News Article

Flipnote Studio 3D Friends Gallery Disabled in Japan

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Paid service World Gallery remains

Yesterday we reported that Nintendo had halted the Swapnote / Nintendo Letter Box SpotPass service due to some users utilising it to "exchange offensive material". The direct exchange of photos, and minors actively sharing their friend codes and photos, were both highlighted as issues that drove the decision to shut it down.

It's also been confirmed that, at the same time, the Friend Gallery service on Flipnote Studio 3D has been taken offline in Japan. This, rather like the SpotPass Swapnote service, allows those on Friend Lists to share galleries and images; once again, the issue seems to be with users — in particular minors — becoming 3DS friends with others and inappropriate content being shared.

Of course, Flipnote Studio 3D has been continuously delayed in the West, with the official line stating that excessive demand in Japan had caused some server issues; perhaps the extended absence has also been due to Nintendo considering its options to tackle these issues. It's notable that the paid world gallery (which sells 30 days of access with in-app coins for $0.99 / £0.89 / €0.99) is staying live, perhaps due to it being a more public forum that's easier to moderate, as opposed to dealing with private friends galleries. It raises the potential for Flipnote Studio 3D to still be released worldwide, but as a paid-only option; uou can read details of how the World Gallery is supposed to work right here.

Nintendo's latest move to retain its family-friendly status is sure to be contentious, especially as it's apparently impacting multiple apps. Let us know your thoughts below.


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User Comments (108)



Weedy said:

Uh oh, here we go,
Nintendo the brave still fears what it don't know!



unrandomsam said:

I hope they kill miiverse next and then are back to being "only about the games" like they said they were until they u-turned.



Bobhobob said:

This is more understandable than Swapnote shutting down, as this has potential for longer and more detailed content. But honestly, in my opinion, hurts Flipnote Studio 3D's chances of being released any time soon in the West. What a shame.



Cipher said:

If anything, I'd say this betters the chances of Flipnote Gallery: World being free when Flipnote Studio 3D does eventually launch in the West.



Saleemra said:

As this is on nintendo's network then they are wholly responsible for its content. At the end of the day if the system is being used to share child porn they they are morally obligated to shut it down to prevent it abuse. Those of you who say nintendo should get with the times dont realize just how contentious the issue is.

I find the Nintendolife community's reaction to this to be quite ludicrous for the most part. However if there is anything that can come out of this is that it highlights the importance of an account system ala PSN and XBOXLive. Having one in place will make it easier to track down and ban such individuals.



mystman12 said:

I really think this is getting out of hand. Nintendo needs to A) Add Miiverse and NNIDs to the 3DS, and make it so Swap Note and Flipnote's online features don't work without one. This way Nintendo can ban people, and users should be 13 older. B) Nintendo should raise awareness of the parental controls and the parents need to take more responsibility for what their kids do online. C) Just all of that. Nintendo is punishing a HUGE amount of people for things that a tiny tiny group were doing. I really hope all of these private message like things get re-added at some point. If Nintendo constantly acts like this they'll probably NEVER even release a simple IM messaging system because of the exact same reason.



Kirk said:

This is not good.

This kind of software is a great showpiece for the unique functionality that devices like the 3DS/2DS and Wii U offer and it's also just a lot of fun.

Hopefully they've only taken this stuff offline temporarily while they figure out a way to work around the issues and remove all the gimps that are ruining it for everyone else.



Sinister said:

And here we go again. Well we knew about it yesterday already and it makes me sad to see Nintendo do this.
Well everyone has to decide for themself on how they will react to Nintendo's actions. I made my choice and withdraw my unconditional support for Nintendo.
From now on every Ninteno produtc i am interested in buying will be subject to close examination if i really want it or if it is even worth buying.
Prior to yesterday i was blindly buying Nintendo products. This has stopped.



