News Article

Rumour: Wii and DS Wi-Fi Disconnection May Be Tied To Glu Mobile Takeover of GameSpy Technology

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Both system's online infrastructures use GameSpy middleware

News last week that Nintendo is switching off the Wi-Fi connection services for Wii and DS on 20th May understandably caused some disappointment. While the Wii Shop and DSi Shop will remain open, online multiplayer and some services on both systems will cease to be, which will affect major titles such as both Mario Kart entries (DS and Wii) and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, along with others. It seems that the decision may have had third-party considerations, however, due to the infrastructure of the online services.

As detailed in this GameSpy support page, the company provided key technology and technical facilities for the online multiplayer services on both Wii and DS.

GameSpy is the default multiplayer middleware and backend services provider for both the Wii and DS platforms. Nintendo have provided standardized online multiplayer functionality the form of the 'DWC' wrapper class around our SDKs. Access to the DWC is available through your Nintendo account rep and comes at no extra licensing charge to you.

Upon request from Nintendo, GameSpy will set up title specific access to our backend and Nintendo will manage all support for DWC issues to licensees via

Developers and publishers can still license additional SDKs not incorporated into the DWC directly from GameSpy. Typically, this would be our Sake and ATLAS SDKs for advanced persistent storage and stats tracking/leaderboard functionality. Basic ranking functionality is offered through the DWC already; contact your account manager for details on that functionality.

However, Glu Mobile acquired GameSpy Technology from IGN Entertainment in August 2012, and in the months that followed online multiplayer in a series of older PC games began to shut down. There were two sides to the argument — fans and in some cases the developers were unhappy, yet Glu Mobile asserted that some publishers had allowed their agreements to lapse and weren't paying the relevant fees; Glu Mobile claimed some had enjoyed a free service without being eligible to such perks.

It seems that Glu Mobile has been more efficient in ensuring payment for the infrastructure service, and there's conjecture that this new ownership and relationship may have contributed to Nintendo's decision to drop the Wi-Fi functionality on Wii and DS.

It'll be extremely hard, likely impossible, to learn of all the details behind the decision. As we've seen with Nintendo discontinuing the Wii hardware while it arguably had life in it as a cheap console, the company is often keen to move on and encourage gamers to pick up newer hardware. The decision to drop the Wi-Fi services may be philosophical, in that respect, but it's possible that its usage levels and costs made it a financial decision.

We may never know, though we'd anticipate that the Nintendo Network now utilised on 3DS and Wii U may be maintained in an increasingly in-house manner, rather than having a reliance on third parties that — in the case of GameSpy Technology — can become unstable and change ownership during a console generation.

Thanks to Mario500 for the tip.


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User Comments (44)



mike_intellivision said:

This was rumored around the net last week.

And as for cheap console, it is instructive that the Wii Mini has no Internet connectivity.



Azooooz said:

Well, running four platforms' servers costs a lot of money for Nintendo, shutting down two platforms' servers not only help Nintendo save money, but also let them able to concentrate on current platforms (Wii U and 3DS). If the rumor is true, then it's understandable.



Jazzer94 said:

This was more or less confirmed by IGN in their recent NVC podcast.



yoko19191 said:

Or... maybe the disconnection may be because Nintendo WFC is outdated? Maybe? Besides, Nintendo needs to push the Wii U by forcing Wii users to upgrade.



DarkEdi said:

The download content (pay & play) will continue active. I suppose it pays itself to mantain it.



Shade_Koopa said:

@bezerker99 Thats your own fault. Brawls connection was peer to peer. Its only as good as your internet connection. Blame your ISP or yourself if your being cheap about your internet.



Porky said:

It's not just Brawl, Pokemon is a big one it hits.. the GTS that's in the Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Heartgold, Soulsilver; the equivalents in Black, White, Black 2, White 2 (which were released like two years ago by the way) will be a waste of space in the game. The dialogue that characters talk about the place will be useless for any newcomer playing them games much later. Ugh, remember to not buy games solely for online play people it will be taken done eventually.



Einherjar said:

@WillhamBoyGeniu Thank the people who demand online connectivity in each and every game nowadays. You wont be able to play these games to their fullest in the future.
Just look at Dragon Quest IX. If im informed correctly, 100%ing this game will now forever be impossible without the usage of 3rd party devices.
Its ok if games lose certain, regular multiplayer modes over time due to server shutdown. But if certain key aspects of these games are build around it, you can basicly throw any lasting appeal away.



siavm said:

@Shade_Koopa I recently got back into brawl and it is still laggy. I have 30mb Internet connection and trying to get online can lead to a disconnect. Or waiting in the lobby too long does the same thing. So what ever was used to get it to run sucks. Never had these problems with Mario kart on wii.



bezerker99 said:

@Shade_Koopa Gee, my internet connection seems to be just fine for my PS3 games and Wii U titles.

