Nintendo has made some interesting headlines recently here on Nintendo Life, as it's acted proactively to avoid potentially embarrassing issues with Nintendo Letter Box / Swapnote and the Japan-only (so far) Flipnote Studio 3D. The company disabled SpotPass communication options in Swapnote, and has also closed down the Friends Gallery in Flipnote Studio 3D in Japan; at the time of writing the paid-for and more public World Gallery is still active in the latter, meaning that in theory there's still hope that the app will make it to the West in some form.
The issues seems to ultimately derive from gamers exchanging Friend Codes online and then sending each other inappropriate content; in this case Swapnote photos have been highlighted as the main concern. Nintendo's stance is that it's looked at ways to close loopholes but came to the conclusion that shutting down functionality was the safest option, as made clear in the official statement announcing the decision.
Nintendo has been investigating ways of preventing this and determined it is best to stop the SpotPass feature of Swapnote because it allows direct exchange of photos and was actively misused.
This is a topic that's far from simple. To start in defence of these moves, it's important to recognise that if Nintendo loses its reputation for being the safe, clean gaming platform provider in the marketplace, much of its consumer base is irreparably lost. Many of the Nintendo Life staff and our community may have been gaming since the NES days — or even before — and accept that mature content can be part of gaming life. Yet, with the exception of some third-party games and — particularly — their online components, these concerns rarely manifest themselves when playing on a Wii U or 3DS. A look at the major releases on Nintendo systems this Holiday season, compared to rival platforms from Sony and Microsoft, tell you all you need to know about how family-friendly the big N's systems are.
And it's unsurprising that so many mature-rated multi-platform games barely sell any copies on Nintendo systems; large parts of the audience either don't want these games or get them for other platforms, and third-parties often produce flawed ports as the investment in Nintendo versions isn't worthwhile. It's a catch-22, but Nintendo's core audience consists, undeniably, of a significant percentage of families, children, and also gamers that are fans of the company and also enjoy the different range of content.
For that's the key with Nintendo systems — they serve unique and exclusive games that, with some exceptions, rarely have equivalents on other platforms; that colourful focus on entertaining games is a major part of Nintendo's unique selling point. For some older gamers — such as this writer — it can also be refreshing to fire up a platform knowing that playing games in a relaxed environment is seconds away. If you take major sellers and online games on various platforms — even in Wii U versions with voice chat, albeit less so — it doesn't take long for examples of homophobia, sexism and all sorts of prejudice to rear their ugly head. Online gaming can get out of control and be a cesspit of abuse in the worst situations; yet some still wonder why Nintendo often sticks to local multiplayer.
Yet Nintendo still has questions to answers and mistakes from which to learn. As we pointed out, the company isn't always diligent in dealing with inappropriate content, as we highlighted with explicit lyrics in Wii Karaoke U, and the handling of the Swapnote issue seems to be a decision of resources and practicality, as much as one focused on moral reasons. It was Nintendo that introduced the option to exchange photos in Swapnote, and it would be either naivety or sloppiness that would mean the thought of inappropriate photos being shared wasn't a possibility. Nintendo established the service and, as our very own lead moderator stated in a comments thread for one of the recent articles in question, it's the Kyoto company's responsibility to moderate and control issues. Nintendo's not alone in dropping the ball with these issues — problems of online bullying and controversial content have afflicted Facebook and Twitter in recent months — but that doesn't mean it's not culpable.
As the Wii Karaoke U example also shows, Nintendo will on occasion pass off the lack of ratings or responsibility of individual artists to absolve itself of responsibility. The situation, though perhaps comparable in terms of maintaining family friendly content in its apps, isn't quite the same for the singing app and Swapnote. We should be clear that it goes without saying that inappropriate exchanges of images between minors and adults is a serious — potentially criminal — issue, and that's clearly what's driven Nintendo's actions. Even if it is a tiny minority of users that are culpable, those kind of situations have to be dealt with.
The problem here is that Nintendo, for the time being, has seemingly taken the easy, inexpensive option. Rather than moderate content, release a mandatory update that disabled photo sharing and tackle the issue, it's hit the off switch. Again, issues of inappropriate images being exchanged is very serious, but Nintendo has punished the majority rather than fully take responsibility. Miiverse is a primary example in that it is moderated and, beyond drawings, the only images shared are those from within games. It is possible to control a social platform and keep it reasonably clean, but in this case the simplest option has been chosen.
So we have a contradiction. Nintendo has seen a problem and stopped it happening, which is a positive. Yet it's done so in a heavy-handed, sweeping manner that punished millions of 3DS owners, which is thoroughly disappointing. Whether Nintendo is simply resistant to spending money on moderators or applying resources to amend Swapnote is for the company to know and, hopefully, explain, but as exchanging photos and inappropriate content was due to the app's design, surely changes can be made to allow us to send messages to friends through an online connection while securing the moral compass of the service. Perhaps that will come in the future.
Yet Nintendo's desire to preserve its family-friendly policies shouldn't surprise anyone, and despite the flaws of its actions this week it's vital it continues to do so. Nintendo stands apart from Sony and Microsoft in its general approach to these issues, for better and worse, and as a result forges its own separate path. For gamers that primarily desire major multi-platform games and those triple-A hits with an 18 rating, rival platforms are the port of call. Parts of that audience may own a Nintendo system as well, but single-system gamers in that demographic are long gone for the big N.
And so franchises, such as Super Mario, Mario Kart, Smash Bros., Animal Crossing and Pokémon are the front-runners for Nintendo; all family friendly and accessible — yes, even Smash Bros. is easy for anyone to play.
What we'd hope recent events — and the backlash — will teach Nintendo is that it does have loyal supporters that enjoy the options to communicate with each other, and don't appreciate over-caution scuppering such apps. Miiverse is a wonderful part of the Wii U and Nintendo's made it work, so whether through an updated Swapnote in future or in the promised portable version of the bespoke social network, the company must combine its caution and dedication to safe gaming with features that we, as gamers in 2013, expect. The responsibility for maintaining the safety of its platforms is Nintendo's, and it should ensure it serves the majority and punishes the minority.
