News Article

StreetPass Relay Issues Reported in North America

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

New Iwata Asks outlines how it came to be, meanwhile

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 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.

From the web

User Comments (78)



tchaten said:

As far as I can tell - relay hasn't been turned on yet - haven't received anything at BestBuy where NintendoZone is turned on - been many times



XCWarrior said:

YOu need to have a poll option for, "The relay pass thing never seemed to work." I tried and failed at my local Best Buy, 2 McDonalds and the phone place (escaping me right now). None of them worked. And I live in a city near Akron (where LeDouche James is from) so we are very up to date tech wise.

The Best Buy in particular doesn't even have NZone working properly. You can't connect to it or anything.



Bisylizzie said:

I'm in the UK, and recently been getting one or two hits every time I wander round town, usually. No idea how many are from the relay stations (I know of two, but they're so close together I'm not sure if it's actually two separate hotspots or just the ones hotspot...

But still, hardly anyone goes round with their console here, no idea whether it's just because it's rather rural/small town area...



RupeeClock said:

I suspect that these homemade "StreetPass Relays" that have been cropping up are the reason for a StreetPass relay at a Nintendo Zone acting unreliably.

People configure their router for "HomePass" at home, and by spoofing a MAC address this allows them to get StreetPass hits from remote locations.
If you know the MAC address of a Nintendo Zone in a shopping mall in the UK or a Starbucks in America, or somewhere in Japan, you can get these remote StreetPass hits.

Because people have been tapping into remote locations like this, it seems like issues might be cropping up as a result.



bezerker99 said:

Nintendo Zone used to work in Best Buy and McDonald's where I live. They haven't worked at all as of late and I've gotten no Street Pass hits from these Relay stations.



ueI said:

I don't take my 3DS anywhere that has streetpass relay.



FiveDigitLP said:

I have yet to get a street pass relay myself. I never bothered with Nintendo Zone before this because it didn't seem to offer anything special, so the last couple times I tried to connect to a Nintendo Zone at Best Buy it gave me an error. It sucks because I doubt the providers at these locations even care, so it's likely to continue unresolved.

EDIT: Also, Best Buy is one of the most likely places I'd be getting one of these hits. I don't like coffee and eating McDonald's makes me sick. When going through Taco Bell the other day, I had a notification saying a Nintendo Zone was nearby, but when I tried to connect I got an error. :-/



tripunktoj said:

None of the above. I live in Mexico, Nintendo cares little about this place, so Nintendo Zone and relay points (among many other Nintendo things) have never come here.



snoox said:

I've taken my 3DS to McDonald's, Best Buys, & Starbucks, all have Nintendo Zones but I never got a street pass from the relay



Ren said:

I've had mine and carried it around since launch, and Nintendo zone has never worked inside a Best Buy or anywhere else, always an error code. A couple weeks ago for the first time it seemed to work in an Airport and I got all excited then discovered it... lets you download demos.. the same ones.. so I don't get what's special anyway.



McGruber said:

I recently moved to NY, which means I am now getting like 500% more streetpasses than I was back in PA. However, I noticed my local park has free Wifi provided by AT&T, and the Nintendo Zone icon blinks when I am there. Every time I try to open Nintendo Zone and use it there I get an error. So clearly once these NIntendo Zones were set up the store/park owners completely forgot about them and they aren't being maintained.



shimage said:

I've never gotten a streetpass from a nintendo zone relay. My wife gets streetpasses pretty regularly on the bus to work, so I know there are 3DSes out and about. However, even though we've visited each of the 5 or 6 nintendo zone stores within a few miles of our apartment several times looking for streetpasses (pretty much just for showcase houses in ACNL), we've never gotten a streetpass from them.

Incidentally, I do know these nintendo zone locations are functioning. I've been able to get all the nintendo zone DLC from them, so that isn't the problem.



3Daniel said:

Ive never get relay passes or even street passes and i havr my 3ds with me fairly often. I wanted to pick up some of the new plaza games but i still hav a majority of puzzles incomplete due to lack of hits and the 10 coin limit combined with the overwhelming number of repeat panels i get hav made it a total hassle to complete them.



Shworange said:

I've taken mine everywhere I normally get hits. The Minnesota Zoo and the Mall of America are always good for a few. It's impossible to say whether I'm getting real hits or relayed ones.



