The Nintendo Network is a Nintendo online network, introduced in 2012. It is the successor to the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, which was discontinued on May 20, 2014. The Nintendo Network oversees all online functionality for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. More advanced functionality is possible over its predecessor, including the ability to patch and update games. Animal Crossing: New Leaf is currently the only title in the Animal Crossing series to make use of the Nintendo Network. It does so with online play, the Dream Suite, and DLC (although this has now been discontinued). Players are able to download an update to Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which adds new features such as the Campground and amiibo compatibility.
The Nintendo Switch does not use the Nintendo Network. Instead, it uses Nintendo Switch Online, which launched and became a paid network on September 18, 2018 in North America, and September 19th in Europe.
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