Nintendo is updating its online multiplayer infrastructure after almost 10 years

Nintendo Switch Multiplayer
Nintendo Switch Multiplayer (Image credit: Nintendo Press Kit)

What you need to know

  • Nintendo is restructuring their online insfrastructure, ditching NEX in favor of the new NPLN.
  • Nintendo has reportedly been using NEX for around 10 years, during the 3DS and Wii U's lifetime.
  • Their new NPLN system was first stress-tested with the Monster Hunter Rise demo.

Reports from Twitter user thomasnet_mc suggest that Nintendo has been going through a major overhaul of its online multiplayer infrastructure for some time now. To date, their online multiplayer functionalities have been conducted with the assistance of something called "NEX", which has been in use for around 10 years, as indicated by Twitter user OatmealDome. NEX was originally created by a Qazal and was called Rendez-Vous. It was bought by Ubisoft in 2010 and licensed to Nintendo, according to OatmealDome. NEX was probably being used for online multiplayer functionality for the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Wii U systems.

Nintendo's first foray into using their new system, called NPLN, was during the release of the Nintendo Switch Monster Hunter Rise demo, whose online multiplayer functions were available until February 1st. Thomasnet_mc claims to have gotten reports that online multiplayer was much smoother during the Monster Hunter Rise demo, which is a good sign, given that many players have complained about the quality of online multiplayer in the Nintendo Switch's top games, including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Mario Maker 2.

An overhaul to their multiplayer systems would greatly benefit both existing Nintendo Switch titles and new ones, such as Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury which will have online 4-player action, and New Pokémon Snap, whose online multiplayer mode has not yet been revealed.

Nadine Dornieden

Nadine is a freelance writer for iMore with a specialty in all things Nintendo, often working on news, guides, reviews, and editorials. She's been a huge Nintendo fan ever since she got to pet her very own Nintendog, and enjoys looking at Nintendo's place in the video game industry. Writing is her passion, but she mostly does it so that she can pay off her ever-growing debt to Tom Nook. Her favorite genres are simulation games, rhythm games, visual novels, and platformers. You can find her at @stopthenadness on Twitter, where she'll more than likely be reposting cute Animal Crossing content.