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SpotPass is a Nintendo 3DS and Wii U "always on" online background connectivity system, similarly to how predecessor WiiConnect24 originally functioned with Wii, which can automatically seek and connect to wireless network nodes such as Wi-Fi hotspots, sending and downloading information in the background while in sleep mode or while playing a game or running an application. It can be customized to fit the user's preferences, including opting out of it altogether for selected software. One application is being considered to use this functionality to "automatically acquire magazine and newspaper articles", similar to networked e-book reader applications.
Similar to Nintendo 3DS's more distinctly mobile SpotPass functionality, the SpotPass feature on Wii U allows the system to automatically download available content via the Internet in the background, while the system is in use or in sleep mode. When the system is transmitting while in sleep mode, the system light will turn orange. Content that can be downloaded via SpotPass includes full game and application downloads, firmware updates, patches, and specific in-game content. Content currently being downloaded can be viewed in the Download Manager, accessed via the Wii U's HOME Menu.
During the 2011 Game Developers Conference, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime announced that Nintendo has partnered with AT&T to provide access to AT&T hotspots via the Nintendo 3DS. Users are able to connect to these hotspots automatically and free of charge.
SpotPass also makes uses of certified hotspots to access an application called Nintendo Zone. In the Nintendo Zone application, users can view game trailers, game screenshots, and information about current and upcoming Nintendo 3DS titles. After leaving the hotspot, although the app remains on their Nintendo 3DS system, the player becomes unable to access it.
StreetPass is a Nintendo 3DS functionality which allows passive communication between Nintendo 3DS systems held by users in close proximity, an example being the sharing of Mii avatars in the StreetPass Mii Plaza application, and other game data.
Trademarks suggested that this functionality would be named "CrossPass", but on September 29, 2010, during the Nintendo World conference, the confirmed names of the Tag Mode service would be StreetPass.
StreetPass allows users to exchange software content regardless of what software is currently in the console. Currently shared content is stored in one of twelve "data slots" in the console. Using this data slot, Nintendo 3DS users can readily share and exchange content for multiple games at the same time, whenever they are connected. Using the console's background connectivity, a Nintendo 3DS in Sleep Mode can automatically discover other Nintendo 3DS systems within range, establish a connection, and exchange content for mutually played games, all transparently and without requiring any user input. For example, in Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, if the user passes by someone with the same software, they will initiate a battle to collect trophies from each other.
StreetPass Mii Plaza is a built-in application included with every Nintendo 3DS family device, and the primary application for StreetPass interactivity. Here, players can set up their Mii to appear on other 3DS devices that it encounters via StreetPass. Up to ten Miis can be brought into the plaza at a time and taken into various mini-games. Two mini-games, Puzzle Swap and Find Mii / StreetPass Quest, are included as standard, whilst four additional games; Mii Force / StreetPass Squad, Flower Town / StreetPass Garden, Warrior's Way / StreetPass Battle and Monster Manor / StreetPass Mansion, can be purchased separately. All games allow players to use Play Coins in place of StreetPass Miis.
StreetPass Relay was announced during an analyst briefing at E3 2013 Nintendo announced that it is creating thousands of new StreetPass Relay stations across the United States and Europe. Nintendo plans to turn over 29,000 Wi-Fi access points into relays in the US, while Europe is set to see 24,000. With this new functionality, Nintendo aims to vastly improve the functionality of the 3DS and could enable players to find more Miis in their StreetPass Mii Plaza.
StreetPass relay points are located at Nintendo Zones all across the country. When a Nintendo 3DS user gets near a StreetPass relay point, it automatically forwards his or her StreetPass data to Nintendo's servers which stores it temporarily to pass it on to the next Nintendo 3DS user to pass by the same relay point. The Nintendo servers keep track of each relay point by the MAC address of the node. StreetPass relay points support StreetPass data for various games each time a Nintendo 3DS user passes by. This means you can get StreetPass data for several games at once.