WiiLovePeace said:

I wish we had Streetpass Relay in Australia... Definitely needed here. I'm lucky to streetpass a single person a month but then they may not even have the same games as me I wish that streetpass had've been tied to the system as opposed to the games. That way 1 hit for the system could've meant a hit for every game I own, whether both people owned the game or not. Oh well.



chiefeagle02 said:

Here in Eugene, OR, the StreetPass Relay has been spotty. Some places are a guaranteed hit, but others don't give anything at all (there's that distinct possibility of being the first one there, but somehow I doubt it). All the same, the best places for StreetPass hits around here are the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!), the public library, and the malls.



bouncer0304 said:

One thing people forget to do when they use the cloud for nintendo zone (which also stores the last streetpass hit i've been told) is to add it to their internet connection list. I didn't the first time and realised that was the reason i wasn't connecting. Now i've done it and once a fortnight i go for a cuppa in my local whetherspoons early in the day and go from there (i also download new leaf items too). I can't say if that's helped but i've been getting more streetpass hits. One thing i have noticed is that i meet my sister even when we've connected in the morning and she's not with me which means i pass her three times a day. Weird but handy when we have lots of pieces to swap.



6ch6ris6 said:

have these relays been installed in europe yet?
i only get streetpass hits in big cities.



Spoony_Tech said:

I'm in the none of the above. Out of the 30-40 places I've been since the update I've had less then 5 hits. So what I'm saying is they've never been workong right where I'm at!



idork99 said:

After the latest update, I probably received two StreetPasses from a Nintendozone at McD's. I haven't received one since. I also went last night with my 3DS and no luck.

Gamers need to educate people with 3DS' here in the US. Either they never connect on line and never have the latest firmware or they carry their systems with the power turned off. After having the system for over two years, I'm happy to say that at least I'm getting StreetPasses around the neighborhood which is encouraging. Streetpass is an excellent feature and an essential part of the 3DS' experience that not utilizing it is a shame.

@XCWarrior Lol! LeDouche!



Squiggle55 said:

Question: Hypothetically all you have to do is walk by a McDonalds for this to work? You don't need to open your 3DS and log-in to their internet or anything?
Question 2: How long does McDonald's internet remember your 3DS data for other people to catch?



JJtheTexan said:

I had one relay hit at a McDonald's near my apartment a day or two after the StreetPass Relay service launched. I've had none since at any known AT&T Wireless hotspots or Nintendo Zones.



marck13 said:

To me it seems that the relay hasn't yet started working in Zurich, Switzerland.. haven't found a place where frequent passing would lead to predictable hits. And that in the most populated area of the country (Zurich, mainstation. Including McDonalds and Starbucks visits)



PinkSpider said:

It's such a shame street pass hasn't taken off in the UK
I think the problem is older people are embarrassed to carry around a 3DS with them.
I'm 34 and take mine everywhere and I mean everywhere, I'm very outgoing and I rarely receive a street pass. Maybe 1 or 2 a week. The best I ever had was at an anime and game convention because those people don't care what people think of having what's considered "a child's toy"
Japan is a much more open minded country when it comes to gaming, unfortunately the UK has become a very Chavy populated country and people that love reality TV sh*t that they wouldn't be caught dead with a 3DS where as in Japan the age range is 6-56 if not older that are carrying them around.



AJTsuki said:

This explains a lot. I received Streetpasses from 3 relay points the first week it went live, but none since then. There's about six Nintendo Zones in my immediate area and I've hit each at least twice.



ECMIM said:

If I had to guess, this is something that could be solved simply by rebooting the routers at these locations, but good luck conveying that to the management.



Noend said:

3 McDonald's - 1 has worked previously, 2 never worked
2 Starbucks - never worked
1 Best Buy - never worked



ecco6t9 said:

I could not get "online" through Nintendo Zone the get the Afternoon Tea Set for Animal Crossing.



EaZy_T said:

I got a couple hits from a Starbucks right after the relay went live, but now... nothing.
I wondered if them switching to Google had something to do with not getting relay hits anymore.



Minny said:

Heck in the latest Iwata Asks column, he says that streetpass hits happen 10x more in Japan than the rest of the world. Maybe these street pass relay stations shouldn't be kicking out 1 person, but rather say 5 from all over the country/world. I only go to get puzzle pieces and don't play any of the other Mii Plaza games. I have like 680 puzzle pieces. I just wish I could spend more coins to get pieces I want or better yet, have street pass data jump over from on-line play.



