A new system update is headed to the Nintendo 3DS, which may enable more frequent StreetPass encounters, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata shared with analysts this week.
While StreetPass encounters between 3DS owners are frequent in Nintendo’s home market of Japan, the sheer size of regions like America and Europe can make it hard to come across other Nintendo 3DS owners at all, especially in less densely populated areas. Nintendo’s solution to this is to enable StreetPass encounters using Wi-Fi access points.
Fast food outlets like McDonald’s and Starbucks provide about 28,000 Wi-fi access points in the U.S. and about 24,000 in Europe. Nintendo will release a 3DS system update this autumn that will allow these access points to act as StreetPass relay stations between various 3DS owners in the U.S. and Europe. While you won’t technically be physically “passing by” someone to get their data, the servers will act as intermediaries and help close the gap.
“Previously the StreetPass feature required multiple Nintendo 3DS systems in Sleep Mode to be in the same location at the same time,” Iwata says, “but in this framework, you can exchange data with others by visiting the same location even at a different time, so we can certainly expect the use rate of the StreetPass feature to grow significantly.”
Nintendo hope that these measures will boost StreetPass encounters in the West and encourage more Nintendo 3DS owners to take their systems out with them on the go.