Online play is introduced in Super Smash Bros. Brawl via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. In this mode, anyone could play against anyone online in 2-minute Timed matches using three different options. Players' names remained anonymous, and battle records were not kept. Players had 45 seconds to select a character. After that, they could spend a coin to cast a vote on what stage to play on and which items to toggle on or off. If a player got disconnected in the middle of the match, their character would be swapped with a CPU player without the rest of the players being notified. If a player quit in the middle of a match, the entire match ended and all players would be sent back to the Wi-Fi selection screen. Upon launch, players experienced significant input lag, with their actions occurring onscreen far later than when they inputted, and slow connections frequently slowed down or halted matches. Brawl's online play was discontinued with Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection's shutdown on May 20th, 2014.
The player could battle online with any random players in 3- or 4-player matches.
Four players were randomly chosen and split into two-player teams, red or blue, with Team Attack turned off. Unlike in With Friends, this did not allow two local players to face two other players. If players were working great together (such as getting a whole bunch of KOs), the game would let them stay on the same team for several matches.
In this mode, players could watch other matches. The player could bet up to 100 coins on a player or team. If that player or team the player betted on won, the player received three times the amount of coins bet in a Basic Brawl, or two times the amount bet in a Team Battle. Occasionally, there were be bonus rounds in which the player could earn double the usual amount of coins received if the selected player was the victor. If the person the player bet coins on won, they would gain more coins. Players could win some stickers, even if they lost.
Online play returns in Super Smash Bros. 4 via Nintendo Network. Two distinct game modes are now available: For Fun and For Glory. In both modes, Mii Fighters and character customization are disallowed. To use Miis or customizations online, the player must be in With Friends, or in a Tourney that allows them.
Online play in SSB4 addresses much of the problems plaguing the online play featured Brawl, such as its latency issues. A ranking system is now used to determine the opponents a player fights against, and a new ban system was implemented for more enjoyable battles - punishments and temporary bans are be given to players who are repeatedly idle, relentlessly target a single player, repeatedly self-destruct, frequently drop out, cheat, or falsely report other players. A limit on the number of times a player can taunt was also added, in order to prevent "taunt parties", this limit is 2 + the number of KO's the player has gotten (therefore allowing a taunt after every KO).
After selecting a character in either mode, players are taken to a unique waiting area which is an exact replica of the stage chosen, also containing a CPU that is a slightly darker clone of the player's character that remains idle (except to recover) until damaged for any reason, at which point it begins attacking. If the match does not start after some time, a second appears.
In this mode players can fight in 2-minute Timed matches. All items are enabled, as is every stage except for Final Destination and all Ω form of all stages. There are two modes in For Fun: a free-for-all Smash and 2-on-2 Team Smash. Only the player's number of wins are recorded.
This mode is catered towards competitive play. Items are disabled and only Final Destination and Ω form stages can be played on. This mode adds 1-on-1 Smash, which is a 2-stock battle with a 5-minute time limit. Like in For Fun, there are also standard free-for-all Smashes, and 2-on-2 Team Smashes. Wins, losses, and other stats are recorded.