It’s become a bit of a running joke in the game industry at this point that Nintendo’s online operations are rather archaic in comparison to other companies. As a whole, Nintendo has had a relatively slow adoption of modernization when it comes to embracing network standards. But, finally, that appears to be changing.
Twitter users Thomasnet_nc and OatmealDome, both of which have a background in technology and are familiar with Nintendo’s tech operations, have released corroborating reports that Nintendo is indeed replacing its existing server infrastructure. The existing network, dubbed internally as NEX, is in the on-going process of being replaced with a new one, internally dubbed as NPLN.
The tech that powers the existing infrastructure has been around for nearly two decades on its own and Nintendo has been making use of it since the 3DS and Wii U era—and that itself was 10 years ago.
So, since Nintendo started using NEX, the 3DS and Wii U were released and discontinued, along with the Switch being developed, released, and is now about to enter its fifth year on the market all within the last ten years. In other words, this upgrade is certainly long overdue.
The migration efforts to the new NPLN infrastructure is supposed to be as seamless as possible, so don’t expect to begin seeing miraculous differences in Nintendo’s network performance overnight. There will be little noticeable differences if any until the transition is complete. After which, Nintendo should start enhancing its services by taking advantage of the more modern server technology.
It’s unclear if this will also have an effect on services like Switch Online (in terms of social functionality) and the Nintendo eShop, as reports seem to point squarely at this upgrade handling the online multiplayer operations of Nintendo’s games.
Currently, there are no details on how far along Nintendo is with these upgrades, and thus, it’s unclear when it will all be completed. Nonetheless, we can hope that when all is said and done that some significant service enhancements and/or additions will begin to be announced officially by the company.