LexKitteh said:

Like others commenting, I don't think I have been recieving any Streepass Hits when I'm walking past several Nintendo Zones, and wait there a few minutes. I also agree it should send more than 1 Streetpass hit to your system.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

@RupeeClock hardly possible. I don't know if I should explain the details here (rules 'n stuff), but I can definitely say that this couldn't possibly be the reason, since they don't access the official Relay Stations, instead setting up their own unique Relays, thus avoiding interference with the official ones.



catsrnice said:

Here's my experience.
Annoyingly my Best Buy works, but for some reason all I get from it is the Demo 3DS they have on display (Which doesn't have any puzzle pieces) I'm not sure if this has anything to do with the relay system but I didn't streetpass the demo unit before the relay system started except for when the 3DS first came out.

Never have gotten a nintendo zone at Starbucks, I tried like 5 a couple years ago and none of them had it, it was really annoying.

McDonalds is the only place that has really worked for me, unfortunately it doesn't seem to work unless you stand inside for a minute or two, which is annoying because you can't just slowly walk by the entrance to get one.



mullen said:

I also noticed that. At least certain Nintendo Zones, used to be able to obtain tags, no longer work.
Also, I tried to obtain AC:NL's download item from McDonald, but failed. I don't know if that's because the network connection was too poor, or also something related to this streetpass issue.



Spleetal said:

I haven't gotten any street pass relay hits yet, Do I have to stay nearby for a while or should it be fairly quickly?



SCAR said:

The places I always pass by never work as relays. It's rare that Nintendo Zone works at all near me.
Best Buy never maintains their access point or something, so Nintendo Zone never works.
I haven't gotten one relay yet, and I've been at AT&T hotspots.



Firejonie said:

I've tried getting relay hits from two McDonalds' and a Starbucks. None of them provided any Relay passes for me. And I stayed at all of them for about 5 minutes each. Oh well, at least I got my Nintendo Zone items for New Leaf.



ajcismo said:

My job takes me to several relay places like McDonalds and a few malls that utilize the service in my area... Honestly I've gotten several more hits these past few weeks than normal. Probably just as many as I have since summer began. Even completed a few puzzles in the process, they're addictive little buggers.



Sakura said:

In Coventry, UK. Relays seem to be working fine. Used to get no hits and now can get 10 on one visit, just walking around at a normal pace. Hotspots are very close together here because it's pretty small. Sounds like a problem with AT&T though it looks like some people are trying to connect to Nintendo Zone. You don't need to connect to anything for the relays to work, just leave the 3DS in sleep mode.



SurferClock said:

I was able to get a bunch of tags in the first 2-3 weeks, but now it seems like it's happening less and less. For those reporting that it doesn't work, you usually have to be at a location anywhere from 2-4 minutes before the relay tag happens.



solcross said:

I've gotten one StreetPass hit since the relay stations have been setup, and I go Starbucks a few times a week and have been to McDonalds a few times.



Zelda3ds said:

Thanks for reporting this Nintendo Life.

Please keep checking back with Nintendo to find out what's being done to fix this problem.



SphericalCrusher said:

I do know the place I normally use it at, Barnes and Noble, has not been working. I use NintendoZone so much at home that I forget to use it there. I need to check it out again!



SBOY said:

It's not only AT&T or Google the problem... Here in my city (from Québec) all the McDo are on BELL and the relay work fine for all 4 of them on day 2 but after that NOTHINGS!



Marioman64 said:

i barely go anywhere with a lot of people, and when i do, I always bring my 3ds. so for the times i do go out, i do get the usual 1 or 2 people (2 is really rare)



Monsti said:

I recently moved from Germany to the States. I bring my 3DS everywhere. Not one Streetpass Relay ANYWHERE so far.



Bali said:

I'm living in hungary, no hotspots here. Also, people rarely buy a nintendo console here. Everyone plays cod. Never had a streetpass hit, even though i always bring my 3ds in sleep mode everywhere i go.



Smitherenez said:

It worked for me last week, but this week I didn't get any hits while traveling by train. (same route as last week) BTW. I live in the Netherlands, not in NA.



cmk8 said:

I live in England and the passes do seem to have dropped off. I try Costa, McDonalds and Argos in Walsall occasionally.
I think it might be because people (like me sometimes) do a circuit of the hotspots so drop off their pass data at multiple stations.



Drewroxsox said:

I've been to McDonalds and Starbucks, and the Nintendo zone nor the relay system worked.