FTR, I'm not saying the Nintendo WFC was awful (despite the fact that it is/was), I had zero issues playing online with Monster Hunter Tri, Mario Kart Wii, and Excitebike World Rally.

Me singling out Smash Bros for it's awful lag isn't a personal vendetta against the game. I'm just stating facts.



unrandomsam said:

@Einherjar Bravely Default has a similar timebomb in it by design. (They will release a HD version and kill access leaving the cart worthless.)

I thought everything in Dragon Quest IX could be done with local multiplayer. (Stopped when I had to downgrade my wifi security to continue).

It is by design it is not necessary it is just to make you pay over and over again.

@bezerker99 What does Mario Tennis Open use ? The online on that is absolutely awful. (Even when people aren't cheating the lag is dependant on both sides connection instead of just yours to the server maybe with the opponent juming from place to place which would be more playable.)



MussakkuLaden said:

Well, that certainly explains why Nintendo is shutting down the whole service at once, as before it didn't really make sense that online play in a game as for instance Battallion Wars II remained forever possible while comparatively recent games which are still being played by a considerable amount of players are equally affected by the shutdown.
At least the announcement seems to give the sleepy online communities a temporary boost in activity.

Btw, as GameSpy (always horrible on the PC anyway, I agree with unrandomsam) was taken over in mid-2012, this could also have been one of the reasons why Nintendo dropped the online functions in the Wii Mini, i.e. they may already have known that online play will come to an end. It's true that this saved hardware costs too, but then again it prevented people from spending money in the Wii Shop.



Agent721 said:

GLUU Mobile has been a great investment for me, but I did not know that they provided Nintendo's online multiplayer, as they ve never mentioned it in their press releases, as it generated no income. For Gluu, this must've been an insignificant thing, which is why they shut it off. I bet you they use the tech for mobile online multiplayer.

GLU Mobile makes Deer Hunter, which was a giant hit last year on cell phones & tablets. Stock is up quite nicely & continues trending up.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

@Einherjar Monster Hunter Tri says it all.
Games with content that is inaccessible without online are flawed by design. There's no telling what will happen in the future, but as of yet, it's not a common practice.

@unrandomsam I recently thought about that as well, and I agree that BD will inevitably lose accessibilty once servers are shut down, though there's still Streetpass to uphold it (but that's not reliable at all).



unrandomsam said:

@Agent721 Do they own Dotemu ? Wikipedia page lists loads of stuff they did along with Sonic and Sonic 2 (Dunno whether those are the recent ones or not). The Xperia Play - Virtua Tennis is pretty good (If not a bit easy). Seems strange that the name is not mentioned anywhere though.



Einherjar said:

@unrandomsam Like i said, im not 100% sure about DQ IX. All i know is, that the event clothes from past DQ heroes are now gone for good. Maybe thats why nintendo is bringing DS games to the WiiU VC, so that some of that might be saved (all server content on HDD).
In regards to Bravely Default: As soon as that game looses conectivity, the town building aspect will be gone for good for many many people who do not have that many others around them that also play BD at that time.
Also, since StreetPass doesnt work properly everywhere except japan, dont expect that to give you access to all the bonus bosses.
But overall, its the same deal with DLC. Once its gone, its gone for good. Day 1 DLC and youre late for the party ? Tough luck, you will NEVER EVER have the full game. I have that problem with Dissidia: Duedecim at the moment. Many costumes were day 1 DLC codes in other square games. On top of that, even if you manage to track some unused codes down, they are expired. The content is forever lost, since square didnt found the need to upload themonto the PSN store by now.
But this is what people are asking and craving all the time: Every game needs online features. If this trend keeps on growing, the word "timeless classic" might vanish from the gaming scene completely.

@Kaze_Memaryu You "could" say that this content was saved due to 3 Ultimates release. But i know that this is stretching it a bit. Thats exactly what im talking about: Leave that whole online thing to shovelware like modern military shooters. With each sequel, the previous game gets obsolete anyways. There will be no one to cry over lost content. But not every game needs to be that. Dont get me wrong, i like me some good online modes, but if that means that we have to trade longlivety in, count me out.
I rather have a game for generations than some quick fun to grab "while it lasts".



Agent721 said:

@unrandomsam I don't think so. Until recently, GLU did its own games, but their new business strategy is to also publish other games, not made by them. I think that might fall into the latter part of the strategy. It's similar to Take Two publishing Borderlands for Gearbox software. Other games they publish are Samurai Showdown, Metal Slug, Contract Killers & Frontline Commando...among others.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@unrandomsam If it's dependent on both sides, it's probably due to a P2P connection. It means that Camelot probably didn't put in the effort (or it could be a matter of cost) to set up a proper server and used the existing friend code system.

Never really had any issues with KI: Uprising but I'm pretty sure that used servers. Same with Mario Kart 7.