Perhaps Miiverse on 3DS will be the answer.
miiverse will COME I HOPE!
@supersonic007 Obviously... It's a matter of time.
Now is the time for MiiVerse to come to the 3DS... I can feel it... I can almost smell it even...
As upsetting as it is, Nintendo really did make the right choice. They most likely would have lost most if not all of the potential lawsuits that might have occurred.
There is nothing okay about this.
Statistically the most dangerous thing in a child's life is school, far more accidents, molestation, and death happens in school than anywhere else for children. Lets ban that.
I'm with George Carlin on this one... People are far to concerned with 'saving the children'.
They need to ban miiverse next its only logical
Then lets ban all communication in general! In-fact, lets segregate all children and adults into two separate societies to protect them! Then lets put all kids in solitary confinement so they never do anything that is typical of their age.
While we're at it, lets put helmets on all the kids too, cut their hands off, that way they can't pick up anything dangerous...
Ooh, and their legs too, sot hey don't trip and fall.
This is how ridiculous all of you who agree with this sound.
@Reala next step is removing all online components from Nintendo games. What if someone hwurts our fweelings?
@AugustusOxy I think your sarcasm detector is off.
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with the idea that Nintendo's decision to destroy Swapnote was a positive one.
Nintendo were definitely doing enough to prevent this kind of abuse. The parental controls on 3DS are enough to stop kids going online. Also, the kids should have been taught not to share personal information online - including Friend Codes, which are similar to phone numbers.
By taking these unecessary precautions, Nintendo is alienating its older fanbase for no apparent gain.
Yeah, maybe families from Downton Abbey.
It's 2013, even 7 yo have smartphones and navigate in internet.
Nintendo is acting pure , but its actually cowardice and hypocrisy.
"We don't know what happens outside of our safe, retricted environement"
Yes, they know, but they just don't want to be considered guilty.
You know what?
Ditch online features AT ALL and focus on making only games, not services.
Voilà, Nintendo's virginity is safe and maybe they could even sell 2 more WiiUs.
Forget about online altogether.
Swapnote was yet another proof that Nintendo doesn't have a clue of what they are doing, "kill them all to kill a few"
Well the wii had some good in game warnings to protect consumers, such as the one making sure your aware of your surroundings so you don't hit anyone or anything, maybe they could do the same for miiverse, like showing a responsible parent slapping their kid upside the head to install some good old family values to protect the kiddies.
@AugustusOxy Hm. It was a sarcastic post.
I love nintendo,but my wiiu has been banned from any miiverse use for a reason nothing to do with me! No investigation,no warning. Just poof! No more miiverse. And no matter how much I complain they wont budge.
So this article is spot on. Nintendo MUST hire moderaters so that they can spot the diference between people up to no good and inocent people who are victim to a big mistake
Let me ask you something: Do kids always listen to their parents? Answer: No. You can teach a child valuable lessons for life to ensure their safety but it is ultimately up to said child if they absorb said lesson and do so. As the saying goes: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.
And seriously, most kids/teens today are so much more tech savvy than their parents, it's not even funny. I admit, when kids get a new piece of tech for their entertainment, the parents should take it upon themselves to know what that tech can do and what risks are present. By that logic, parents shouldn't allow their kids and teens to have cell phones or tablets as the temptation for misuse is always there, no matter how much a parent tries to teach their kid to do the right thing and be responsible. However, a lot of adults see Nintendo products as for kids (even though we know they're used by all ages) and so either don't think of a danger being present or don't honestly know. They might not know of the parental controls at all.
Point is, many of us are not happy about the Swapnote situation, however those of us with clearer heads and not just outright rage are doing our best to look at both sides of the story and all angles of the problem that caused this. It is easy to say one should've done this or that to prevent the stuff that happened. But in truth, nothing is as simple as black and white.
People do get banned from Miiverse forever?!
I don't think a lot of "petefiles" have a 3ds. Just saying. Most of my 3ds friends hardly use swapnote, and the ones who do just ask ACNL questions.
This is the best opinion piece on the subject I've read. The internet hasn't been shut down and there is child porn and all sorts of unsavory things. I've been very outraged by this, having supported Nintendo by buying their games and systems for 24 years. It is my firm belief that Nintendo had enough parental controls in place. PARENTS didn't use the controls or we wouldn't be having these issues on a scale to warrant shutting down the whole service. I blame parents not parenting. I also think they should have excluded it JUST from the 2ds since that is the system aimed at small children. Are they going to shut the web browser off next even though it ALSO has parental control features? Kids can access porn through that. I've been stating this rant for two days now: Nintendo wants to SELL us a communication app with parental controls ON the app since parents are too dumb, lazy or uninterested to set the controls through the system. It will be a communication app similar to Swapnote but much more regulated and they will charge for it. They weren't making money on Swapnote and that alone is a good enough excuse to scrap it.
@ShikabaneHime13 One can look at all sides of something and understand why it was done, and still be entirely allowed to be pissed off and angry at the manner in which it was done. Shutting down the entire service was not the answer.
I applaud whoever wrote that article because someone had to say it.
Whilst I understand everyones anger about Swapnote going (I too am gutted), you have to remember that with all the negative press Nintendo has been getting as of late (and alot of people jumping at every chance to do so), the last thing that Nintendo needs is another media scaremongering story and the 3DS getting a reputation as a 'pedo device'.
Seriously have we all forgotten about The Suns Newspapers attack on the 3DS during launch and how they claimed "The 3D effect makes kids go blind" and how people were asking for refunds because "The 3D effect made them sick and go dizzy"?
Whilst I agree with the article that Nintendo have been heavy handed here and that they could just disable the photo feature, I feel Nintendo are wise to be cautious, after all 1 person complained to ofcom about a WiiU ad 'being misleading' and i've not seen any since... sadly Nintendo have alot of enemies that want to see them fail.
@Benjamin i never said we couldn't be upset. Hell, I used Swapnote to keep in touch with my penpals in Japan. But those that are stating keeping children safe is a worthless endeavor clearly do not want to acknowledge there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Our FCs are tied to the system, not an actual account, making it harder to actually discern the users and ban them outright.
