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December 30, 2013

Nintendo Shutters eShop Temporarily Amidst Several Issues

Nintendo looked to close out its year on the strength of a recent good news / bad news sort of situation that just recently landed, and closed the Nintendo eShop for a while at the end of last week. A 12 hour outage was scheduled, and while some of the trouble was due to a recent merger undertaken by the system, the rest of the trouble was caused by high traffic volumes, and that's reasonably good news for Nintendo itself.

Reports emerged to suggest that users had been having trouble with the eShop platform worldwide, as gamers were out to both download new games and add systems to the network by getting new Nintendo Network Ids; both Wii U systems and Nintendo 3DS systems were in on the action, so the issues of traffic became, ultimately, somewhat self-evident. Word came out of Nintendo's U.K. Twitter (News - Alert) account that the eShop was going offline for a while to fix some problems, and a statement from the company offered further clarification. The statement noted “...a high volume of traffic on the Nintendo Network service,” and offered an apology to its users, noting that the move was undertaken in a bid to “...manage the high volume of traffic and ultimately improve your experience.”

Several problems had been seen previously with the eShop, and reports suggest that it was eShop problems that delayed the launches of “Pokemon Bank” and “Pokemon Transporter,” subscription-based services that allowed for not only storage of pokemon—as many as 3,000 at last report—but also the ability to bring said pokemon into future games, like the new “Pokemon X / Y.”

I noted earlier that this was a good news / bad news situation, and looking at the wider picture, it makes sense. This is indeed a major blow to Nintendo, having to shut down its online shopping platform in the midst of the post-Christmas rush, and delay the start of whole new services while a hefty chunk of its target market is on Christmas break. But at the same time, this shows that Nintendo still has some life left in it, and that it's actually got something of a chance to compete in the next-gen stakes as Sony and Microsoft (News - Alert) offer huge showings with the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.

Of course, it's somewhat diminished the value of that chance by shutting down a fairly major part of its operations during what should be a busy time of year, but if Nintendo can bring it back stronger than ever, that may be a help in the long term. There's still plenty of Christmas break left for most school-age children—normally it doesn't end until just after New Year's—so the sooner Nintendo is back in the fray, the better. It would also be a good idea for Nintendo to offer up a little apology credit for its users, so as to not only acknowledge the inconvenience, but also make it right in a fashion a little more tangible—and thus more sincere—than a press release apology. Still, Nintendo clearly isn't out of the fray yet—just ask all the folks who tried to get into the eShop recently—but it's going to have its work cut out for it to keep up with the other two major systems in the field.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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