Jimbolicious said:

The problem isn't so much that they stopped working. They still work. but you have to go to a webpage and accept a terms and conditions agreement first. As soon as you do it will work again. Here's my guide on Reddit with confirmed hits at Starbucks and McDonald's even from TexasAndroid who's thread you originally used an example:

This is so disappointing though because unless you're a power user most people won't think to do this.



allav866 said:

I go to a McDonald's each day after work, and sometimes I get a relay hit, but most of the time I don't.



blondeandy said:

Am in the UK, and whilst i can see how the relay thing should be quite good i've found it to be more of a curse than anything. Have been in situations with friends where we all have our 3ds' and only get 1 hit each through relay rather than all streetpassing each other as the nintendo zone blocks the normal streetpass mechanism.



SBOY said:

I've never done this before @Jimbolicious and I had a few relay streetpass on every McDo around my city... So why now should I do this to have them again ?



Jimbolicious said:

@SBOY Well this seems to be a roll out by AT&T as not everyone is effected at the same time. When TexasAndroid first started the thread last Friday I was able to get them effortlessly still. Then starting as early as the following Tuesday I couldn't anymore without using the method I describe. If you're still getting them with minimal effort hopefully it stays that way.



MetalKingShield said:

It stopped working for me in the UK a few weeks ago (both Relay and Nintendo Zone). The 3DS can still identify a Nintendo Zone, but can't connect to it.



mskelbel said:

@tchaten I was told that, in our area at least, Best Buy never bothered to turn it on. They are listed as a nintendo zone, but you can't connect there.

I just tried at McDonalds and no luck.



Jimbolicious said:

@mskelbel Did the McDonald's ever work? If you never got the Nintendo Zone message then that explains it. If you had got the message it's probably one of three things.
1) You just seeded the relay and the first person doesn't get a streetpass
2) You were the last person on the relay, and you can't pass yourself
3) You didn't let the you are connected page fully load (watch the status bar on top screen). This is where I failed the first attempt.

Beyond that I don't know. I just did it again and it worked, which means my 2nd 3DS just pulled my 1st 3DS back off the relay since no one knows to do this



Windy said:

When the Relay Started I was getting 5 streetpass hits a day at work. I work in a hotel which has attwifi. In the last week or so 0 hits I did notice yesterday I needed to input the Network password that the wifi uses to login. But if thats it. it means other people will also have to launch the 3DS web browser and login as well. What a pain! And I just bought all the new Mii Plaza games for my 3DS and 3DSXL. I was going to wait and see how many streetpass hits I get and it started off great I had 4 days at work where I got about 5 a day. The new games are great. But really no fun without some visitors. Why cant they just allow your friendslist in the Mii Plaza? How freakin hard is that? Streetpass= Making hookups with people more complicated than it needs to be.

I just don't get it. Nintendo acts as though they don't want strangers to hookup on their systems in the past and present yet streetpass is all about strangers. At least your friendslist is just that. FRIENDS! you chose whose on there, and whose not. Here is an idea. People you add to your Friendslist Randomly drop in to your Mii Plaza Games. Now is that so hard?



mskelbel said:

@Jimbolicious I've never received a streetpass anywhere for anything. I've taken it to multiple locations that have it, but it's never given me anything. The local mall and Best Buy being the main ones where I know for a fact, I've been on my 3ds XL and the nintendo zone didn't even open like it should have. In fact, it wasn't until last night that I even knew that it should have opened when I entered the nintendo zone. At McDonalds last night, I received an error message saying there was an error to connect. I've had NO luck with this at all.



Jimbolicious said:

@mskelbel I hate to hear you've had so much trouble. As long as you're on the latest firmware then I'm at a loss. The relay is such a great feature and I've met some cool people locally from them and not so locally through Homepass.