"Perhaps that will come in the future."
This line right here pretty much cements Nintendo's legacy this generation. For everything we hope for them to do, maybe, just maybe something will be done about it in the future.
It's like a teacher punishing the whole class for only three kids acting up.Not everyone was being bad and they shouldn't be punished for it.You might as well keep the kids in containment until they are of age because they are going to do things that are bad or have something bad happen to them.Kids just being kids.No one has ever grown up perfect.
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.
@TheOneHacker I agree with you everything that you've said there.
Fingers crossed they bring Miiverse to the 3DS.
@C-Olimar Well said....as a life long Nintendo fan who actually enjoyed Swapnote and used it almost daily, I am highly offended that I am not in the valued "age market" for a company I've supported a quarter of a decade. You are indeed correct that Nintendo had done their job initially by having MANY parental control options in place for all related wifi use. Parents didn't do THEIR jobs because that would have taken 3 to five minutes of their time to set up the controls.
@Worthy Somehow Facebook and Google don't have that reputation. Even though the things they do make it much easier for a child to be tricked into revealing their location at all times to somebody. (Google latitude at least used to allow you to reveal via your phone your location to anybody else at all times. Dunno whether it still does).
Everything could be potentially misused. Taking away a service isn't going to stop crap. All you're doing is alienating everyone who did nothing wrong. I've been a Nintendo fan all my life.but with all this BS recently, I've been SERIOUSLY considering getting a PS4. At least I wouldn't be hearing "OH, BUT THE CHILDREN!!!" and "think of the children," every five seconds.
It's the most supported petition so far although this series of decisions has inspired a personal boycott of everything Nintendo this holiday season.
This system and it's e-shop has never been a simple "Young Gamers" platform, it's success is thanks to many demographics and these actions seem a slap in the face to them all.
(And those two deliberately make the controls difficult to use deliberately and auto enable new things. Nintendo doesn't do that.
I'll be happy once Miiverse arrives. My handwriting is aweful on touch screens.
I know that Nintendo COULD have updated SwapNote to remove the ability to send photos, but that would take time, and no doubt Nintendo wanted to act as soon as possible. This was the quickest solution, and Nintendo shouldn't be blamed for going that route.
I meant to type a quarter of a century in my last post....oooops. 25 years of support means nothing to a corporate entity anyway
Maybe I should change the name of my Mii to something like Rudimentary Peni (They were my favourite band at about the age Nintendo seems to be targetting).
I had the cash burning a hole in my pocket for the Wii U and was only waiting for the new Bundles.
X1 or Ps4 People?
@unrandomsam said " Somehow Facebook and Google don't have that reputation. Even though the things they do make it much easier for a child to be tricked into revealing their location at all times to somebody. (Google latitude at least used to allow you to reveal via your phone your location to anybody else at all times. Dunno whether it still does)".
Exactly my point and lets not forget that the ios has had it's fair share of problems (ie: kids buying games 'accidentally') yet that didn't get the same amount of news coverage that 'the 3DS makes you go blind' BS did.
Also what about the negative Nintendo news as of late? Yet very few of those sites talking about WiiU losses, don't mention about the success of the 2DS... but sadly if this situation got worse, the media will be over it.
@JBisupset It never really did the only time it appears to be different is when there is lots more work than people to do it.
@TheOneHacker Great post. I love Nintendo but they still have no idea what to do when it comes to online stuff. I barely utilize online functions aside from Netflix and internet, but it's unforgiveable that they don't have accounts yet. Unreal.
Minors are exchanging friend codes via the internet?
Isn't that something ONLY their parents can control?
@ShikabaneHime13 And the parental controls?
What kind of parent hands an internet enabled device to a child and sends them on their merry way?
Well, sadly, most parents. The point is, it's their fault, not Nintendo's. Nintendo have two layers of protection - parental controls for younger children and a Friend Code system for older kids who understand the dangers of handing out personal information. These are clearly sufficient. Shutting down an entire online service because of irresponsible parenting is absurd and, frankly, insulting to the fanbase.
The best protection online you can have online is not using your real name. (Especially as a minor.)
Problem is that is breaking the terms and conditions of all social networking sites who care more about their advertiser than their users. (And teaching that breaking the terms and conditions is ok has its own problems).
If child safety is really such a priority for Nintendo, they should have long ago seen the possibility of swapnote abuse.
@Worthy and @unrandomsam The social networks can really get annoying. I recently logged onto twitter for the first time in months, only to see my full name on public display. What's this? I never approved such a feature! Although there was no way to disable it, changing my "real" name proved a viable workaround.
This PR stunt is alienating the devoted costumers who have been supporting them since the eighties while attempting to appeal to a generation of 'gamers' that are far more interested in craptacular cellphone and tablet games.
This isn't working; and I hope they quickly realize the audacity of this moronic decision before it hurts them worse in the long run!
I think Nintendo should just come out and admit that they ARE a system primarily for children and their parents. They keep trying to convince gamers that they are a viable system for core gaming, but they simply are not. Nintendo itself will never produce the kind of violent games that late teenage and early twenty-somethings want to play, and the 3rd parties that make those games have largely abandoned Nintendo's platforms.
Embrace it and own it. They are the Disney of video game companies, and last time I looked Disney makes a ton of money. I got rid of my Wii-U because I've simply outgrown Nintendo, having recognized that they simply don't appeal to me at my age. Glad they have a shtick, though, and I hope it serves them. I just wish they'd stop pretending to be anything other than what they are.
@C-Olimar Most of them when I first got access to the internet it was unsupervised pretty much. Society is getting more and stupid over time.
(My grandfather used to make fireworks as a hobby as a child - with chemicals he bought from the chemist - this is under 10 years old).
During the War all over England there were unlocked ammo caches totally unlocked and none of the kids messed about with them.
It used to be the case that FB and G+ would require that you are 13 or older to have an account.
Nintendo's products are aimed at young children.