MrWalkieTalkie said:

Many people are saying that Nintendo is being too protective. But c'mon! Nintendo wants to be the company that everyone can enjoy. Not only adults, but kids too. But it can be incredibly dangerous when you mix the 2 types together in places like Miiverse or Flipnote, because the reality of it is that there are some serious sick f**ks out there. As much as Nintendo would like for everyone to abide by the rules, it's just not gonna happen. There will always be someone out there who will try to harm others, and Nintendo must do what they can to keep this under control. They don't want to suspend apps and such, but they have to do something about this!



Cevan said:

Hopefully this incident has helped open Nintendo's eyes about the needs of an account system for all current and future Nintendo systems. With accounts, Nintendo could just simply ban offenders from using Nintendo Network services again and keep the services open for those who actually followed the rules.



XFsWorld said:

I'm not even interested in this anymore, in other news: I picked up my Wii U yesterday



TheLilK98 said:

I don't even care about flipnote anymore. But if the kid is stupid enough to send pictures of their genitalia to some random scum they met on the internet, that's entirely their and their parents fault. What's next, shutting down Miiverse?



maC_N_Cheezer said:

Just watch people are going to blame Nintendo for this and say they are shooting themselves in the foot, they need to get with the times, they are doomed, etc.
Once aain I am goint to say, GROW UP.



unrandomsam said:

@Saleemra Name any instance where a messaging service provider has had any liability whatsoever for the actions of its users. (Or anything remotely similar).



ShikabaneHime13 said:


It may be the minor's fault (and the inattentiveness of their parents) for intentionally sending such content.., However, the ADULT on the receiving end is just as guilty. And it's not always minors sending the stuff, I'm sure. Pedophiles do pose as younger people online to lure another into a false sense of security. The issues that happened to lead to Spotpass content of Swapnote being disabled is an entirely two-way street. You cannot blame one without the blaming the other. There could be kids sending stuff to kids, kids sending stuff to adults, adults sending stuff to kids and adults sending stuff to adults. There are so many potential factors of what may be going on with the abuse of Swapnote that Nintendo is likely playing it safe for the time being until a solution can be reached to prevent this crap. It is upsetting that I can no longer send fun messages to my penpals outside the US, but I'm understanding of the reasoning behind the move by the company.



SCAR said:

I'm fine with this. I rarely used Swapnote. It's sad people are so damn stupid, though.

My only friend on my 3DS is my brother.



J-Manix98 said:

Well that stinks, I was not planning on buying flipnote world. I guess i'll just have to sacrifice $0.99 every month



Hyperstar96 said:

Why not just shut down all online services while they're at it? If this is the sort of logic they're going for...



theblackdragon said:

these apps need accounts for users and active moderation. if Nintendo is not prepared to provide this and maintain the service properly so that there are measures available when someone is found to be abusing the service, then they shouldn't bother to provide them in the first place.



TheLilK98 said:

@ShikabaneHime13 The 3DS also has a block feature. The parents should be monitoring their child's activites, and, if they're too young to know how, block the offenders. If the kid's a teen, they'll be smart enough to block the adult on their own. I also remember reading in the user agreement that Nintendo has the power to disable the online features of a specific 3DS. So that would've also been an option. @faint I'm aware that you're being sarcastic, but when did I alude to being treated cruelly?



unrandomsam said:

Mature games - the only time I want interested in that sort of thing was when I was from about age 10-13. (At that sort of age I would have loved stuff like Madworld) and I would have got it as well.



rayword45 said:

This is dumb as hell. You don't shut down a school because a few idiots draw penises on the bathroom wall. You punish the kids who drew them, not the entire school. Nintendo, get your crap straight with this online business. Miiverse is just as bad as Swapnote from what I've heard.



Saleemra said:

Unlike typical messaging services that your telco provides this is a service provided by nintendo on a closed nintendo network operating on a closed nintendo device.

Telco's have regulations in place that they follow to ensure they dont get help liable for things like this, not to mention the disclaimers that you sign when you use their networks. As long as they perform due diligence they are not liable.

