After six years, it looks like Nintendo is discontinuing a number of Wii Channels. On June 28th the following channels shall be put to rest alongside innumerable other online services that have been canceled throughout the years.
The affected applications are as follows:
Everybody Votes Channel
Mii Contest Channel
Data exchange with Wii Friends*
* Exchange of Wii messages on the Wii Message Board, exchange of Mii characters on the Mii Channel and message/data exchange within some games will be disabled.
This means that after June 28th, even if you fire up the News Channel on your Wii there will be no content. Fortunately, the most important channel, Wii Shop Channel, will remain live. This drop in online functionality is not a huge surprise since the release of the Wii Mini, which has no online capabilities at all (or Gamecube compatibility, which is a shame).
As much as we gamers dislike it, online components going dark has become a regular part of modern gaming from the short lived Hellgate London to the very long in the tooth Halo 2 which has a solid 6 year run. Nintendo has not released any explanations as to why they are shutting down these channels, but I suspect it is an attempt to encourage Wii owners to upgrade to a shiny new Wii U. I don't blame Nintendo for ceasing support of an old product, especially since Wii U sales have not been the best, but this news is bound to make some people very unhappy.