What Are Nintendo 3DS Play Coins and How Do You Use Them?

Nintendo 3DS play coins

Play Coins are a digital currency that you earn when you physically walk with your Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL in Sleep Mode. Play Coins are used to purchase apps and special items in some games.

How to Collect Play Coins

The 3DS devices feature a pedometer that can keep track of the steps you take. For every 100 steps you take, you earn one Play Coin. You can earn up to 10 Play Coins a day through walking, and you can bank up to 300 Play Coins at any one time.

Play Coins will accumulate when your 3DS/XL is in Sleep Mode, regardless of whether the system is parked on the main menu or in a game. However, you can’t collect Play Coins or Mii characters (in StreetPass) if your system is turned off, so remember to have it in Sleep Mode if you're out and about.

Spending Play Coins

StreetPass Mii Plaza: When you carry your Nintendo 3DS with you, not only are you able to earn Play Coins, but you can also acquire new features and collect other Mii characters whenever your device is within range of other 3DS devices. These can help you with some games you play.

Play Coins you earned while walking can also be spent in StreetPass. They can be used to purchase unlocks in the mini-games in StreetPass, for example. Play Coins can buy puzzle pieces in the Puzzle Swap mini-game that’s included with the Nintendo 3DS/XL hardware.

This is particularly useful for those who live in sparsely populated areas where there are not as many chances of crossing paths with other 3DS owners who have their devices with them. Or, you just may not have much luck running into 3DS owners even in populated areas. 

AR Games Shop: Nintendo 3DS features several augmented reality, or AR, games such as archery and fishing. There is also a shop associated with these AR games where you can spend your Play Coins. You unlock the shop by completing the six AR games. 

Retail games also make use of Play Coins for purchases.

Game Play Coin Purchases
Animal Crossing: New Leaf Buy the fortune cookie item
Kid Icarus: Uprising Buy eggs for the Idol Toss game
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds Buy hints
Lego Star Wars 3 Buy characters
Pokemon Rumble World Buy invitations for Mii visitors to your plaza
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy Buy treasure hunt challenges
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Buy weapon sets
The Sims 3: Pets Buy karma points
Sonic Generations Buy new missions
Super Smash Bros. Buy trophies

Because your Nintendo 3DS/XL senses motion like walking to award Play Coins, it will register some other types of motion and award Play Coins. For example, shaking your 3DS/XL may also earn you Play Coins. Some players have placed their devices on washers or dryers to earn Play Coins, but this may not work in all cases.

Placing your device in a washer or dryer is definitely NOT a way to lazily earn Play Coins. This will only earn you a broken device and permanently prevent you from earning Play Coins.