Windy said:

@mskelbel I have streetpass with about 30 people in the last 2 years. Between you and I. It's a rediculous feature which is more complicated than it needs to be. I carry my 3DS everywhere. Work, stores, McDonalds. It flat out sucks. I am going to an anime expo next month here in Vegas. I will take it with me. Let's see how Anime Las Vegas works out



Mastatgt said:

I haven't gotten ANY streetpass relays from any hot spots in my area.... It's been making me pretty sad v.v



SurferClock said:

@Jimbolicious This article helped immensely! I went to McDonald's this morning, and 2 minutes went by without the tag. I then went to the Internet Browser, accepted and connected until I was to the "You Are Now Connected" screen, closed the 3DS, and waited. Sure enough, 2 minutes later, I got relay tags for Crosswords Plus, NSMB2, AC:NL, and StreetPass Mii Plaza all at once!



vinicity said:

In Sweden the relays seem to be working fine. I pass two every day on the way to work, so I am guaranteed 4 streetpass hits every day. (One is the Central Station and one the main bus terminal here in Gothenburg.) I have also tried the big ferry (StenaLine) terminal across from where I work at that seems to work fine too... All three are powered by Cloud, and I never had to open the 3DS or accept any connections beforehand.



Windy said:

7am at work and it's making me login to the attwifi I'm going to try the McDonalds by my house more often. maybe get a cup of coffee and hangout for streetpasses. Is anyone going to the Las Vegas Anime Expo November 1st through the 3rd at the renaissance hotel?



Susi said:

When they had the special BestBuy only downloads for Animal Crossing New Leaf I drove 25 miles (one way) to my nearest BB (didn't know about the router "trick" until the last one) with my 3DS in and was unable to connect. The gaming "expert" said the Nintendo kiosk had recently been overhauled while he was on vacation & suspected something wasn't connected correctly. He said he'd put a call in.
(FYI: there are reps from Nintendo that service the NintendoZone hotspots & employees at any location have ZERO access to even re-boot the routers. All they can do us turn the system off & back on but essentially all that does it turn off/on the kiosk monitors).

I went back a week later to try the next exclusive download. It worked! (BONUS: on the 1st trip, when Hubby saw the 3DS XL screen size (in person) compared to my 3DS he bought me the XL!! Aww). Two weeks later the item download did not work. I once again could not conect to the NintendoZone with either the 3DS or 3DS XL unit.

Several BestBuy employees came over to see what I was up to (I'd asked two for help) & all said it was very intermittent for them too. (I think the fact a hip, young-looking 45-yr old Nana of 8 with a serious Animal Crossing New Leaf addiction had them all curious, lol!) While they were sympathetic, nobody seemed able to actually do anything! I asked for a Nintendo contact number. I sat in the corner & called Nintendo! The very nice man I spoke with took all the info iincluding store address, phone # & name/direct contact for 2 BestBuy employees (they offered it) & a very detailed description of the problem. It's still not working. (Side note: That day there happened to be a post on the official Nintendo AC:NL Facebook page outlining how to set your home router to 'Bestbuy' & download items. I mentioned this to the Nintendo CS guy. He said he didn't think that would work. I told him I'd been skeptical too but it was posted on THEIR official page. Hmm. Interesting they didn't seem to know about this.)

Three weeks ago I was again in the neighboring larger town & tried BestBuy. Nope, no luck. I did get a couple StreetPass connections the previous visit & one on this visit but I'm assuming that was directly from other customers or employees 3DS units. I stopped at one of the town's 3 McDonald's & it connected right away. I was able to receive the downloadable item without issue (I was unaware Starbucks or BN had Nintendo Zone but have been inside several Starbucks over the past 3 months without ever receiving a StreetPass. When I (just now) look up Nintendo Zone locations in my area, in addition to BestBuy, Starbucks, McDonald's & BN stores it also lists the local area Home Depots, AT&T retail stores & the FedEx store!).

2 weeks ago I went to my towns only (McDonalds) Nintendo Zone & YEA, it worked fine to download the AC:NL item! However, I did not receive any StreetPass info. (I do regularly receive StreetPass/SpotPass info between my two units. I haven't gotten around to selling my 3DS yet & set up a second town as a "turnip farm" until I do, lol. I did say I'm addicted, right?

So, today I was again in the larger town. I didn't bother with BB. I was inside a Starbucks (no StreetPass info received) and stopped at TWO McDonalds without being able to connect. I then stopped at my town's McD's on my way home and again, no luck connecting. This prompted me to do some searching which led me here.

So, it seems my loca BB's intermittent issue could actually be related to a much larger system wide (At&T) problem. I hope all of the feedback we are posting here actually makes it to somebody that is looking into the issue and can do something to fix it!

I'm happy to continue testing out my local Nintendo Zones if that's necessary. Will somebody please post follow up information to let us know what's being done?



hexdef6 said:

In usa Home Depot they use attwifi and i get multiple hits each time i pass them

Leave A Comment

Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...