One of the neatest functions of the Nintendo 3DS is the StreetPass capability which allows 3DS systems that pass like ships in the night to wirelessly tag one another with player information. If you have a 3DS in your pocket or purse when you walk by another 3DS owner, then the two systems trade data such as current played title information, Mii, short custom messages, and other things. That data can then be used to play the games in StreetPass Plaza. This kind of thing works wonderfully in places where 3DSs are all over the place (for instance, Japan), but it's a bit more difficult abroad. Not all cultures are so quick to carry handheld gaming systems with them in public. Fortunately, Nintendo has rolled out StreetPass Relay in an attempt to spread the StreetPass love. Eurogamer explains how 3DS owners can now StreetPass with players who aren't actually in the same location at the same time.
Nintendo is rolling out a fresh 3DS firmware update to support StreetPass Relay, a method of StreetPassing the previous visitor at a Wi-Fi hotspot. Relay will save the last person's StreetPass data and pass it on to the next. The next person's data will then be saved and passed onto a future visitor. It means that people in areas with fewer 3DS owners will still be able to ensure at least one StreetPass per location.
Relay was first announced back in June, but support for the feature is only being added now, via 3DS firmware update 6.2.0. It's live in North America now, and will presumably pop up in Europe in due course. 24,000 Wi-Fi points across Europe will support Relay, along with 28,000 Wi-Fi points in North America.
Sounds good to me! As I've said, aside from gaming-centric events like the Electronic Entertainment Expo or GameWarp (where it's expected gamers will crowd), I hardly ever StreetPass people in the wild. I've carried my 3DS through malls, parks, stores, and other places where people accumulate and I'm lucky if I pick up one tag out of every three trips. StreetPass Relay takes a little of the proximity-related fun out of the process, but it's worth it to collect more tags. StreetPass is rather useless without other 3DSs in the area. I need puzzle pieces to collect and those Mii hats aren't going to unlock themselves.