I agree this is overly heavy-handed of them, and that their existing parental controls suffice, and that the blame lies solely with parents.
But the headline wouldn't be "BAD PARENTS FAIL TO SET PARENTAL CONTROLS", it would be "PEDO RING USES 'FAMILY-FRIENDLY' NINTENDO'S SYSTEMS TO SNARE YOUR CHILDREN!"
The problem with Nintendo's approach is the bigger picture of market share: with this approach they will ALWAYS be number 3 out of 3.
Their market is ages 3 to 18. Their competitors' markets are ages 3-103.
Nintendo will always be the underdog with this strategy, because the average age of a person who plays games is always rising, and their target market will always be shrinking compared to the total market.
@AirElephant Those violent games are exactly what I wanted to and was playing at about the age Nintendo is targetting.
Then Nintendo will never give you what you want. They just won't. They may get a few token games, as they're getting on the Wii-U, but as these companies realize that titles like COD and MW don't sell on the platform, you won't see any of these series on Nintendo systems anymore. It's just the way it is.
@AirElephant I am not talking about now. (I am talking about when I was young.). Now what I want is traditional console games with at least the level of difficulty that I had with e.g the SNES.
Means I am mostly playing PC indie stuff. But the difference between now and when I was young is I can get something as soon as I want it. (What I am no longer willing to do is pay more for less amount of enjoyment out of the game.)
Its not that I remember them wrong because the Newer mod for NSMBW is exactly what I have wanted all along (Even though the 3 Nintendo games I have bought at full price have not being it at all). All it needed was good levels and I loved it.
Seriously.....if you are outraged by this and don't understand the reason behind them axing the app....temporarily....what's wrong with you. Nintendo should have accounts...tied to a credit card for proof of person and that is their fault but if they are having widespread issues then of course you suspend the service for the time being while you work out a solution. This is a no brainer. It also probably means unified accounts will have to be a priority in order to protect Nintendo from lawsuits in the future which is a win for us all. Personally I don't think anything on Nintendo's servers should be private. If you can't post it for all to see then why are you using Nintendo to communicate but that is just my opinion.
@Gerbwmu Only the really stupid would tie a child's device to a credit card.
@DestinyMan They let some of the most depraved games there are onto their devices. e.g http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doki_Doki_Majo_Shinpan
(Never played it but the description is probably the most disturbing I have ever read for a home console game excluding perhaps Advanced Variable Geo)
They should have done this after announcing a successor (Miiverse on 3DS!).
It seems like a lot of people see this as overreaction to a few crude penis drawings. Nintendo doesn't care about that in a few private messages. If they had knowledge of the service being used to distribute child pornography over their servers, they HAVE to shut it down. Even beyond the moral obligation, the legal ramifications would be huge, and they're nothing compared to the total loss of trust parents would have in the brand. Shutting it down was absolutely the right decision.
Good article and sums up my thought on the matter perfectly. I would hope and assume that a patch preventing photo's from being sent might be in the works and thus still allow folks to use the service.
I was hoping to get a 3ds for myself and my kids, the ability to send them hand drawn notes would have been nice since I work outstation and only see them once every 3 weeks =(
I agree that Nintendo could have handled the Swapnote situation better, but I also agree that the family-friendly approach is a huge part of what makes Nintendo what it is; they just need to focus on finding a way to maintain their family-friendly status without overdoing it and offending older gamers, though I imagine that's easier said than done. I just hope people don't use this as an excuse to launch a campaign against Nintendo about dropping their focus on families and younger audiences altogether and focusing entirely on the "adult" "hardcore" gamers.
@unrandomsam - how does one pay for XBox Live or PSN then? How bout an iPod......can't get free apps unless you have an account with a credit card. It also forces the parents to be liable because you must be 18 to have a credit card so if they are activating the account for their child then they assume responsibility for the actions taking with that item. Doesn't mean your CC info is available for all to see....just means that when you set up the online account you need to enter in your information. For parents that don't wish to set up an account, their children just don't have access to online items via their 3DS or Wii U. But yeah....your right....that's a stupid idea.
Regardless of everyone thinking Nintendo are going overboard to protect the children. What you guys need to remember, as Thomas pointed out in his article, it's against the the law to possess and distribute pictures of children in a provocative manor.
The last thing Nintendo needs is to be seen as the company that allows that kind of behaviour to happen on it's consoles.
The problem is, that kind of reputation is not good for any business, regardless of what it is.
And who here really thinks that it's ok for that to actually happen? I'd actually bet that not a single person here would be happy to be labeled as a pervert for the rest of their lives.
For those who don't have children yet, imagine for a moment that if it was your younger brother, sister, neice, or nephew and that you found out that they were sending pictures of themselves to people they didn't know. I'm sure you'd be furious.
@Gerbwmu You can buy the cards with cash at a shop if you want.
@dizzy_boy - beyond that, it's not just a matter of disabling pictures....the predators would still be able to private message and find other ways to get the pictures from their prey. You can't just punish the offenders because there is no way to tie an account to a person. Sure turn off the accounts but you can just open a new one. This isn't an overreaction like you stated, it was their only option until they find a way to correct the issues.
@dizzy_boy Facebook and Google are what the problem should be with. The problem is most of the same morons who are bothered about this sort of thing want those services for their own selfish reasons the children (That they don't raise properly) be damned.
If Nintendo is unwilling to have an account based system where they can just suspend or ban anyone who breaks the rules like Sony and Microsoft does, then they're never going to have that squeaky clean environment that they want. Either evolve when it comes to online Nintendo, or leave things as they are. Flipping the off switch is just a very lazy and pathetic way of handling things.
And it's not all Nintendo's fault either. It's horrible parenting that has also lead to this. A responsible parent would use parental controls and monitor their children rather than point the finger at Nintendo. Either be a responsible parent and protect your child from the ''darker'' parts of the internet (or the internet altogether), or don't have kids in the first place.
@Knux Succeeding utterly in that mission. (At least until they go to university). Only makes the problem worse in the end. It is the same of all the kid's from super clean environments who develop asthma. (Whereas the ones who play in mud are totally ok).