Since there are no regulations in place for apps like this which are literally run on an honour system and no disclaimer regulating user actions the blame lies squarely at nintendo's feet. By suspending/shutting down the app Nintendo is demonstrating due diligence and thus protecting themselves from any potential litigation with regard to facilitating child porn.



Zach777 said:

Just leave FlipNote out of America... It's not like you haven't delayed it for 3 years anyway.



faint said:

@TheLilK98 I wasn't actually. When somebody blames a child for being stupid enough to send out photos rather than blame an adult who knows how to manipulate children I can only assume they have had a ruff life.



SCAR said:

No it's not. They have mods in more public online communities. The only reason why they're getting rid of private communications is because alot of people were apparently abusing it.

Your suggestion is actually more ridiculous than this situation, because it isn't necessary in a public space where things are monitored anyway.

It's a shame, really, but I guess everyone will have to communicate publicly from now on.



unrandomsam said:

@Saleemra Not talking about those. Any online service. MSN / Facebook / iCQ / Youtube can you ever think of an instance where anything has happened to the provider the service for the actions of the users. (Other than stuff like running something for criminal activity).



Hyperstar96 said:

@SCAR392 Of course my suggestion was ridiculous, I was being sarcastic. I'm saying Nintendo should just tell the little kiddies not to add people they don't know instead of making everyone suffer and hurting their own reputation even more than they already have.



SCAR said:

They did, though. Parents either didn't use parental control, or kids didn't listen.

This is a case of public vs. private. I don't see this being that big of a deal, really.

The only people you can blame are the ones who abused the service, or that Nintendo offered such services in the first place. Nintendo chose to stop it so no one can be blamed.



unrandomsam said:

The internet was a much more humorous place in the days of shock-pornography websites.
Let's not bother with mentioning them by name — TBD



unrandomsam said:

They could use the browser to put their name and age and school into Facebook. (Allowing graph search users to actively gain that information).



faint said:

I wonder how the nintendilfe staff feels about how heartless some of the comments are that it's users have been making for the past few days.



AyeHaley said:

I already flipped out yesterday so I'll refrain from doing that again...but this is another silly way of fixing this problem. Thanks Big N...



Dyl_73 said:

So are they going to investivate Colors 3D and remove that from the eshop? Anyone can download that and the online gallery is full of "inappropriate" material. Nintendo really are useless when it comes to the online side of things.



allav866 said:

What's next? New Art Academy? To be fair I do feel like Nintendo made a smart decision, even if a lot of people—myself included—are unhappy about it.



iphys said:

Hard to believe this is an objective decision when they stand to profit by getting rid of the friend gallery and having people pay for the world gallery. We could share our DSi flipnotes with the world and communicate with our friends on Swapnote for a couple years, yet Nintendo only reacts now? Seems a bit suspect to me.



ShikabaneHime13 said:


I know, right? People are acting like Nintendo is intentionally slapping them in the face because of the idiots that abused the service. If I were in charge of any company that had a service being abused in such a manner, I'd do the same thing too. Is the action about saving face, yes. But it's also about safety of children. And all the people saying the parents should be monitoring their kids... Let's get real. Kids today are far more techno savvy than their parents (unless the parents are young enough themselves to have grown with today's technology) and many parents actually do not know of some of the safety features in place to keep their kids safe from online predators (or to keep them out of horrendous mischief in general). A lot of parents buy their kids some of this tech without knowing what it's really capable of doing ("Oh, this is the new game system you've been asking about? sure, we'll get it so you can keep yourself entertained with innocent fun."). There is blame to be had all around in the case of the misuse of Swapnote. For kids and their parents, it could be A) the child bypasses the security or doesn't tell their parents about said feature so they have free reign, B) Parents can be naive/uncaring about what their kids do online until the s*** hits the fan when they come across (accidentally or purposefully) what's been occuring. For the sick adults lurking online, they know better but don't care until they get caught.
As far as I'm concerned, Nintendo did the right thing. They never said it was a permanent choice either, so people are getting their knickers in a twist over something trivial that is likely temporary until a solution is found. I am no hardcore Nintendo fangirl as I have some issues with the company's choices in the past year, but I will wholeheartedly not let pure emotion (read as Rage) cloud my understanding of the reasons behind this move with Swapnote.



