Nintendo has shut down the SpotPass feature of SwapNote on the 3DS because gamers were using it to send "offensive material" to each other, including minors. The messaging application - known as Nintendo Letter Box in the UK and Europe - allowed users to send handwritten notes and photos to each other over the internet as well as through StreetPass, Nintendo's local sharing system where one console can talk to another in the immediate surroundings without being turned on.
SpotPass is a similar idea, but works over the internet through a Wi-Fi connection. Messages will only appear if you know the person sending them, but Nintendo discovered that users were posting their friend codes - user IDs for the system - on to internet bulletin boards and forums. This included many children, the Japanese games giant says.
Those people, including kids, were then exchanging mucky messages.
Nintendo made the decision to shut down the SpotPass feature of its 3DS messaging service 7pm PT 31 October - 2am in the UK.
"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. 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," said the company in a statement.
"Nintendo always wants to provide a positive experience for all consumers and limit the risk of any inappropriate activity or misuse of a service. 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."
The wording suggests that the feature will now remain off permanently.