In late February we had the disappointing news that online multiplayer, online-based communication apps and even some DLC will become unavailable on Wii and DS, due to Nintendo switching off the Wi-Fi connection. This happens on 20th May — though the Wii Shop and DSi Shop will remain open for business — and prompted some to speculate that it was a deliberate move, particularly with Mario Kart 8 joining its 3DS contemporary in replacing the still-popular Wii and DS entries.
In the weeks that followed there was speculation that a Glu Mobile takeover of GameSpy may have precipitated the disconnection, as both the Wii and DS online infrastructure — along with a long list of PC and console games — are though the GameSpy licensing server; new owners can often cause major changes in such businesses. Whatever the reality, however, an interesting new development is that all GameSpy services will now close down on 31st May; any remaining games utilising the service — many have long since moved on or ceased online play — will no longer be able to use the infrastructure. A brief message on the GameSpy website says the following.
Effective MAY 31, 2014, GameSpy will cease providing all hosted services for all games still using GameSpy.
If you have any questions about how this impacts your favorite title please contact the game's publisher for more information.
Thanks for a great ride!
It's the end of an era, particularly in online PC gaming, while it's unclear what role Nintendo's switch-off has had, in terms of whether the Nintendo or GameSpy decision came first (regardless of announcement dates), and which influenced the other (if at all).
In any case, it's coincidental timing, and demonstrates that Nintendo theoretically cannot continue online multiplayer on Wii or DS without migrating to a new or existing Nintendo Network infrastructure; that would likely be too pricey and challenging in the context of supporting its last-gen systems.