There are two ways to keep your online servers humming and healthy. There’s the Sony strategy of waiting until they break down and putting up a notice after the fact, and then there’s the preferable Nintendo method of letting players know well ahead of time.
A few days from now, Nintendo announced today, the servers for the online portions of games like Splatoon and Super Mario Maker — as well as the Nintendo eShop — will be down for maintenance. The downtime will occur between 5 PM Pacific on January 11 and 3 AM Pacific on January 12; one night’s time.
Online play has become a key component of Nintendo’s more recent titles, with Splatoon being the biggest example — there’s a single-player game hidden within it somewhere, but it is first and foremost an online shooter. Nearly every other game they’ve released on Wii U has used an online element, from in-game Miiverse messages to bonus updates and DLC content to entire multiplayer modes. They were well behind their console competition adapting to this whole “Internet” thing, but their long-overdue 21st century offerings have been wonderful, and better yet, it’s all been free.
The end result, though, is that the absence of online content from Wii U will be more noticeable than ever before, starting from the very point you turn it on and the Miis don’t rush on screen. You’ve been warned well in advance to find something else to do on Monday night.