Saleemra said:

Most of those example you listed contain rules in place prohibiting the distribution of offensive material, not to mention user accounts which can be disabled if the T&C are breached.

Nintendo friend codes do not really allow for for the targeting of individual offenders because in theory you were only supposed to give it out to people you knew and trusted. Hopefully this will be the impetus to that Ninty needs to push through user accounts.

The last I checked the distribution of child porn IS illegal and since Nintendo does not have the means to ban individual users on that system unlike Miiverse this is the best recourse for them.

There is also the court of public opinion to contend with, this holds especially true with the launch of the 2DS targeting the youth audience. It would be a a PR nightmare for them and potentially destroy the trust that parents might have in the company if they did not take definitive action - not to mention the crucifixion they would get by the anti gaming media in general.

The response is overkill no doubt, however it is a good show especially for the moral avengers out there. This action demonstrates that they "think of the children" thus further cementing the trust between the company and its core market - ie kids and by extension their parents.

Furthermore since Nintendo's core market is "family & kids" and not the "hardcore" - who have pretty much abandoned them anyway it is no surprise that they will go to great lengths to placate their concerns. In any industry you look after your core first, this action by them is in line with that idea.



AugustusOxy said:

I think its BS. Moderating what your children do is your job as a parent, stop having technology raise your kid. You can impact parental controls on your kid's console, stop having us responsible adults punished because you're a crap parent.

Take your shame-rage somewhere else and I hope your lawyers burn in hell.



Hale-Bopp said:

How could Nintendo be so incredibly naive all along to think that there wouldn't be a few bad apples who would share potentially offensive material through their services? It's like they didn't think it through at all before releasing these apps.



brandonbwii said:

If this is how Nintendo is going to be, I fear for future animal crossings. I thought the whole idea of a friend list was for no rules.



unrandomsam said:

@Saleemra Don't think looking after your core market is what industries do these days they only care about new people. (Very rare to get anything from a Company for being with them a long time.) Nintendo is the same. The whole thing is designed so you get less and less from each release (So need to buy more and more for the same amount of entertainment).



HappyHappyist said:

Mark Zuckerburg - "people are using facebook chat to send sexy pics to each other. better just get rid of facebook chat all the way."

someone else - "but mark, don't we have an account system? we can just ban the people abusing our service!"

Mark Zuckerburg - "great idea!"


i hope that got my point across. believe me, it is great that nintendo is doing the morally right thing, it really is. if they knew people were creating child pornography and did nothing about it, they'd be in legal hot water. hell, i dont support the idea of child pornography, and if i knew nintendo let it slide, i'd stop buying nintendo products all together. why? because it's just morally wrong to do that.

they have the right idea, and as far as they know, it's the right thing to do. but they're making everyone suffer for the fault of the minority, and that is not right. all of the hate and anger directed at nintendo right now is because they dont have an account system. if they did, SN and Flipnote Friends wouldnt be taken away. if they had an account system, they could punish the culprits and be done with it. MAKE AN ACCOUNT SYSTEM, NINTENDO.



unrandomsam said:

Seems like about age 8 is the ideal age for NIntendo products. (My Nephew had it quite reasonable at about that age. Now he is 10 and there is too easy for him).



SCAR said:

I don't think you can exchange pictures on Animal Crossing, though. The main problem with Swapnote was probably pictures and info being shared by kids.

They probably didn't think people would be stupid, but they were proven wrong, so they're taking responsibility and making it impossible for anyone to be an idiot.



supermonkey117 said:

Well done nintendo in my opinion 3ds and wii u are family consoles and they should be clean entertainment systems.



unrandomsam said:

@SCAR392 What about if someone produced a prophet muhammed cartoon for Animal Crossing. (Sewing Machine or whatever). People have been brutally killed for less.

