keyboard and I'll be happy. I don't mind handwriting, but some peoples handwriting is atrocious!

I wouldn't mind some extra colours, but I can deal with just black. Multiple responses would be awesome too.

Also, the ink limit can't be increased or got rid of. When you send a message it "writes" the message on the screen, therefore taking up memory space. If you had unlimited ink the message would be huge!



kyuubikid213 said:

I only want three things.
A keyboard (I have atrocious handwriting and so do my friends)
Unlimited Ink (seriously? who's idea was an ink limit?)
Instant messaging (makes setting up MK7 matches easier)



alLabouTandroiD said:

More needed changes:

  • Being able to use ten second sound clips like in the Sound Channel
  • Options to rotate and maybe cut out parts of your photos in SwapNote or the Photo app

It could also be great if you'd be able to include short videos.



Sylverstone said:

What would I like....

More colors.
The ability to share video.
Some sort of integration with Flipnote Studio (whenever it comes out)
More ink, please?
Adding replies to replies.



StarDust4Ever said:

For starters... As it stands, I have no friends with 3DSs, so the option to send notes to people I already know is useless to me. If only I could send notes to people I have made streetpass connections with. Also, an option to add streetpass contacts from Mii Plaza to my friend list would have been nice. Perhaps then I can for once actually meet and chat with other people in my area who own 3DSs. But oh-no, Nintendo is scared it will invade privacy of children! Why does Nintendo view every 3DS owner as a potential stalker?



ReptilynSamurai said:

The bases have pretty much been covered by comments here already.

Replies to replies. It just makes sense to be able to continue to reply in the same thread. Also make marking a message as a 'favorite' also mark all replies as such, so they don't get deleted to clear space when you hit the limit.

Re-send replies to new recipients if more people you are friends with get sent the initial swapnote message.

Streetpass messages that can be broadcast to anyone not on friends list (to bring back some of that pictochat fun from conventions). There can be parental features to prevent receiving these messages.

Typing! I too have bad handwriting.

The ability to record sound / take photos from within the swapnote app, to make it easier to incorporate these features. Support full 10-second recordings (why the inconsistency, Nintendo?)

The ability to send 3D videos. Now that the 3DS Camera can take them, this would be a great way to share them!

A good way to sort/filter messages.

Make it easier to delete messages quickly. (Why do I have to back out to the menu, then choose delete from the options, then go back to the message I want to delete again? It's easy to delete replies!)

This is a very promising app, but there is so much more that can be done with it! Here's hoping at least some of these improvements are made! I'd also love to see it be made one of the apps that doesn't require you to quit your game to use, but I doubt that will happen.



Nintendi said:

Sorry people, but no ink limit is a terrible suggestion. I'm confident that there is a limit for a logical reason.



CreaterCurator said:

What I want:
-More Colors
-A game where the screen moves along with a maze where you have to move the stylus so that your line doesnt touch a wall
-More Ink
-A little 3d animation like whats on the AR cards so that you can place them in your drawing
-Folders for the notes for better organization
-And different Ink patterns



Oran said:

I would like to see an update so you can have somewhat of instant chat with a friend.



Nintendaholic said:

i Hate swap note. every time i open it iget around 100 messages from you guys, and the ones from my actual friends are lost inside all your messages.



realar said:

No ink limit is what is needed Nintendi! We are tired of the limitations of what we can fit on a note. Note limitation is fine, 6 max pages is ok. We also need bigger or smaller nibs for the pen and eraser. More colors would be nice.



Capt_N said:

1. Being able to send notes/invites/friend codes to those in my Mii Plaza, regardless of whether I met them via Streetpass, or during Online gaming sessions. I have a ton of people in my Plaza I've played against in MK7, & I can't send them a request/friend code to be my friend?! This is extra important, as not everybody lives, &/or comes in general contact, via Streetpass, w/ other 3DS users. I've come in contact w/ only 1 so far(last week), & I've carried my 3DS around w/ me out on the town, ever since I got it a month ago. I could make more friends easily that way. Of course, Nintendo would have to be willing to program more parental controls, to which I really don't mind, as they should, although I don't use them, since I'm a young adult(Edit #3: mid-20's).
2. Better options concerning the sending/receiving of photos/music, & even adding animation.
3. optional virtual keyboard
4. Instant messaging
5. Being able to reply to replies(Not being able to is kind of annoying, & mundane)
6. This one is something I think should def be added: Don't delete replies to notes that have been deleted. I sent a note to a friend, who decided they only wanted to be friends w/ ppl they knew offline. B/c I deleted my note to this person before I knew about this issue, this person might have sent me a reply prior to removing me, & others from their friend list, & I wouldn't have seen it. That's very irksome!

On the flipside, I use Swapnote everyday. As a matter of fact, I check it, prior to playing MK7. I love Swapnote, esp. since my friends make good use of it, & it makes for entertainment, but it needs tweaking.

Finally, organization of notes by sender.

I seriously hope Nintendo employees are reading these, & other sites comments on this issue. If I had to choose one thing to be fixed, I'd choose my #6.

Edit: The bgm in Swapnote is aweome!



Azikira said:

I'd like a way to actively message with any of my online friends, and possibly even have big group chats with my buddies. And dear god, we need like, folders or something! It's impossible to keep track of what's what.




