The idea for the Relay feature in StreetPass on 3DS came about due to a Nintendo engineer got when he visited New York City, according to the latest Iwata Asks.
According to Hideki Konno, he said the Relay feature was born after he was surprised over how few StreetPasses he logged when walking through Times Square.
“I was [StreetPassing with] much fewer people than I expected, so I thought we had better do something,” said Konno via Polygon.
After he returned to Japan he and his team started working on StreetPass Relay, which has a 3DS send data to a server. Then, when a user enters a Nintendo Zone hotspot the 3DS they have on their person will retrieve the data.
In America, according to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, the amount of StreetPass encounters which occur are only about “one-tenth to that of Japan.”
“I thought that was way too little, as if it was missing a zero,” he said. “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.”
There are approximately 100,000 hotspots around the world which rely on Amazon Web Services.
StreetPass Relay was added to 3DS last month through a firmware update.
This week, users reported on GameFAQ and Reddit that many of the Nintendo Zones were working properly. Nintendo has yet to respond to any issues.