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The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection allowed players to play against each other online for the first time in the series. A primary point of this was that it allowed players to either play with anyone in the world or with registered friends. The former, With Anyone, allowed players to either take part in standard free-for-all battles via Basic Brawl, or to play as a part of a team in Team Battle.

In addition to allowing for online gaming, Brawl also allowed players to send replays, custom stages, and snapshots to other players with whom they had registered. An applied use of this was the Smash Service, a free service that sent players a replay, a custom stage, and a snapshot each day; these pieces of data came from submissions of players, and were deleted at the end of the day.