Captain_Gonru said:

@Agent721 Odd. All the Glu games I have for my phone have stopped working some time ago. Frankly, they barely worked even when they WERE working.



SMW said:

Well that explains 4x4 Evo going offline sometime last year! I'm sure that was one of their unpaid ones.

Also did Glue raise the GameSpy price? Some say they did and Glu says they didn't! I'm so confused.



Agent721 said:

It's all about Deer Hunter...Nearly 5 star rating out of nearly 2.0 million votes on the Google Play Store. When it launched, it reached #1 in 16 different countries. I don't do mobile gaming myself, but my buddies who do love the game. Investing in mobile gaming is not like console's about monetizing eyeballs & Glu has achieved much higher participation rates via its Glu-on platform, leading to very high monetization rates.



Windy said:

Nintendo has Online games? They didn't tell me that Ive been frustrated for years now with Nintendo and their lack of information with some games which have online but Nintendo doesn't use it as a selling point and they sometimes leave out pertinent information in regards to how a game p!days online. Its a bummer for people!e who still play.



unrandomsam said:

I thought Gamespy was just the bit for matchmaking and search and didn't do anything in terms of the actual servers. (I am sure I have used games that have had Gamespy build in where the servers were just using the dedicated server provided as part of the game).



Kaze_Memaryu said:

@Einherjar I agree with that. Online is getting out of hand lately, with increasingly more gamers not even willing to play games without it. But just like you, I'd prefer playability and content access over online functions.

One a side note, one victim of online dependance (though not related to this article) will surely cause an outrage once it actually goes offline - Dark Souls.



LexKitteh said:

What im wondering, is for DS games on Wii U VC, will it be able to use the Nintendo Network connection of Wii U, or will they have to change the online structure? Because I think Nintendo will unfortunately just remove multiplayer and Wifi fuctions of those games too :/



Windy said:

Heck I will run a secure DS server from my house if they would give me the Code and software to put it 24-7. The server doesn't have to shutoff permanently. Look what Asherons Call is doing. After 15 years they are finally shutting down. The Dev's (Turbine) are going to show each and every person how to run their own private server to keep the game going. If you ask me that's the way to keep the love between Customers who have been faithful too you



Einherjar said:

@Kaze_Memaryu Fun Fact: Once Dark Souls will go offline, i will start playing it I really liked the game overall, but the invade mechanic really pissed me off.
But im aware that im very alone with that, and thats totally fine But i know what you mean.

Games like this will inevitably crumble. No one will get what made them popular back then.And that exactly the reason why im such a big fan of local multiplayer. Sure, like i said, playing something online can be fun sometimes, but most of the time, having to deal with such a degenerated online community etc is just bothersome. Get a bunch of friends over hand have a blast instead. In my opinion, the gamecube and the 360 (which sadly abandoned the idea pretty quickly) went the right way with things like system links or LAN play.
Most people have a HD TV and a PC monitor with more than enough ports to hoock up almost any system. With newer systems and the HDMI standard, its made even easier. Heck, the WiiU doesnt even need that, the Gamepad user already has his own screen. In my opinion, thats the way to go in the long run but sadly, no one else seems to agree with that other than nintendo
Games that get released as the full package, the real deal, without any catches or content that might vanish get more rare every day.



R-L-A-George said:

Perhaps Pokemon B/W/2 might have some exceptions because they are newer games. Although nintendo can release them out on eshop and patch it up to work with the new servers. If they do anything like that, they probably should make it $10-$15.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

@Einherjar You could just stay offline (erase wifi settings, unplug PS3 from router), though it's a bit bothersome.
And I still wholeheartedly agree with you, so you and Nintendo aren't completely alone. ^_^



Dark-Link73 said:

As I mentioned last week in the first article, I believe this is a financial move more than anything else.



DarkKirby said:

I have heard theories that the Wii and DS Wi-Fi Disconnection is to encourage people to buy a Wii U and 3DS.



Einherjar said:

@Kaze_Memaryu Yeah, or they could have implemented an option that prevents others to invade my game and potentially ruin it for me
I know that this aspect aloe is the reason most people play this game, but i was never a PVP type of person and the game is hard enough as it its, i dont need the extra challange of "noob killers" around thank you
But thats purely opinion and taste based, and it will be a huge loss to people liking that feature should it ever go down.
And if all else fails, the PC version sure has a solution for that problem



StarDust4Ever said:

So much for PC games and the like that dial home to servers just to allow gamers to play offline, supposedly yet another crippling DRM to verify your rights to play the game. What happens to those games (and future generations of consoles which don't use physical media) when the server gets pulled? Untitled



MAB said:

Just a reminder to the people worshipping physical discs and posting nonsense about DRM Nintendo Network will be available for all future devices... That's if Ninty has a future after the woeful performance of 3DS & Wii U

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