Nintendo has set its sights on shutting down the servers for both the Wii U and 3DS consoles in April 2024, marking the end of an era for these gaming platforms. However, a passionate community of fans has been diligently working on creating a comprehensive alternative known as the Pretendo Network service.
The Pretendo Network project has been in development for an extended period, with the primary objective of providing a free, open-source alternative to the official Nintendo Network servers for both the Wii U and 3DS.
Multiple groups of dedicated developers are collaborating to construct servers capable of supporting every game and console feature that previously relied on the Nintendo Network.
This ambitious endeavor encompasses everything from reviving the beloved Miiverse to maintaining console-level friends lists and ensuring compatibility with a wide array of games, both major titles and indie gems.
These unofficial servers are designed to accommodate real consoles that have been modified to run homebrew applications. Wii U enthusiasts have the additional option of utilizing the Cemu emulator on their PC to connect to these alternative servers.
It’s important to note that each of these features is being actively worked on by separate groups of developers, which means there is currently no definitive estimate for when the entire Pretendo Network will be fully operational.
At present, Pretendo remains in a closed beta phase, granting access through selection by the development team or by contributing to a project. However, Pretendo frequently conducts open beta tests, with a comprehensive open beta scheduled for the upcoming December.
As a teaser, Wara Wara Plaza, the section of the Wii U menu where online Miis interact, is accessible to all, offering a glimpse into one of Pretendo’s features.
The impending shutdown of official Nintendo servers has naturally heightened interest in Pretendo, prompting the developers to adjust their development plans accordingly. Part of their mission involves archiving essential data such as leaderboard information.
However, there is a ticking clock on how much longer this leaderboard data will be available for archival purposes. In response, the developers are reaching out to communities that actively utilize official leaderboards, seeking their assistance in prioritizing the preservation of historic data.
As the clock winds down on the official servers, the Pretendo Network stands as a testament to the dedication of fans determined to keep the spirit of these beloved consoles alive.
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