@unrandomsam - Yep, and I can go buy an iTunes card at Target with cash.....but guess what....I can't use it unless I have an account....and I can't have an account with out a credit card. Again....it doesn't mean they use your card for charges...it just verifies who you are and your address as well as you being over 18. My 4 year old son plays with my iPod touch...but he can't download anything because I have a password for my account....and guess what...the app store has my CC info because it was required to set up my account.
Maybe everybody should change the names of their mii's to something that is a statement of fact like "boys have a penis girls have a vagina".
@Gerbwmu Fairly certain that is not a requirement at least in the UK. If it was then I would use a one time use virtual card or some other method. (Either way it wouldn't be happening).
By fair means or foul.
Given the current infrastructure of Nintendo online services and the content of the pics, this was the only option.
I hope when they implement a proper account system, Swapnote gets back on track.
Looks like even in the US via the web you can create an Apple id without a card. (Probably do it using a test card number if it comes to that).
The way the media works they could spin it that Nintendo actually planned it to be a haven for paedophiles and only cancelled it when they were caught out. (Those type of places like the Daily Mail are the places that need to be bribed sad but true).
@unrandomsam - well it was a while ago that I opened my account....Maybe it has changed some or maybe it is different now. At any rate it would solve the problem. You could still use cash cards to download games if you didn't want an account.....just wouldn't be able to use any apps that require said account. Nintendo would have info to turn over to authorities if there was an issue and they would have a system in place to guard against liability
@Gerbwmu The easiest way asks for one. (They want you to do that. If your detailed are saved you will spend more either on purpose or accidently they don't care most of the accidental ones parents won't bother complaining about so they gain overall).
I agree 100%. As i've argued yesterday, the family friendly image is crucial for Nintendo. If you can get 'm young, you can hook 'm for life!
@unrandomsam - Then you don't get an account. I've never used the communication services on my 3DS....I have no need for it so I wouldn't need an account. I do download games to the Wii now Wii U when there are ones I want to purchase but again, I could use cash cards if I had concerns about my idenity safety. I understand your point of view....but for all those complaining about Nintendo doing the right thing....I'm offering a solution. One that would allow people to continue using the service if they wanted. And yes....as a parent I'd opt out of having an account for my child, they don't need it.
Checking my 3DS Log, it says the last time I used Swapnote was on April 20th, 2013. That kinda says I don't care about them removing it as I never used it. I also wonder how many of the people complaining about it actually used it on a regular basis.
If I want to communicate with my gaming friends, I use Skype, AIM or I use my phone to send them a text message or call. There is also email. I bought my 3DS for playing games, after all.
I know it is harsh to take such a measure, but it was their service, it was free so it is their choice if they want to shut it down. Hopefully this will be the perfect excuse to actually have Miiverse on 3DS faster.
@sinalefa For me I would rather have all none gaming functions removed. Repurpose the miiverse servers to be used for online gaming.
they got me young. I'm no longer hooked for life.
Until recently (maybe the past 2 months) I have always defended Nintendo and stuck with them. Now I am almost done with them all together. They keep on making poor choices and they really need to step up in order to push the Wii U. Like at one point, I was ready to accept buying every big 3rd party release like COD and buy the Wii U version just cause and now I think I'll hold off on all 3rd party games and just get them for Xbox One eventually. Then they pull the only practical way of talking to my friends on 3DS away and pull the plug on photo sharing just because some idiots are using these services inappropriately. Number one, Nintendo devices have parental controls so THEY should be pushing that kind of info out to parents. Like we could have had separate accounts on 3DS from the go but they choose friend codes again because it's "safe". I know they still don't have a full fledged network for unified accounts and they are apparently working on it but if they thought about all of this sooner, all of this could have been avoided. As much of a fanboy for Nintendo I am, I don't want to be blinded by their mistakes and just accept this. idk, that's just my view on this.
We don't know the specifics, so I'm gonna assume Nintendo are justified in taking this seemingly drastic action, disappointing and frustrating as it is. I haven't experienced miiverse yet and I'll be delighted if it comes to 3DS so I can see what all the fuss is about
@unrandomsam this could actually happen, never underestimate what the filthy tabloid press could do for a headline! Facts and truth are irrelevant, believe me
@MJKOP The other problem is such publications being so popular. The readership has at least some of the blame.
Absolutely. I buy no papers at all now, not much in the grand scheme of things but I'm doing my little bit
Meh, it was a good run. Thanks for the times Ninty!
But apparently my Credit Card excludes me from your desired demographic, and so...
-1 Hardcore Nintendo Supporter
as above, this doesn't make me very happy. I may reconsider my waning interest in Nintendo once Iwata is sent packing. I loved the idea of Wiiware but they slapped everyone in the face with such horrible support and marketing, and have made it VERY clear that they don't take anything online seriously and want to stick to their tradition of solid games only; Yet dropped the ball on that too with WiiU due to their overconfidence. besides the 3DS they've been late to every other game in gaming and there are too many other options to keep forgiving them over and over.
I saw a little kid with his mom playing a 2DS the other day. Just trying to be a nice social guy without being a total creep, I said something like "Hey cool! I love Nintendo! What game are you playing, Pokemon?" To which he replied, "No, Mario". lol. One of the things I love about gaming is that people of all ages can enjoy it. If I ever have kids they will undoubtedly play games, and I know I'll always have Nintendo games and consoles as long as they're around.
I am still extremely confused about this decision and the obsessive desire from nintendo to block all content which could be adult or not kid friendly, I have family members who have both PS3s and 360s, no matter what happens online (little kids cursing each other out or sending offensive messages) some how those services have remained intact,if i want to curse about a game or situation to one of my friends then its ok, but Miiverse has blocked messages of mine that were in no way wrong, disrespectful or harmful, and even when i tried to explain that OMG isnt a offensive term or phrase my posts still remained blocked and I remained flagged. My point is that nintendo NEEDS to create an adult community so that those of us who actually enjoy our freedom of speech can voice ourselves without mom and dad punishing us, this swapnote spotpass issue is an example of how Nintendo is sorely mismanaged and showing its age.