Someone should start a competition to see who can get the most features removed from a Nintendo product.



unrandomsam said:

There is many many things that are far more dangerous to a child than seeing a picture of anything. e.g Roads / Fire / Knives and it is far more likely statistically that any abuse of a child is likely to be from somebody they already know.



Big_Gamer said:

I believe theres a typo:
" uou can read details of how the World Gallery is supposed to work right here."



Saleemra said:

Sorry but what nonsense are you talking about? Core doesnt mean old timers! It means their focus! Ninty IS and has ALWAYS been focused primarily on getting kids into gaming. Thats their bread and butter - kids are born everyday you know!

A lot of people criticise Ninty for being Kiddy and Family but the fact is thats where they get their money from. When Hardcore gamers abandoned the Wii, kids were still playing skylanders and other "kiddy" games on it.

So again in this case where we have something that could potentially damage their core market's impression of them. As a result they have taken decisive action to to ensure that parents realize that they are doing something about it, Furthermore by doing this they also prevent parents from accusing Ninty for establishing an unsafe environment that exposes their children to sexual predators.

I dont know if you have kids or not, but your priorities do change once they come along and things like this tend to cause parents to go into fits.



OdnetninAges said:

Wait, only the friends function was removed?

...Well, it's not as bad as I thought, then. Bad, but not as bad.



GuSolarFlare said:

ok... now they seem desperate... they should simply not use camera and photos in online apps anymore so things like this won't happen again...



meltendo said:

This is not good news since it might impact games--Nintendo might not do or allow certain types of online interactions or multiplayer in games out of fear of hurting minors. What if game developers avoid multiplayer features in their releases because Nintendo won't allow voice chat or sharing images? Remember how Starfox on the 3DS allowed photos on local play but no online options?



ToastyYogurt said:

I understand Nintendo wants to protect kids, but these are INVITE ONLY messaging systems. I think Nintendo should focus more on raising awareness of parental controls than shutting down the system. Or hey, a report button would be nice. It might mean having a mod look through a message to see if it is actually offensive, but I would be more okay with a little privacy invasion (sensitive info shouldn't be sent to idiots likely to hit such a button for an innocent message anyway ) if it means keeping a service like this up.



mamp said:

Why can't we just get an account system, it would just make it easier to ban whoever is causing trouble.



SheldonRandoms said:

I hope they don't remove the camera feature for Flipnote Studio 3D, because if they did, that would hurt the stop motion creators like myself (it would break my leg!!!).



shinesprite said:

"uou can read details of how the World Gallery is supposed to work right here."

Might want to fix that.



123akis said:

so because people where abusing swapnote they have to stop flipnote gallery friends... THIS IS ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! and the friends gallery can still be moderated!!! it's online so how would there be a technical issue with that??? and now this is what probably caused the delay



unrandomsam said:

@Saleemra If that is true then Nintendo must believe children are getting stupider then. (Or it a concious decision to make children (Or everybody) need more and more games as they only a fair challenge for the very youngest).



WinterWarm said:

Future Iwata: I would like to announce that any games that wish to appear on Nintendo platforms will not, under any circumstances, have an option to crouch. Because that could be turned into an inappropriate exercise.



unrandomsam said:

@Saleemra I have no idea what they mean by core (Thought it was short for hardcore and meant the ones who can do what 99.5% cannot the stuff that is unreasonable to do and have any kind of life outside playing those games). Importing stuff so by the time it is released they already know everything there is to know about the game (Regardless of the difficulty of playing it in Japanese). Or the people with the achievements if I take a look on steam after I have finished playing something that would likely take more time for me to do than I have spent playing it so far.

I think I am pretty casual these days. (No way I would do Super Ghouls and Ghosts in one sitting like I did when I was in the Nintendo target age).

