New update fixes the 3DS’s most novel (and useless) feature
StreetPass is awesome.
For those not in the know, StreetPass is Nintendo’s unique geocentric take on asynchronous gameplay, essentially involving the transfer of data between two systems when they are near each other within a 100 feet range, for all games that the two systems share in common- regardless of whether that game is even being played at the moment of the data transfer.
It’s seen some novel usage in games, and even more novel implementation at the OS level, but the feature, which was clearly designed with Japan’s high density metro areas in mind, rarely seems to be of any use in the west, where, in spite of a comparable install base, the systems are much more widely disbursed. StreetPass becomes an interesting but useless novelty.
Not so anymore. The latest 3DS update ‘fixes’ StreetPass for western audiences by introducing relay points, reports CVG. In Nintendo’s own words:
“StreetPass data can now be exchanged with any compatible Nintendo Zone access point in range, the user receives StreetPass data from the previous Nintendo 3DS user to exchange StreetPass data with the access point. At the same time, the user’s StreetPass data is stored for the next Nintendo 3DS user to receive. (Note that this service is only available in select countries).”
So that sounds like a fairly reasonable update. Hopefully this will lead to StreetPass becoming much more useful worldwide, and to its consequent better implementation in games from here on out.