IF u look ther is already streetpass in swapnote but only peaple that nkow (or have wifi) will have it so who cares but we do have it just press send and then press street pass




[youtube][/youtube] hints at what we realy want is coming



Coolio2480 said:

idk if anyone else has said this but....
VIDEO CHAT!!!!! that would be so frikin awesome and more ink colors and " delete all " button, a virtual key board and automatic update



Victoria said:

I believe the reason there is a limit on "ink" is really because it's a limit on file size. As you're writing, it is recording it as you write, or draw, so the more you draw, the longer the recording. It's like a little mini movie. That's gotta be why there is a limit on the ink. It's a file size limit.



nano43 said:

I have all the stationary, so I'd like some more of that. Also the ability to send videos and longer recordings. And it would be nice to have more space for notes. Possibly more than one picture and one recording per note. I would also like it if we could respond with sounds and pictures. Oh and it would be nice to be able to reply back to people in the same note for awhile instead of making a new one to respond.



alLabouTandroiD said:

Is it possible to decide from which of your friends you want Swapnotes ? Can you block who you want ?
If not that should definitely be included as well.



DarkEdi said:

Make groups of friends for easy message sends. A group for family, another for friends, another for web friends, etc.



rjejr said:

IM. We stopped using it after about a day or 2. We have 3 3DS in our household but know nobody with a 3DS outside our household so it's kinda useless. If it was easy to do instant messaging it would get a lot more use. Even if it was only for name calling, boys will be boys.

As for the video messaging somebody mentioned, I hope they are saving that for WiiU and implement it full st(r)eam ahead. "WiiU Play Together" - 3rd in the series after Wii Play and Wii Play Motion - needs to be included in the box and should include live video streaming w/ Hangman, Tic Tac Toe, Connect 4, Battleship, etc. and they should also release a 3DS version. THAT'S what would sell the WiiU.



Sam_Loser2 said:

To be able to reply to a note multiple times, and to reply to your own note.
Colors, more layers, animation, instant messaging, all would be nice but not expected.
Another thing would be to be able to save up to four photos (one per "card") and maybe even four recordings.



gojiguy said:

I'd love if you could use pictures from any app...

My formees are dying to be shown off to friends!



Raptor78 said:

I am quite happy with Swapnote, but what it REALLY needs is a way of organising the notes. options would be great, by sender, date order, unread, etc.
...yeah if Nintendo could fix that for me I would be pretty happy.



Drawdler said:

I'm using the app right now as a sketch filler until Colors! 3D comes out. The ink limit really is harsh. If they're worried about memory with it, they should give you the option to have more ink, but no animation video. Actually, the ink is really bad anyway... Even a tiny extra would be great. Color text would be great too, as well as more varied stationery.



GrooseMarioFan said:

Uhhh. So many people have been sending me stupid notes, like pictures of fat men or asking "Why aren't you posting!?!"
Complaints aside, I hope they have spme Flipnote-like challenges/contests like the 25th annniversery ones for Mario and Zelda. Maybe a contest for Metroid this year?



Marakuto said:

I unlocked everything now with play coins, unless Nintendo adds more backdrops i'll stick my 3DS on a fan again and get 5 coins to spend!



Marioman64 said:

maybe it'll fix that thing that happens when my friend has a streetpass note and doesn't change it for days and i get the same note repeatedly and i have to go in and get the "you already received this note" blahblahblah message to make it not be green..



geckofreak said:

Wow, I actually read all of the comments. 95% of them are of course just people repeating each other as if they are putting in a vote for that change maybe Nintendo can release a survey app and give people options to vote on.

The one feature that no one seems to have commented on (especially with all the people fantasising about no ink limit) is that the ink is a more literal representation of a pen which means that if you keep drawing on the same spot over and over again you can use up all your ink and only have a small dot on the screen. This is especially a problem if you want to colour in something - your ink will disappear faster than it should. If you make a mistake and try to colour in a patch it will use more ink than the first time.

Obviously, some of the limits are just because of the limitations of the 3DS but as he said in the article he tried to keep it simple so anyone can use it so you have to wonder if some of the limits are arbitrarily imposed. No limits on ink, more colours, pages, video etc all increase the size of messages and if implemented could increase the time it takes to send messages so that everyone will be back here putting in their votes for shorter loading times.
Keeping it simple also means people lose interest more quickly and some features such as text could help those who are a little challenged in the handwriting department.
If they are worried about putting off some users by making it too complicated they can just have an advanced tools option.
I don't have a lot of friends but it seems like the ability to at least favourite friends as well as searching for messages by specific friends might assist some people.

I think Nintendo might be taking things slow with these programs. Releasing them with few features then deciding what people want added and including it in the future updates. Why else would the 3DS photo editing be missing so many features from the DSi.

Maybe the ability to post notes to your Facebook wall... I might do that once, maybe twice



Zillabrad said:

I would like to be able to reply to replies. Some color would be nice and like the idea of being able to type notes.



Undead_terror said:

what would seem nice is a swapnote chat room,just like picto chat but its not only local but wifi



lanabanana said:

Zomg! They're hinting MEMO!
Things I want for swapnote
-No ink limit
-More colors
-Be able to send videos and longer recordings
-Be able to reply to replies
-Auto-delete notes once u reach the limit
-New stationery every week or so
-A way to organize notes
I think that's it lol XD



sflancer06 said:


Wow, I'm glad there's a few reasonable people reading through all these comments like myself. I was already planning out how to explain all of that before I got to your comment.

One thing I think Nintendo really should add is the ability to export images. I don't want to delete any of my notes.... ever. While the 3000 limit is pretty large, I'm writing 5-10 notes per day with ex-coworkers in Japan. That buys me less than a year's time, and I don't want to lose any of these - I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to electronic data, and I like looking through everything later.

I would also settle for permission for it to use the SD card as additional storage space, increasing the 3000 limit.

Multiple selection for deletion would be nice, too.

Other colors would be amazing, but as a software engineer, I'm guessing that'd be a pretty major patch. Not impossible, but I doubt it'd be easy to get out.



PokeTune said:

Three things that I want from Swapnote:

1.Adding Swapnote to the friends list or the OS
2.Instant messaging
3.The ability to use text

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