Today has brought us the latest major 3DS update, and it's one that's been anticipated for a good amount of time. It introduces Nintendo Network IDs to the portable, which now allows unified eShop funds with the Wii U equivalent and, perhaps most importantly, Miiverse access. Until now participation on the bespoke social network, beyond limited browsing on the web version, was for Wii U owners only; now the wider 3DS audience can join in. Even better, handheld gamers can view Wii U communities, so over 30 million system owners can now access the best advert possible for Nintendo's home console.
With the system update requiring multiple steps and including various features, we've decided to produce this guide to help you get the most out of the changes. First of all, below is the change-log from Nintendo of America's website:
- Added support for Nintendo Network IDs
- Added support for Miiverse
- Added a Software Update Notification
- Removed the limit to system transfers
- Changed the start-up method of Nintendo 3DS Camera from the HOME Menu to require pressing the L and R Buttons simultaneously
- Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience
Let's get down to the details then, starting with initial setup of the update and a Nintendo Network ID.
System Update and Nintendo Network ID
Applying the update itself should be familiar to existing 3DS owners. For those new to the process, you should be automatically prompted if you attempt to open the eShop. If this doesn't happen simply go to "System Settings", "Other Settings" and then the fourth page — here you simply tap system update. The device will need to be connected online to proceed further.
The update may take anything from 5-20 minutes, with the time varying depending on server load and the speed of your online connection. Once complete, the system will immediately inform you that Miiverse is now available.
At the time of writing Miiverse is working perfectly, while the eShop is having issues connecting — if you're reading this long after publication, this shouldn't be an issue. We followed the system's lead and went to Miiverse first of all, so that's the process we'll outline here.
At this stage tap on the Miiverse logo as indicated above, and the new app will start to load. Once it's up and running you'll be immediately prompted to setup a Nintendo Network ID on the system.
Click on "Link ID" — even if you do not have a Wii U and account — to begin setup; you'll be asked if you want to proceed, so tap OK or press A. You're now taken through screens that explain the basic Nintendo Network ID functionality, including information on eShop activity being linked to the ID, the potential to share funds between the 3DS and Wii U, limitations of a single country currency and loss of eShop history if an ID is deleted. We've covered many of these points in our previous Nintendo Network ID 3DS Guide.
Once you've read and clicked through the screens you'll be asked whether you want to create a new ID or link to an existing Wii U account. We'll outline the Wii U linking process below, but creating a new ID will require various pieces of personal information. These will include your full name, an email address, region, as well as age and birthday — be sure to note your new ID and password in a safe place and be careful when inputting the details.
To link to an existing Wii U account, select the applicable option and you'll be asked to input your username and password — do this carefully.
The next screen, once you've completed these details, will ask which Mii you want to link to the ID. As you can see in the screen below, we previously transferred our 3DS Mii to the Wii U so that they were the same, and in this case we selected the existing ID Mii (as the most up to date from the Wii U). This has done no harm to our Mii-related save data in StreetPass Quest / Find Mii, though there have been reports by some readers that content in games such as Wii Sports Club was lost when tying the account to a personal Mii on the 3DS. In any case, we recommend using the same Mii (moving the most recent one with the transfer tool in Mii Maker) across both systems, and retaining that same character across the Nintendo Network ID on 3DS and Wii U. If you only have a 3DS this should not be an issue, and you can change the Mii setting in future.
After this step you're given some more information — such as the fact that you can adjust and check Nintendo Network ID settings through a new menu in System Settings — as well as Parental Controls information. Once you've clicked through these screens you're asked to input your Nintendo Network ID password once again (that's why you need to write it down!) and will be told that you can now enjoy the Nintendo Network. When inputting your password we recommend checking the option to "remember your details", as this will save you inputting the password again when logging into the eShop later on. Once you bypass this final message Miiverse will launch.
Once using Miiverse properly, some introductory screens will introduce you to the concept and ask you whether you want to be notified — by a blue circle on the home page icon and in notifications — of interactions to your posts, and once your preferences are set you'll find yourself on the home page.
From left to right, dealing with the icons at the bottom, are the following:
-  This Mii face gives you access to Profile settings. "Profile" shows your information and posts, "Blocked Users" and "Search Users" are self-explanatory (you can follow other users through the latter but not send friend requests on the 3DS). "Miiverse Announcements" has official details from Nintendo on updates or events, with "Settings / Other" allows you to adjust your profile information, Miiverse settings (such as who can view your profile) and also allows you to view the Miiverse manual and Code of Conduct.
-  This boxed smiley face is your Activity Feed — in this you can view posts from Network ID friends (if you have a Wii U account) or those that you Follow. If you want to post outside of a dedicated game community, you can also post on any topic (within Miiverse rules) in this feed. You can Yeah and Comment on posts in the feed.
-  The icon with three figures is the main page for accessing communities, pictured above. You can search through 3DS game communities, special communities (such as that for Smash Bros.) and, at the bottom, you can switch to Wii U Communities. You can view any community, add "Yeahs" and comment on any post you like, though can only post your own main message in a community from within the relevant game; this measure helps to keep the Activity Feed full of those actually playing the title in question.
-  The speech bubble on the right is your personal notification area, which shows all Yeahs and comments for your posts.
At launch the number of 3DS game communities is limited to a little over 20 retail games (no Virtual Console, with most 3DS eShop games also missing), though it covers the majority of major releases. Below is an example of a post from within Super Mario 3D Land. Like its Wii U counterpart you can input text messages or hand-written notes / drawings using the touch screen — this applies in game communities and the Activity Feed. When posting from within a game you can also add a screenshot from the precise moment that you paused. The process is simple.
- When playing a game, hit the Home button and then tap the Miiverse icon on the touch screen.
- You will automatically be directed to the relevant game community.
- Tap "Post", input your message and tap the screen icon at the the top right, selecting to attach the top or bottom screen image.
- Post your message.
- If you had the 3D slider on and the game was outputting an autostereoscopic image, it will be a 3D screenshot for fellow 3DS users (it displays in 2D on the Wii U / web browser version).
- If the game in question does not yet have a dedicated community, the above first step will simply direct you to the Communities front page, and you won't be able to post screenshots even if you navigate to the Activity Feed.
- Miiverse on 3DS also has an offline mode — you're able to access the service, create a post and then save it for later when not connected to the internet. You can then post it at a later time when you have a web connection.
Check out the next page for information on the unified eShop funds, StreetPass Plaza / Find Mii update and an ever-growing FAQ.