The gamemaker has suspended Swapnote, the messaging app available for its 3DS handheld, after discovering that gamers have been using the service to exchange inappropriate pictures and other material.
"Nintendo has learned that some consumers, including minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material," the company said in a statement. "Nintendo has been investigating ways of preventing this and determined it is best to stop the SpotPass feature of Swapnote because it allows direct exchange of photos and was actively misused."
The shutdown took place on Halloween at 7:00 pm PST, and it was a universal one. Users can no longer send or receive messages.
The ability to send and receive photos was a relatively new one for Swapnote. Nintendo added it in an April update along with the ability to attach audio messages. At the time, it was positioned as a way for 3DS users to have access to some of the same features as mobile gamers.
Of course, sexting happens in the mobile phone world as well. Nintendo is very careful with its reputation, though, and clearly wanted to avoid any sort of controversy once it figured out children were using its system for these purposes.
"Nintendo always wants to provide a positive experience for all consumers and limit the risk of any inappropriate activity or misuse of a service," the company said. "We feel it is important on this occasion to take this action. We are very sorry for any inconvenience to the many consumers who have been using this service responsibly; however this decision was made considering the point that many minors also use this feature of Swapnote."
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