UPDATE: The Pokémon Bank has re-appeared on the eShop globally, with a release date of TBD. It is unknown at this time as to actually when it will go live, however the Nintendo Network and eShop are back online.
UPDATE 2: Nintendo has publicly apologized for the server outages, and had reassured the Pokémon Bank is still forthcoming, with ‘letting us know as soon as they know more’.
Nintendo had a great idea, launching Pokémon X and Y globally on the same day, instead of their tried and true staggered release by region. It put up some great numbers worldwide, but now that the hype has died down, and the Poke Bank poised to come out, Nintendo has had issues with their server infrastructure since Christmas Day. This is most likely due to all the new Wii U’s and 3DS’s powering on and trying to sync up for the first time. Nintendo’s plan for the Pokémon Bank (a 3DS app that allows you to store up to 3000 Pokémon in the cloud, as well as transfer Pokémon from the previous generation games) was a staggered release, First Japan on Christmas, then globally on the 27th. However, with all the traffic of registering new Nintendo Network ID’s, and the Japanese 3DS’s attempting to download the Pokémon Bank, this has caused a major system crash on Nintendo’s back-end. It has been a little over 24 hours, and most services have already been restored, with major outlets still reporting outages for the Miiverse and eShop. Furthermore, Nintendo has removed the Pokémon Bank from the Japanese eShop, and disabled it’s functionality, citing the application as one of the causes of the system crash. I believe this comes form a lack of a proper public stress test, like most MMO’s (and some online ARPG’s) do. A public stress test, in simple terms, is releasing your beta client publicly, and asking the broader internet community to come try your game for a short period of time, typically 2-3 days. This kind of test shows you how well your servers handle multiple logins from multiple regions, how many it can handle at once, and can also show you if you need more server power or bandwidth to host your service or game. If your servers handle the strain well, you can fine tune them before rolling out the full version of your service or game. Looking how this was situation was handled, a proper public stress test has never been done on Nintendo’s eShop and Miiverse services, and the lack of this knowledge on how to handle this new influx of traffic further cements this.
In short, Nintendo launched a new app for the 3DS that showed them a weakness in their server infrastructure. Hopefully they can get this fixed and stay on schedule for the Pokémon Bank to release in North America and the rest of the world on the 27th.
- Nintendo Online Services Broken Now, Continuing Christmas Malfunctions (kotaku.com)
- Nintendo Network outages hit eShop, NNID creation stalled (polygon.com)
- Can’t Create a Nintendo ID? Nintendo Says That’s Because Its Network Is Flooded (techland.time.com)
- Heavy traffic partially disabled PSN, Nintendo’s eShop, and Steam this Christmas (examiner.com)