Post Mortem: Streetpass Relay

Well, I’d better start making these as series for these type of posts, So another post mortem post.

Considering that there are three things that are closing this month, that I could write about. I’m going to choose Streetpass Relay points, over the Wii Shopping Channel, and the Toys R Us chain.

What is Streetpass?

Streetpass is a opt-in communication tool built in to all Nintendo 3DS and 2DS models. It will pass limited information about your games to other 3DSes within 100 feet or less. Most of the information will not identify a person. The most I could find is User Mii, and name and a Short comment limited to a few words, along with which games you played.

The feature developed from the Tag Mode that was in handful of DS games. Unlike that Tag Mode, the 3DS Streetpass didn’t need the game to be running or even had the cart in the slot.

 

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3DS Bottom Screen, showing Streetpass hits on the Streetpass Mii Plaza, as indicated with a Green Dot.

To alert the User to an successful Streetpass, status light on the hinge will flash green. (On the 2DS, which doesn’t fold, this light is in the top right of the system). A Green Dot will also appear on the bottom right of the icon of the game, and a notification. This light will also flash in other colours such as Blue pending online message using Spotpass, Orange a Friend is online, and Red for Low battery.

Since you need to opt in to Streetpass within each game, almost all the 3DS games didn’t require you using Streetpass to progress though that game. The biggest game that required the use of Steetpass was “Streetpass Mii Plaza”, which was part of the 3DS system software and is on every 3DS and 2DS model. This was to encourage the use of Streetpass, and show of one of the feature of the 3DS systems.

Streetpass Mii Plaza did offer alternative to progress though most of the content it provided. It provided it via Play Coins, which is earned via using the build in Pedometer inside the 3DS. (I omitted mentioning these features during my NEW 3DS Review, as I was covering the changes between a standard 3DS and the NEW 3DS, not features available to both versions of the systems.)

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Mii of Shigeru Miyamoto in one of StreetPass Mii Plaza’s Minigames. Taken 15th Feb 2017. (This appearence was part of a Promotion, and arrived via Spotpass, not Streetpass)

It is worth noting that there are additional limits. Depending on the game, only a certain number of Streetpass hits could happen, before you would be required to play the game to “Redeem” the Streetpass hits for that game. Streetpass Mii Plaza had a limit of 10 Per visit. Most Other games had higer limits. Once a Limit was hit your 3DS could not generate Streetpass hits with other 3DS conoles. Also, A pair 3DSes would ignore each other in terms of Streetpass for 8 hours after a hit. If there a game was not on both Consoles to share data, it was also ignored. The final limit is that only 12 games were supported on a single 3DS at any one time.

So what are Streetpass Relay points?

Introduced in Streetpass Replay points are a way to ensure people to gain more Streetpass hits. Relay points are actually wifi access points have an additional connection to a Nintendo server. This will allow the Streetpass data to stay at the Relay point while until the next 3DS comes past. Almost all the games that used Streetpass didn’t require an equal number of Streetpass hits in to how many went out. The only recorded “games” that didn’t work was mentioned in an Iwata Asks interview on Streetpass Relay was Nintendo Letterbox/SwapNote and a Japanese Exclusive Football game.

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Greeting Mii’s in Streetpass Mii Plaza. Returning Miis can post Personal one time Messages. This Personal message posted to removed as this was posted to Miiverse. The Message was “Fuzzy Pickles”, which is used by Earthbound’s Camreaman instead of “Cheese.” (23 Nov 2016)

Due to the ability for a Relay point to send Multiple Hits to a 3DS console, quite often the last 6 visitors for all 12 of the games had their data passed to the latest 3DS.

Thoughts on Streetpass before the Relay points

Prior to release of the Relay points, many people where unable to get Streetpass hits at all. Most of the hits I’ve gotten prior to the Release of Relay points where from Store Demonstration 3DS Units, which while common limited users to a single game: Streetpass Mii Plaza. I purchased a 3DS console in spring of 2012, almost a full year before the relay points started in Spring 2013. I had about 15 hits across in that entire year, even visiting Insomnia 46 where one would expect at lot of 3DS owners to be there, I only got 5 hits over the Entire weekend. (I was there from the setting up on first day, until tear down almost complete on the last day.)

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Super Smash Bros for 3DS – “StreetPass Quest” Stage. This is based on the Minigame in Streetpass Mii Plaza. This was posted just after Amiibo Support was added. (10 Feb 2015)

Some of the issue was that I was playing more DS games on my 3DS, as DS mode disabled most of the 3DS features (so no Streetpass hits while playing a DS game). Some of the issue was partly as Nintendo was still releasing DS games during this year before Relay points started.

 

Another was number of 3DS consoles quite low, so the chance of finding another 3DS was not high. While Insomnia 46 event PC and Traditional Console focused I had expected the high concentration of gamers to bring their 3DS to alot more hits during the weekend. Many people had brought a expensive PC, but very few had even purchased a 3DS.

So what was the change that Streetpass Relay points did?

Soon after the Streetpass Relay points started in July 2013, I noticed I got quite few hits. I assumed that this was down to people like me, who carried a 3DS around with them almost all the time, due to a change in my routine, I was regularly passing a few 3DS consoles. However not much time later Nintendo announced StreetPass relay points, I then noticed a sharp update in Street pass hits. Also with the news of a Pokémon game on the 3DS due soon didn’t hinder the uptake of 3DS owners, and them bringing their 3DS out.

For me, Instead of barely getting a single hit in a month. I often filled up my Streetpass Mii Plaza multiple times per trip. This allowed me complete most of the Puzzle Swap images, I even “completed” all the available Puzzles available for some time.

So what will happen now?

As of 28th March 2018, the ability to use Streetpass Relay points was discontinued in Japan, and possibly other places as well. However for me personally, my local Streetpass Relay spot had been taken offline in November.

Even before the November, I noticed a down turn in hits, partly due to Streetpass Relay partners withdrawing their support and a number of 3DS owners starting to abandon the 3DS for the Switch.

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Tomodachi Life’s travelers waiting for the next Streetpass before they can leave. (Taken 23rd March 2015) 

Additionally, many of the recent 3DS titles had chosen to omit Streetpass. I didn’t really think anything strange about it then. Also I personally don’t think anyone inside Nintendo was expecting the 3DS to still be expected to have new games in 2019, when a Mario game is due for release on the 3DS.

As said in a earlier paragraph, most game did not require Streetpass to progress. Many games offered an alternative method, or used Streetpass to help progress proceed faster. I hit the 12 Game limit several back in 2013. At that point I culled a few games that I stopped playing, many others in the following years,  I chose never to enable it, usually due to the fact that in game progression was not going to be hampered, or I expected that I would have only a few sessions with this game before completing it.

In both January 2014 and January 2015, I purchased additional 3DS consoles. While I won’t be getting many Streetpass hits, I can still Streetpass and I may continue for many years down the line.

PHOTO NOTES: Most of the images here are provided from Mike Sharpe’s personal Miiverse account. As images were expected to be public, only a small selection of suitable images were taken. Addtionally some games limited access to Miiverse when in showing data via Streetpass.

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