Nintendo has been forced to shut down its Swapnote messaging service on 3DS after it was discovered that some gamers were using it to exchange "offensive material".

"Nintendo has learned that some consumers, including minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material," reads a service notice from Nintendo. "Nintendo has been investigating ways of preventing this and determined it is best to stop the SpotPass feature of Swapnote because it allows direct exchange of photos and was actively misused.

"Nintendo always wants to provide a positive experience for all consumers and limit the risk of any inappropriate activity or misuse of a service. We feel it is important on this occasion to take this action."

Sadly this means that users who had been using Swapnote responsibly lose out, for which Nintendo has apologised.

Swapnote is now closed in all territories.