Nintendo announced today that they will discontinue service for some of the original Wii’s online features this summer.
Five of the Wii’s online “channels” will be the first parts of the Wii’s online infrastructure to go down. Those channels are the Nintendo Channel, the Everybody Votes Channel, the News Channel, the Mii Contest Channel, and the Forecast Channel.
Other online services available through the Wii, such as the Wii Shop, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and the ability to play games online, will still be available, at least for now.
I don’t think anybody is going to miss the Everybody Votes Channel or the Wii’s News Channel, but the loss of these services is a definite reminder that the Wii’s online servers won’t be up forever, so if you’re still into Super Smash Bros Brawl or Monster Hunter Tri, you might want to play those games online while you still can (or consider upgrading to a 3DS or a Wii U.)
Personally, I never used the Wii’s online features much, outside of downloading Virtual Console games. The horrendous lag and frequent disconnections I encountered when I tried to play Smash Bros. Brawl online were enough to deter me from even attempting to play other Wii games online, but honestly, online functionality was never the reason I bought the system in the first place. Nintendo has never revealed how many Wii owners used the system’s online features regularly, but I have to imagine that it’s be far below the number of active Xbox Live and PSN users, despite the Wii’s massive 100 million user installed base; there just weren’t that many compelling reasons to connect the system to the internet. Thankfully, Nintendo’s network on the 3DS and the Wii U are a substantial improvement over the Wii’s, but they still definitely have a lot to learn about managing an online service.
Anyway, to get back on topic — if you were one of the strange people who actually used the Wii channels that are going offline, you still have until June 28th to enjoy the content on those channels. After that, they’re gone forever.