Wow, that’s one massive step forward for Nintendo in regards to digital distribution. Now it turns out that not only a few games are being offered via both download services and in shops, but apparently most of their games are going to be.
As they said themselves:
The majority of Nintendo-published Nintendo 3DS games will have the same dual-distribution strategy. Likewise, the majority of Nintendo-published Wii U games will be available both as packaged products and as digital downloads starting on launch day.
Could be the future ticket to never having to worry about whether a Nintendo game’s in stock ever again, since you’ll be able to buy all the major releases over the internet like how PC gamers buy their favourite games through Steam.
Seems like the days of the Wii being impossible to find or hit games being sold out might finally be history now that people can just buy them straight through the eShop the minute they wake up on launch day. Might be really cool when christmas comes around again too, since parents could buy the likes of New Super Mario Bros 2 online late christmas eve then have it immediately available to be played next morning. No more late night rushes in the months before chrismas where parents, friends and siblings have to fight through shops to get the last copy of a hit game, the people too slow to buy the boxed version can just get the digital version on the eShop.
Isn’t it great now that Nintendo has actually caught up on this whole digital distribution thing?
Well, we did have the video on our Youtube account, but unlike Nintendo and their generally rather generous attitude towards people mirroring their videos and trailers, Ubisoft asked Youtube to block the video. So instead, here are the first screenshots of the game and the trailer as found on Official Nintendo Magazine. If Ubisoft want to complain about them, I’ll let them go after a multinational corporation.
Here are the screenshots:
It looks really nice so far. Indeed, part of me wonders why Ubisoft is so worried about the game being known about in advance when it looks absolutely amazing. There’s no practical reason to hide the existance of the game, just leave the footage publically available and let the amount of hype fans have for do the marketing for you.
That’s what Nintendo does with the Mario or Legend of Zelda series, and it works fantastically for them. They never cared anyone knew about the Wii U’s 2D Mario platformer or New Super Mario Bros 2 in advance, just let the internet go crazy over the sheer awesomeness of it.
There are some great features too, such as:
The game utilising the same technology as Skylanders Spyros Adventure, where you can put a toy (say of a Rabbid) on the Wii U tablet controller to bring the character into the game. Guess this is becoming an industry standard.
And apparently, two of the known games to be offered on this service will be New Super Mario Bros 2 and that Brain Training sequel they showed a few months back. He also talks about the downloaded games would be stored to an SD card and how it’d benefit games like Animal Crossing and Nintendogs, at least implying that these games might also be available on the download service.
You can buy downloadable games in two ways, directly from the eShop and with a download code from retailers, and they’ll be offered alongside the boxed versions sold in stores. Nintendo points out however that games downloaded to the SD card can’t be used with other systems, which is a let down.
It’s also a bit worrying for Nintendo if you ask me, no form of DRM has ever worked in the long term. I give it a week before hackers figure out how to use downloaded 3DS software on multiple consoles. Even more so, I see this becoming an unfortunate source for ROMs of 3DS games given that Nintendo outright says its the whole game you’re downloading to the SD card. As said in this comment:
these kinds of software titles stored inside
You can’t fault the logic of carrying all your games on a single SD card and being able to switch between them without having the game card though, that’s going to be extremely useful for those people with a large collection of 3DS titles.
It’s also at least somewhat nice that Nintendo isn’t aiming to completely put video game retailers out of business like many other companies in the video game industry seem to be doing. Whether anyone will really buy product codes for eShop games online is kind of doubtable though, and I really don’t see anyone buying packaged games like Mario Kart 7 as a sixteen digit code purchased from Gamestop or GAME (isn’t that kind of going against the point of them being available to buy and download online?). Still the option to buy eShop only games ‘offline’ in some sense is useful I guess.
It’s also mentjoned that retailers can decide the cost at which to sell digitally distributed games like they can for boxed ones. So if the likes of EB Games want to give Australian customers Dillon’s Rolling Western for half price or the likes of GAME sell the download version of New Super Mario Bros 2 at used game prices they’re apparently allowed to do that.
So that’s Nintendo’s digital game distribution system explained then. You can find more details about it as well as Nintendo’s sales figures for this year at the below link:
Or at least, distribute standard retail games through download services now, sort of similarly to how services like Steam work? It seems like this is so according to their latest financial report, with the following interesting line being included:
Nintendo is envisioning the digital distribution of packaged software and is aiming at expanding the digital business
Seems like Nintendo is learning what kind of things people actually want from a game download service, don’t you think? Indeed, when you consider that another recent rumour is that New Super Mario Bros 2 is to be packaged as both a retail and digitally distributed title, this information is really starting to add up.
Not to mention the obvious, Nintendo’s packaged titles are already listed in the eShop, it’s just that they haven’t provided any way to buy them directly from there. Perhaps those listings for software like Kid Icarus Uprising, Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 will eventually turn out to be places where you can actually buy the games online? Maybe instead of it seeing the games aren’t available through the eShop you’ll one day have a button to buy such games as if they were eShop titles?
Nice to know that Nintendo is embracing digital distribution in general though.