Fortunate updates with Nintendo Network
Edit December 27th, 2023 7:35 PM UTC: Nintendo has fixed the friends sync issue during maintenance
This is an update to our last blog post, where we discussed some issues regarding Nintendo Network and how they could possibly be linked to the upcoming shutdown. This post aims to provide updates on the situation, as things have begun to improve.
This is a developing situation. As such, this blog post may be updated at any time as new information comes in. Edits will be mentioned above this introduction.
For the media
We deeply appreciate members of the media wanting to cover this situation, and using us as a trusted source for information. We saw a number of outlets covering our last blog post, and we think it's wonderful they are trying to spread the word. With that said, some outlets did a less than stellar job at reporting our last post, not covering some topics fully or accurately. We would like to ask that members of the media who wish to cover anything posted by us please contact us first to verify the accuracy and legitimacy of the information. We have contacts open on most major social media, and would be happy to discuss things.
Table of Contents
- New Account Syncing
- New Account Syncing (Friends)
- Super Mario Maker (Dead Servers)
- Super Mario Maker (AWS)
Before we begin, I'd like to thank members of both our community and Nintendo for their parts in this situation. In our last blog post we urged users to not spam Nintendo regarding these issues, which many followed. We would like to thank those who followed that advice, as we have been given confirmation that those actions may have led Nintendo to act "in a way that's negative". We were told this by our media contact, who will remain anonymous. This contact was able to reach out to Nintendo directly, and together we were able to privately forward these issues to the correct channels.
We noted in our last blog post that it was unclear whether these issues were intentional or not, and it appears that this was indeed unintentional. While we cannot confirm whether or not Nintendo will take action on all issues presented to them, we would like to thank Nintendo for taking the time to at least acknowledge the issues and look into correcting them. We would also like to specifically thank the engineers and other IT staff at Nintendo working to maintain these legacy servers despite the impending shutdown.
New Account Syncing
In our last blog post we went into detail about how some parts of Nintendo's server architecture works, and how this led to new users on both platforms not being able to connect to game servers anymore. We are happy to announce that as of December 26th, 2023 at around 5:00 PM UTC this seems to have been corrected. We have verified this with several people internally, on both platforms and in several games. New accounts may now go online as normal.
New Account Syncing (Friends)
Shortly after our last blog post, we discovered that new friends on the 3DS were also not being synced to other servers even for existing users. This meant that games such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf could not be played with 3DS friends made after the recent server changes, as your friends were no longer being synced. This issue has not yet been confirmed to happen on the Wii U, however due to the Wii U and 3DS sharing a Friends server it is likely this happens on both platforms. We did not publicly disclose this at the time as we were still gathering information in order to accurately report on the issue. Following maintenance on December 27th, 2023 this has been fixed.
Super Mario Maker (Dead Servers)
Previously announced via Twitter, and briefly touched on in our last blog post, Super Mario Maker's authentication server has an error with the list of game servers it gives to the client to connect to. Most of these servers are no longer online, meaning most attempts to connect to the game will fail. As of writing on December 27th, 2023, this has not yet been fixed. The issue has been raised to Nintendo.
Super Mario Maker (AWS)
For several months we have been aware of a previously undisclosed issue with Super Mario Maker regarding their use of AWS, specifically S3. Super Mario Maker uploads content such as courses and maker profiles to S3 using a NEX protocol called
DataStore. This protocol gives the client a way to interact with, and upload new, S3 objects. S3 is a service, originally created by Amazon, to manage objects in a secure, scalable, way. For more information on S3 see the official AWS docs.
When a client connects to Super Mario Maker for the first time, it first checks if your account has a "maker" object in S3 using
DataStore. If not, the server gives the client a URL it can use to upload your "maker" object. Think of this as simply a file with some metadata that will describe you and your stats as you play the game. This object is required for continuing online, and will not function without it.
On June 28th, 2022, AWS announced that they will be dropping support for clients using TLS versions 1.0 and 1.1 in a blog post, making TLS 1.2 the minimum required version. These changes take effect in December of this year. The details of what TLS is is not important, but for more details see here.
The Wii U and 3DS do not support TLS versions 1.2 or higher, only supporting TLS versions 1.0 and 1.1. Because of the announced changes to AWS, any client using an out of date TLS version would no longer be able to connect to their services. Nintendo seems to have been aware of these TLS changes, as all games which use the
DataStore protocol were updated at some point to no longer connect directly to AWS. They are now instead proxied through a Nintendo-owned server. We believe this to be simply a TLS proxy.
The exception to this being Super Mario Maker. Since its release it has always connected directly to AWS, and was not updated with the rest of the games to use this Nintendo-owned server. Because of this, Super Mario Maker was the only game vulnerable to these AWS changes. This would prevent the game from uploading the "maker" object for any new users, rendering them unable to play online.
As of December 26th, 2023, Super Mario Maker's game server has been updated to now use this Nintendo-owned proxy. The changes made to AWS will no longer affect the game.
We would again like to thank our community members and Nintendo for their roles in all of this. Sorting these issues out is a complex task, and we thank our community members who have not spam contacted Nintendo's support hotlines regarding these issues. The customer service reps on these hotlines likely have no influence over the day to day operations of these servers. Additionally, the issues mentioned here have already been brought to the proper channels. We will continue to update this blog post as new information comes in.