Swapnote was a HUGE feature when recommending the system to friends and family especially living far off. It is a unique and charming application that I immensely preferred using in concordance with my 3DS games and communities of friends over traditional social media.
Removal of picture attachments would have solved any potential for REAL misuse.
You can't stop 12yo's from drawing a wang from time to time... and you shouldn't.
more evidence that common courtesy, common sense, common decency and discretion are all DEAD.
@BlackStar9000 OMG is the same as Oh My God which can be construed as using the Lords name in vain. Fairly obvious one that.
While I'm extremely annoyed with the removal of the service, what angers me more is the Lack of Warning Beforehand.
While there was a small article on their website, not many people check their site every day. I only knew about it because someone posted a link to it, on Tumblr. And I only saw that on Halloween evening. I don't know how long the article had been up before that though. But it doesn't matter. They should have sent a warning out beforehand via Spotpass, giving us a week or so before the pulling of the plug. But nope, the message about the service termination was After the plug had been pulled. Heck, they could have even sent one last special message out to warn us, it wouldn't have been that hard surely?
Sony would have done the same thing (They would disable access to games you have paid for due to one of their unfixed problems even).
At least with Microsoft you get notice. (i.e All the good Skype stuff that avoids the skype UI and adverts will stop working in December).
@sinalefa you have to admit though, a warning first would have been nice, in case you had some really cool 3D photos that you wanted to share, but hadn't got round to doing so yet.
This is not that related to the article but I wouldn't mind a more mature Zelda with a darker style, sort of like MM and TP but that's just me. That said, I think if Pokemon or Mario went into a more violent direction, it would alienate fans. But series like Zelda, Metroid, Fire Emblem and Star Fox definitely have the capacity to have more mature themes, in fact they have in the past. I know the majority of the Nintendo fanbase likes family oriented games but this is an older life long Nintendo fan that craves for a Nintendo series like Zelda to explore darker themes like it has before but on a wider scale.
The only reason this issue has arisen is because of WORTHLESS, GARBAGE, INCOMPETENT, UNQUALIFIED PARENTS who didn't set the parental controls. That is THE ONLY REASON. Minors should not have unsupervised access to the Internet. PERIOD.
Nintendo provides parental controls and friend codes. If those aren't enough, it isn't Nintendo's fault. But, alas, Nintendo is too chicken to defend that point. So all online communication through Nintendo devices must be either blocked or moderated.
And the joke is all these kids have Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. I'm sure those are just squeaky clean.
It is funny (in a very distressing way) that stalkers and over protective parents use the exact same tactics.
It is also the same thing that happens in Romantic Comedies.
It wasn't all the inappropriate stuff that killed swapnote... It was all the lameoid ACNL & Pokemon spam that sent it to a early grave
"even Smash Bros. is easy for anyone to play."
I wish...I'm so bad at Smash Bros For some reason I just don't "get" fighting games
@AugustusOxy Sense. It has been written.
i still say streetpass is the dangerous one. you can't really block that i think. with spotpass of course if you add random people from the internet someone is going to post a picture of their "stuff" and send it to you
I don't get it. What's the benefit of this swapnote? Its just like sending messages with a phone or email. I know a lot can be upset about this, but really guys?
Question does swapnote allowed kids to do anything they couldn't do with a modern smartphone? Do parents seem to have any trouble buying smartphone for their kids?
I'm with the parents on this one. If you were a parent, and your kid was getting pictures of pensies through their handheld device, would you be happy? Probably not.
Angry parents are not good for business.
I never really used Swapnote...so this does not really affect me, but I am disappointed because if I ever do communicate with my overseas friends, it won't be allowed then..
Because Nintendo's "family friendly" image totally helped them sell the Gamecube... Oh wait, people didn't buy it because they thought it was ONLY for kids. I haven't seen their family friendly policies sell the Wii U, either. In fact, the opposite is true: if Nintendo can provide older players with more ways to communicate with each other, they will be more likely to buy their consoles.
There's no point in handicapping their online features for the sake of some family friendly image that is no longer relevant in the 21st century.
Nintendo's family friendly policy is a great thing, but I doubt any parents out there even factor that in when buying a console. So while they have fantastic ethics with regards to their responsibility towards their consumer, at the end of the day many video games revolve around violent fun that you can't really enjoy in the real world (without going to jail). So parents saying 'I love that Nintendo protects my kids' then setting them down blasting zombies, or trying to disable fellow racers with exploding blue shells kind of defeats the point.
However, Nintendo had to act on this one because some news story like 'Nintendo 3DS exposed my child to a sex offender', would be a sales killer.
A warning would not have worked for the problem they tried to solve. That is only telling stalkers to get the kids' phone number, etc. before the service is shut down.
"Nintendo's Safe and Family-Friendly Focus is Integral to Its Fortunes"
This is actually why we will never ever see Nintendo compete on specs ever again. They need to keep their price down as much as possible to make their devices attractive to families.... We see people all the time on the Internet complaining that Nintendo is the worse company in the world unless they release a machine on par to Sony and MS.
Wasn't Miiverse supposed to be getting picture sharing?! I remember a pic posted of the plane journey to E3 (I think)
@TheLilK98 The only Nintendo device I LOVE forever are their handhelds: I ride with Nintendo handhelds all the way into the sunset lol. I've never been keen on their consoles and always had a PS. Not getting a PS4 on launch (don't get launch anything except the new Nexus =P) but I really, really considered a Wii U. And when I made a list of potential games I would get, it basically came down to Pikmin 3, Wind Waker HD, MH3 Ultimate and RE: Revelations but I already own the latter two on 3DS (haven't played yet) and I'm totally not buying a console to play 2 games (currently).
Hm, doesn't the “1.11 Transfer, Expiration and Termination of Agreement” only allow them to terminate a portion of the agreement (including “2.6 Correspondance Application”) if they give “reasonable advance notice”? (which they didn't do)
Btw, the same document declines responsability over user-created content and urges parents to supervise their children's usage of the console. Just saying.
