Player enters Festival plaza in Pokemon Sun & Moon
Image via The Pokemon Company

3DS Online Server Shutdown Makes These Pokemon Features Obsolete

Some of Pokemon's best online features just shut down alongside servers this month.

In the world of Pokemon, online play began on Nintendo DS systems, carrying over to the 3DS with Generations VI and VII of the mainline series. This revolutionized the franchise in a big way by improving older features and introducing new ways for players to connect, battle, and trade.

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With the release of the Nintendo Switch back in 2017, it was only a matter of time before the 3DS online servers went down — and the day finally came on April 8, 2024. In its wake, we’ve lost some of the most exciting one-off features across Pokemon X & Y, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, Sun & Moon, and Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon. Let’s take a moment to review what’s gone but never forgotten.

Pokemon Loses These Key Features With the 3DS Online Server Shutdown

Player Search System (PSS) in X & Y and ORAS

Player Search System main menu in Pokemon X & Y
Image via Game & Greet on YouTube

Perhaps the biggest loss following the 3DS online server shutdown is the end of the Player Search System in Gen VI. Throughout X & Y and ORAS, the PSS was essentially a hub for connecting with friends and other players online. Through this feature, you could gain O-Powers to give out or receive a variety of buffs, from free EXP to increased capture rates and stats. It was kind of like using Helping Hand in real-time.

And the PSS’s perks didn’t end there. You could also access the Battle Spot, GTS, and Wonder Trade from your touch screen, making this feature a convenient multi-purpose tool for every trainer with an internet connection. As much as I’ll miss the PSS, though, I’m glad I may never be on the receiving end of another seemingly endless string of Wonder Traded Zubats.

Collecting Base Flags in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire

Player's base in Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Image via The Pokemon Company

This one hits home. I grew up grinding in Ruby & Sapphire, and their remakes served as my reintroduction to the series after misplacing my original DS system. Once I got my hands on a 3DS, I logged an incredible 400+ hours in ORAS. Of course, I spent a lot of time soaring with Latios and Latias, collecting Mega Stones, and breeding my favorite Pokemon, but the largest portion of my play time easily went to picking up all the base flags I could online and decking out my base with exclusive items and furniture.

Hoenn is my favorite region, so maybe I’m a bit biased here. That said, the server shutdown throws a huge wrench in ORAS base-building. To be clear, you can still start new Secret Bases and buy items to furnish your place. However, the loss of online play effectively bars you from collecting enough flags from other bases to move up the ranks in the Secret Base Guild. If you haven’t earned it already, you can kiss that Garchompite goodbye.

Festival Plaza in Sun & Moon and USUM

Player plays the lottery in Festival Plaza in Pokemon Sun & Moon
Image via The Pokemon Company

Festival Plaza was the brainchild of Sophocles in Sun & Moon and their sequels. Kind of like the PSS, it was an entirely virtual destination that you could access from the game’s menu, though it offered way more activities and rewards as you spent time bringing new facilities and players to the area. Depending on which vendors you prioritized, you could send your Pokemon into haunted houses to find rare items, dye your clothing, get stat boosts from the Smoothie Bar, or try your odds with the lottery.

This was the best route to stock up on valuable items, sure. But it was also a great way to link up with friends and other players around the world. You were fully incentivized to do so, too, since you’d earn Festival Coins by interacting with your online visitors on a daily basis. Without regular guests following the server shutdown, though, the festival becomes a party of one.

As the Pokemon franchise continues to grow with the Switch and its rumored successor, it’s inevitable that old features will die out. For now, trainers can still connect, battle, and trade in Sword & Shield and Scarlet & Violet on current systems. If you’re feeling the 3DS nostalgia, check out how Animal Crossing: New Leaf players shared their final moments online.


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Olivia Rolls
Olivia Rolls earned her degree in English from the College of Central Florida in 2021, and began her career as a freelance writer at Screen Rant the following year. She currently directs her creative efforts toward offering tips and insight on a wide variety of game titles at GameSkinny and N4G Unlocked, a passion she's held close to her heart since adventuring alongside Chikorita in the Johto region of Pokémon Crystal Version as a child. Olivia's all-time favorite franchises are Pokémon and Animal Crossing, but she's generally fond of fantasy RPGs. She's also a budding animanga enthusiast, her personal big three being Jujutsu Kaisen, Fruits Basket, and InuYasha.