E3 Week: The Nintendo 3DS: Now With More Streetpasses!

We here at Potaku love streetpasses. If we meet up and one of us hasn’t brought his 3DS along, he is shamed. Shamed, I say!

Streetpasses are grossly absorbing when they really shouldn’t be. It’s fun to see that green light pop up on your 3DS and see how many other 3DS owners you’ve passed that day. You collect puzzle pieces from them to make pictures of games on the console, and you enlist the help of their Mii in a simple dungeon quest in which your reward is fancy hats. Everybody loves hats!

But, certainly in Australia and perhaps in other countries outside of Japan, the amount of streetpassing we actually do is very minimal. When I go through the city on an average day I might get five or six streetpasses, and one of those is either Doc or Cakesmith (sometimes both!). Compare this to ShiggyNinty’s experience in Japan:

‘Streepasses were insane. I went from having 100 people (in the Streetpass Plaza) to 650 in about a week and a half. Everyone seemed to have it and I constantly had to clear out my 3DS just to only clear it out again 5 minutes later.’

Pretty big difference between the experiences there. The most I’ve ever seen was at last years EB Expo, which would be expected from a gathering of gamers. But that would have been a daily occurence in Japan! It’s rare for us to actually reach the limit of ten unchecked streetpasses, and outside of the city, you’re lucky to get even one streetpass. Our 3DS’ are so lonely.

That might hopefully change a bit in the future, though. In Nintendo’s analyst briefing at E3 Satoru Iwata outlined how the company plans to breathe more life into the streetpass system for players outside of Japan. The way it works is simple. Wi-fi access points will be introduced to places like Starbucks and McDonalds. When you take a 3DS to one of these locations, the console connects and communicates with the access point. Your streetpass data is sent into the access point, and the data of another 3DS user who has visited previously is sent to your 3DS.

So it’s like an indirect streetpass, shared across time. The two people were still in the same place, but separated by hours or even days. Iwata added ‘the surprising and magical feeling of exchanging data with someone you simply shared a location with is as real as before.‘ I don’t know about any magical feeling, but if this means more pink puzzles pieces and more hats, I’m all for this.

‘Previously the StreetPass feature required multiple Nintendo 3DS systems in Sleep Mode to be in the same location at the same time, 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 will be introducing 28,000 of these access points in the U.S., and a further 24,000 across Europe. There’s been no mention on when, if ever, such a feature might come to Australia, but for the sake of completing Puzzle Quest I seriously hope they consider us in future plans.


  1. Go to Brisbane. That place is off the hook. 21 streetpasses in one day of wandering around! Including 3 while I was asleep in the park!

    1. strangist · · Reply

      Oh man, that never happens to me! 😦

    2. Why on earth were you sleeping in the park?! 😛

      1. I had been to a concert the night before and had been walking around all morning. My feet hurt and I was exhausted!

  2. strangist · · Reply

    That’s a great idea. I’m definitely taking my 3DS to the US next year, now. It would be awesome if it did end up being implemented here though.

    1. I honestly thought streetpasses in the US would be better than here but I asked some friends and it sounds like it’s about the same, kinda surprised me. But when they get these access points… *shakes fist*

      1. I picked up more streetpasses in that one day in Brisbane than I did in 3 weeks in San Francisco. Was super disappointed. I think everybody’s too cool to use a Nintendo, and just play stuff on their phone instead.

  3. i live in Harmony Minnesota and i dont get any streetpasses exept from my sister

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