Well to be fair, people complain about the power of all three consoles. They just figure its a giant corporation so they can afford it. You see it everytime someone points out bulk prices and any other advantage they have over consumers.
With Nintendo it just gets added to the list of reasons they're out of touch, kiddie, or whatever the complaint is at the time. Its just another convenient thing to complain about for those already biased against the company. Funny thing is its the same sort of bias people accuse PC gamers of having.
@Gioku It smells good.
Im moving to Sony. My favorite thing about the 3ds was grooming children. Now they have removed it. Theres no point.
Their family friendly image is all that's keeping them afloat right now, so I don't blame them even though this whole thing is ridiculous.
They did take it too far, but the only reason I'm not upset is because Swapnote was useless as a messaging system.
Hopefully they replace it with a proper messaging system this time: one that allows the use of an on-screen keyboard to type messages and can be accessed without closing the game we're playing.
Good riddance Swapnote, your uselessness will not be missed by me.
@c1pher_c0mplet After all this lately I'd definitely be getting a PS4 instead if I didn't already own a Wii U.
@SanderEvers when I use the word "will" I am using the future tense of the verb "to be".
Of course what I said is not true, because it's a hypothetical future.
I'll be proved correct though ;-P
Enjoy it while it lasts. Just another sad sign of how way out of touch Nintendo is.
@SanderEvers sorry I was being unnecessarily antagonistic towards you with my reply.
When I said "ALWAYS will" that can easily mean "in the present and the future".
I was simply trying to draw a logical conclusion to Nintendo focusing on the child market.
Nintendo's two main competitors have traditionally focused on the 16+ market, but with Kinect and PS Move they've both made inroads to the child market, without alienating their older customers in the process.
By focusing on the child market, Nintendo will feature less and less in each successive generation.
I hope they'll come up with another Wii - another revolutionary system with mass-market appeal - but the Wii was an anomaly and is unlikely to be repeated any time soon:
I got a Wii and loved it. Several of my non-gaming friends got a Wii after playing Wii Sports or seeing it on TV.
Not a single gamer friend of mine bought a Wii. I couldn't convince them to do it.
They played my Wii games and they liked some of them, but they found Wii Sports to be quite gimmicky, and they complained about the controllers when playing other games.
They were all used to their Xbox/Dualshock controllers, or keyboard+mouse.
I thought they were boring and unwilling to try new things - unlike my non-gaming friends!
But I think that boring anecdote of mine is indicative of the bigger picture: the Wii sold well because it was mass-market. It was the SodaStream of the 2000s.
Yes it made a lot of people play games who hadn't played before.
But what it didn't do is turn those people into gamers.
The current install base of the Wii U is evidence of that.
im in that % that is finding this funny at one part but kinda confused or just surprised on why any one would use swapnote for anything innapropiate xD i get it if it was cussing or spam but wtf else? but yeah like someone else said where is the common sense in all this?or the parents i mean they already have parental control and what not o.O
oh well this doesnt really bother me i found it actually bit annoying i like the pm system on the wii u though even though it needs a update
I went to check the parental settings in the system and it has a feature that blocks sharing of data. Which means if they their parental controls and told parents to put them in place nothing would be getting out to kids. Meaning there is no reason to shut this down. And you write this like this is a new service. This has been out for almost two years. I have not seen any articles especially ones that say this is not safe for children to use. This is the first I seen from you guys. The only thing I have seen is articles saying this needs to be more user friendly. So it is weird seeing this article up when in the past you all would have not written this for this app.
Hmm... I really hope Ninty are doing something that will wow us..
Few months ago I posted on miiverse that having friends over for a few beers and nintendo land made for a great night, I was subsequently warned for breaching a rule that didn't exist in the miiverse code of conduct.
I do respect what nintendo are trying to do but if I can't act like an adult online (especially when I'm being a polite adult) then it justs put me off going online, after that happened I was so annoyed I didn't use miiverse for 2 months.
too bad they couldn't just turn off photo attachments until either they get their account system figured out or they get miiverse onto the 3DS, but I suppose there is still the ability to draw "inappropriate material"
The problems with censorship up to now have only affected the EU and US now they seem to be affecting Japan as well.
Don't really care about SwapNote to be honest, the last time I used the app was when it initially launched, then I quickly forgot about it.
Only remembered that this was a thing due to this "incident."
Besides, I use my 3DS to play games, not to text or send poorly drawn doodles to my friends. I have several other devices that do those things already, and do it better .
All this "bad decision" talk made me think about Nintendo's position...but 3DS's success made me rethink that
@eza The Wii U install base is proof of poor decisions made with the Wii U. Did you know that Wii systems and Wii games still outsell Wii U systems and games? And that despite Nintendo abandoning Wii - their last release was, what, Mario Party 9 over a year ago?
People really liked the Wii and many would still like to continue playing on it. The Wii U's problem is that it's been one poor decision after another, so people have had a hard time liking it. And continuing decisions like this new one don't make it easier for people to like Nintendo or their systems. Essentially, even the 2DS/3DS could be doing better than they are doing know, but the systems are fighting Nintendo's stubborn decision-making itself.
Yeah Miiverse would make Swapnote moot. It's not like I used Swapnote for much anyways. Now as far as their regulation of Miiverse I believe having a separate Miiverse that only adults could access would help. That doesn't mean it will be a haven of debauchery (Xbox Live can keep that distinction) but that adults can engage in adult conversations in a mature and polite manner. Or people can be responsible parents and use the parental controls like adults.
While I understand that Nintendo wants to be one of the only dominant video game makers who embrace family values and protect kids, I think in ways it is holding them back from the online integration and universal access that other game companies have already pioneered. Nintendo is going to get left behind, just like Atari did when Nintendo took over its market in the mid 80's because Nintendo was innovative.
