Launched in early August, the StreetPass Relay system was rolled out to utilise public Wi-Fi spots, already part of the Nintendo Zone network, to would allow anyone to pick up hits from those that had passed before; the next 3DS owner would then get your StreetPass data, and so on.
Nintendo was rightly pleased to bring the system to 3DS owners, as it allowed those that picked up less hits to join in with the feature. In a recent Iwata Asks on the topic, it was explained that it's a system particularly important in the West, where there's less of a culture for carrying the 3DS everywhere on a commute, even in large cities; Satoru Iwata said the following.
In America, the amount of StreetPass encounters that would occur was only about one-tenth to that of Japan. I thought that was way too little, as if it was missing a zero. Then I found out that it was even less in Europe. Even though the number of systems sold and the number of customers who had experienced StreetPass didn’t differ that much between each region, the number of encounters was drastically smaller. When you walk around a city in Japan, StreetPass is happening fairly frequently, so it’s a habit for a lot of people to walk around with their Nintendo 3DS. And I think not a few people go out with their Nintendo 3DS in America or Europe as well in hopes of having a StreetPass encounter. But I suspect that a lot of them must have gone home disappointed after not having passed anyone.
Yet we've received a message recently suggesting that the service may have stopped functioning at various sites. A reader contacted us to advise that sites that were working in his area for the StreetPass Relay — Starbucks, McDonald's, & AT&T Wireless Stores — have stopped working with both the Relay and Nintendo Zone. All of these sites have their Wi-Fi supplied by AT&T, and one snippet of potentially important information is that Starbucks is switching to Google for faster connection speeds, as reported by cnet.com. Various threads are also popping up on GameFAQ and Reddit regarding this issue and more general access to Nintendo Zone. Our tipster did let us know that the Relay point in his local Barnes & Noble store, which uses a different wireless provider, was working as normal.
We've contacted Nintendo of America for comment, but let us know if you've noticed a drop-off in the StreetPass Relay or Nintendo Zone access in the comments and poll below.
Have you noticed any deterioration in the frequency of StreetPass Relay hits? (186 votes)
None at all, I'm getting as many Relay hits as always
A little, but not enough to really identify as an issue
I have noticed a drop-off in Relay hits, yes
I'm barely receiving any Relay hits, while I did in previous weeks
It's hard to say, to be honest
I don't take my 3DS out for StreetPass hits anyway
None of the above
Please login to vote in this poll.