Once you use StreetPass at a relay point, you can’t do it again at the same relay point for eight hours. Why is that?
The Nintendo 3DS system’s StreetPass itself can’t do it with the same person until eight hours later.
For example, if you passed the same person every five minutes, your StreetPass Mii Plaza would fill up with the same person.
I consulted with Konno-san, and we made it so that with the relay points as well, you can’t do StreetPass at the same relay point unless eight hours has passed.
Actually, it would have been fairly easy to put in protection so that if you go to a certain relay point and communicate and then go to a different relay point, it won’t communicate unless eight hours have passed. When I talked to Konno-san about that early on, he said, “No” right away. (laughs)
Don’t you want to go from one relay point to the next? (laughs)
Yeah. (laughs) It took some time to implement it, but I’m glad it turned out the way it did.
So that’s how StreetPass relay points began. What hurdles did you face in achieving that? If you thought of it three years ago, a lot of people must think, “Why didn’t you do it three years ago?”
There were a variety of technological hurdles. We used 100,000 access points worldwide for this, with data for hordes of people uploading to a special server. We had to process an enormous amount of data exchanges in real time, passing the appropriate data to all kinds of people. Three years ago, we still weren’t sure we could prepare a server up to that task and operate it correctly.
There are a lot of other things you had to do with regard to Nintendo 3DS communication.
So while some said that beginning this project would be hard, there had been a lot of enthusiasm especially for the last six months about doing it no matter what. Since you were one of the people who first suggested it, Konno-san, would you explain?
Sure. I heard that while StreetPass is already popular in Japan, there are fewer users overseas. Then I had a long business trip to America in March, so I decided to see what the situation was like for myself and walked around New York City with my Nintendo 3DS.
Since it’s New York, there must have been a lot of people, right?
But I didn’t get hits easily at all.
America is considered a car society, but New York City has a robust public transportation system and is one of the world’s liveliest cities.
Yes. But no StreetPass encounters. So I went to Times Square right in the heart of Manhattan. There, I did get some hits, but…
Just a little, right?
Very few. I was passing many fewer people than I expected, so I thought we had better do something.
There in the heart of New York, a fire was lit in the Nintendo 3DS producer.
Not long before Konno-san went to America, I myself checked how much StreetPass was going on because we were getting ready to release additional content for StreetPass Mii Plaza18, and there wasn’t much at all overseas when compared to Japan.18. Additional content for StreetPass Mii Plaza: This is the four new games that are now available within the StreetPass Mii Plaza, including StreetPass Squad, StreetPass Garden, StreetPass Battle, and StreetPass Mansion.
In America, the amount of StreetPass encounters that would occur was only about one-tenth to that of Japan. I thought that was way too little, as if it was missing a zero. Then I found out that it was even less in Europe. Even though the number of systems sold and the number of customers who had experienced StreetPass didn’t differ that much between each region, the number of encounters was drastically smaller. When you walk around a city in Japan, StreetPass is happening fairly frequently, so it’s a habit for a lot of people to walk around with their Nintendo 3DS. And I think not a few people go out with their Nintendo 3DS in America or Europe as well in hopes of having a StreetPass encounter. But I suspect that a lot of them must have gone home disappointed after not having passed anyone.
Then they won’t walk around with their Nintendo 3DS again.
Right. So we thought that it was important to establish places like relay points where you could be sure of a StreetPass encounter.
In particular, that was a time when Animal Crossing: New Leaf19 was released in Japan and the fun of StreetPass was spreading among a lot of people, and overseas, Animal Crossing: New Leaf was going to be released…19. Animal Crossing: New Leaf: A communication game released for the Nintendo 3DS system in June 2012. In HH Showcase, you can visit the homes of people you have encountered through StreetPass and acquire the furniture there through mail order.
Konno-san came back from America just when that StreetPass momentum was swelling.
Yeah. As soon as I got back, I gathered everyone here.
Yamazaki-san, what month was it when this project came back to life?
About the beginning of April this year. When Konno-san got back from America, he gathered us together, saying, “I want to do StreetPass relay points, so let me talk to you about what we can do.”
He really laid a big one on you! (laughs)
Considering the result, yes. (laughs) At the time, he wanted to release it by summer.
…that’s quite unreasonable. (laughs)
At first, he asked if we could release it around June in line with the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf and the Nintendo 3DS system update.
He mentioned it in April and wanted you to release it two months later?
That’s right. (laughs)
The monster! (laughs)
Of course, I was like, “No, a little mercy, please!” We wouldn’t even be able to begin development until after the string of holidays in early May.
But I knew they had looked into this once one year before, so I rather irresponsibly asked if they could do it.
So you had done some planning a year earlier.
Sure. We worked on it until we figured out a rough idea of what it might be like.
Was that helpful when you returned to it?
Yes. We had given it enough thought to realise that, unlike three years earlier, it was technologically possible.
But if development began in May, there wouldn’t be much time until a summer release.
It was impossible to predict beforehand whether an incredible number of hits would come in all at once through 100 thousand access points around the world, or if not much at all would come in, but you had to put together a system to accommodate either scenario in very little time. How did you construct the server?
This is going to get pretty technical. How should I explain it?
I’ll do my best to translate! (laughs)
Yes, if you would, please. (laughs)
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