Why don't nintendo just make a waiver with a few agreements and clauses stating that every new system must now be carded regardless of age so that gamestop or store clerks who are selling the systems can make sure that the person is 21 and over so they can tell this adult whos purchasing this system for a child can be warned of the dangers of adult contents through swapnote.. so they can set up the parental controls for the underage child to prevent this apocalypse lol.. cause im 24.. and this really ridiculous of what nintendo is doing.. like hellooo children arent the only gamers with handheld devices!!! Adults play too! Lol
I agree that Miiverse should be a safe place! From the little I experienced of Miiverse so far, it is a happy and fun place! And it should stay that way!
I agree with the account system, and if they fix this they can solve their little problem of letting US consumers get everything last or not at all it's getting annoying.
@MaverickHunterX "Besides, I use my 3DS to play games, not to text or send poorly drawn doodles to my friends. I have several other devices that do those things already, and do it better ."
You're missing the point, though. If you're talking about messaging your personal friends then yes, you simply use your phone, Skype, or whatever to stay in touch with them. But a "friend" in terms of a console's Friends List doesn't necessarily equate with a personal friend. More concisely, you may have people registered as "friends" to your Friends List that aren't personal contacts. So in that sense, Swapnote (as slow and backwards as it gets imo) was the only way of messaging the non-personal "friends" in your 3DS's Friends List. I know I and many others are in that same boat. If everyone I had in my Friends List were personal contacts then yeah, I'd just text them or call 'em when I needed something in AC:NL or wanted to battle in X/Y.
@Mahe heheh I didn't know that the Wii's still outselling the Wii U. I would have thought that pretty much anyone who wanted a Wii has got one by now
And you're right that people would like to keep on playing their Wiis.
I think the Wii had a great software library. I bought most of the games that are 'green' (above 70?) on Metacritic and still play a lot of them today. It's the same with my DS games.
I went out and bought a Wii U at launch because I'm a Nintendo fan. I was worried the shop would be sold out so I went a couple of days early and spoke to the manager. He sold me one there and then, and they never sold out on launch day or afterwards.
Compare that to the launch of the Wii, where I was queuing up at midnight with lots of excited people. When I got the original Wii home and fired up Wii Sports there was something magical about the whole experience that was lacking with the Wii U...
I like my Wii U a lot and I think it has a lot of potential, but it hasn't excited me yet in the same way the Wii did. Still, my 3DS didn't get all that much use at first, but now I play it a lot, so hopefully that can happen with the Wii U.
(now I've rambled off-topic for long enough so will stop!)
As I said earlier, Its OK disabling Swapnote SpotPass between users for the family friendly thing and kids' safety... but why stopping special notes and stationery??
I think the "kid friendly" marketing Nintendo has is actually detrimental to their success. Nintendo wants to market themselves as the "kid friendly" company they've always been while at the same time saying they are also for hardcore gamers, but they are clearly prioritizing the "kid friendly" image which is driving away hardcore gamers. Not just gamers, they are also driving away developers from the Wii U.
Friend Codes by themselves are ridiculous, neither Sony or Microsoft has had any issues without such and asinine restriction,or ANY games like free MMOs which are often populated with people of all ages (the games being free and all) and allow free chat, which kids have just as much access to if their parents choose to be equally as passive in their parenting (assuming the said parents do want certain things hidden from their kid/s despite their passive parenting).
The 3DS ALREADY has parental controls, if parents want their kids censored from things they should spent 10 minutes to set it up rather than expect the system simple not be capable of showing them anything that might be offensive, even with connection to the internet AND a built in internet browser (for which you can basically see anything, [i]anything[/])! it's like the idiots who demand television or the internet be censored in case someone sees something they don't agree with.
On top of that, Nintendo is being an outright HYPOCRITE, as the Friend Safari in Pokemon X/Y literally encourages you to add stranger's friend codes at random, if you don't you are at a disadvantage in the game!
Nintendo has done nothing right in this situation. Pokemon has become a game that is heavy online play and encourages CONSTANT interaction with STRANGERS. The kid friendly image, when in brace to strongly, only hurts Nintendo. They can't get third party devs and other hardcore gamers if they are going to be all "we need to save the children". How about parenting, huh? What happened to the parents' responsibility. My generation and coming generations are f'ed up, and Nintendo can't control that. Little kids are like not innocent AT ALL, that is not Nintendo's problem. Nintendo's job is to make good artistic games and get a profit. When trying to be family friendly gets in the way of gaming experience, there is a problem.
@eza Yep, pretty much in the same boat. I do like the Wii U and it has a number of good games, but so far it just hasn't lit up the same kind of a spark that Wii did. Part of that does have to do with Nintendo's "kiddy" sensibilities: rather than the pupper characters in Zelda: Battle Quest, I would have liked that game to be more in Twilight Princess' style, for example. (Twilight Princess was and still is a great game.) And with these kinds of restrictions as now with Swapnote, they are alienating some potential customers. Question is, how many customers will remain if Nintendo goes too far?
Nice piece Thomas. I would have liked to have seen more about how Nintendo's family friendly focus is integral to its fortunes though.
I myself have written a reaction to this announcement here - http://leetgamers.asia/editor-reaction-johnny-blaze-nintendo-pulls-the-plug-on-swapnote-letter-box-after-discovering-minors-were-receiving-illicit-photos/ that covers the story from a PR angle.
You know swinging to an extreme POV you dislike in an attempt to discredit said point of view is foolish and does little to serve in bringing people across to your side. This is hardly is a heavy handed as it is made to be.
Sending lewd pics to underage kids is really messed up stuff and a serious offence in most countries. We can say all we want about how Nintendo essentially napalmed the situation, but in all honesty I rather focus my frustration on the brain trust that thought it genius to send vulgar crap to lil runties and ruined the service for all of us because frankly they are the ones who truly are to blamed for this debacle. I just hate the fact that we have to be nannied because certain people just can't show some sense of responsibility.
I just hope that this is either replaced by miiverse or reinstituted in some form soonish.
Stop focusing on kid/family games because its NOT WORKING! Also, kids grow up and don't always play kiddie games. Plus most gamers either play alone or online multiplayer, NOT with family. Stop killing your own business with dumb choices. I'll be happy to save your business from failing for a reasonable fee.
Wish the writer of this article waited until it was revealed that Swapnote was used to commit sexual abuse...
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