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Nintendo Stops Swapnote SpotPass Service Over Offensive Material

by Mike Futter on Nov 01, 2013 at 02:04 AM

Yesterday evening, Nintendo took a step with its SpotPass service to protect minors from offensive content. The company has disabled the sharing of notes via Swapnote.

The news came by way of a SpotPass notification. The shutdown is immediate and world wide, as revealed in the full statement (below).

Thank you for your support.

Nintendo has learned that some consumers, in clouding minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material. 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.

Nintendo always wants to provide a positive experience for all consumers and limit the risk of any inappropriate activity or misuse of a service. We feel it is important on this occasion to take this action.

We are very sorry for any inconvenience to the many consumers who have been using this service responsibly; however, this decision was made considering the point that many minors also use this feature of Swapnote. Thank you for your understanding.

Nintendo also indicates that it will be increasing awareness of parental features, which allow ratings-based password gating and  the disabling of 3D for younger children. Other SpotPass services are unaffected, but the notification does suggest that special notes (like those announcing new games) will also be ceased. 


Our Take
Nintendo is making the right call here. The company has a tradition and reputation for family friendliness. While it certainly isn’t responsible for the actions of those that abuse this service with mature material, being proactive before there is a big mainstream story is smart.