Even something like Super Mario Bros 3 is miles harder than any first party game for 3DS.



Saleemra said:


Seriously man, I have no Idea what your saying as your not making any sense at all. Incase you forgot (since you might be answering multiple conversations at a time) we were talking about Nintendo's actions re Swapnote and how lack of action would have caused them to be liable for what was going on. I was also talking about how lack of action would have damaged the relationship with their core market.

How can you misunderstand "core market" for hardcore"? Or for long time customers for that matter? Additionally your latest comment about Nintendo thinking that children are getting stupider is also ludicrous and completely unrelated.

Either conduct the conversation in an appropriate and relevant way or step away from the keyboard because your only making a fool out of yourself.



Yoshis_VGM said:

So help me, if Nintendo disables Miiverse next, IMMA BE PISSED. I use Miiverse WAY more than I ever used Swapnote because it's more accessible than Swapnote and it allows me to connect with my fellow gamers! Nintendo will be receiving a very, very heavily worded email if Miiverse goes out next.

Luckily, however, I doubt they'd do such a thing, because Miiverse is heavily moderated and anything inappropriate is typically removed within 5 minutes.



cherrysunburst said:

Bull. Nintndo has the right to ban online on a specific system and they're not using it. What, are they too lazy to develop an account system? Miiverse has been in the works for a year now, and they have not even implemented IDs into the 3DS. I guess we won't be seeing The Adventures of Cybi3 and Tri anymore.



HP_3 said:

@ Saleemra I agree with your posts. I'm pissed off with the people that abused Swapnote, not Nintendo.



Parasky said:

Do you see Microsoft or Sony disable features just because they will offend the little children?



sonicfan1373 said:

I have a feeling these free online sharing features will be replaced with Miiverse when it comes to the 3DS later this year. Miiverse allows for developers to allow for the sharing of in-game content that is moderated (this is how Flipnotes can be shared), it also allows for doodles, notes, and messages to be shared in a public and private way and again it would be moderated (hence replacing Swapnote on 3DS), it can also be used to share special messages from Nintendo (again replacing Swapnote).



rieflipnote said:

Nintendo is not our loving babystters its the internet they can deal with it plus they put these features on the 3ds system like registering people far away

Watch the language -Lz



rieflipnote said:

Nintendo is not our loving babystters its the internet they can deal with it plus they put these features on the 3ds system like registering people far away
Watch the profanity please — TBD



KittenKoder said:

I don't even care about Flipnotes, but ... this is stupid, it's going to destroy their hold on the portable market. I may as well save up for a PSP Vita now, because if they continue this trend I suspect Nintendo will lose all consumer confidence.



Doma said:

The current management at Nintendo are insane, folks.
An overhaul is required desperately. To allow this to happen, the WiiU needs to fail. (thank god it's doing so!)



edhe said:

Nintendo needs to waive the world gallery fees - at least temporarily until friend sharing is reinstated (if at all).

Either that or apoligise profusely like they always do.



NightmareXIV said:

I don't care because if I want people to see my Flipnotes I'll show them in person. The only thing I care about is when this comes to US sure we got Pokémon at the same time, but in the end US players still get shafted.



HatenaSurvivor said:

//super pissed// we shouldn't have to pay for sending some damn flipnotes worldwide, nintendo has others products they can make money off of. I get that you got rid of swapnotes because of disrespectable users, but this really is going too far. There's always going to inappropriate users on any nintendo app or whatever you make next, not much difference. Don't make things harder for users that actually respect the rules



FlipnoteFan3D said:

Here's an idea:

Release Flipnote 3D without any of the galleries (everybody has a YouTube account, and 3D Flibnotes can be saved as AVI's, so don't forget that) and when Nintendo fixes their little crisis, they can re-install the Galleries in an update. Geinus, no?



DiamondsareMine said:

The inappropriate flipnotes should only be a big problem in japan due to a different culture where things like pornography are more accepted then in western media.

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