Like with all other consoles on the market, pre-ordering games from the Nintendo Switch eShop has always been a simple process. Add some funds to your account, buy the game from the list, and download the data ready for its release at some time in future. It’s never been a great idea for obvious reasons, but it’s always been simple enough to do nonetheless.
However, cancelling said pre-orders from the eShop was a different story. Indeed, because Nintendo took the money from your account immediately upon purchase, there was no way to change your mind afterwards, regardless of how far the game you were ordering was from being released.
It was a pretty bad deal all round, and one which was… perhaps questionably legal in quite a few regions.
Fortunately though, it seems things have now been improved in that sense. Why? Because now Nintendo has announced that funds will be taken 7 days before a game’s release date instead, with buyers able to cancel their order at any time before that point. Here’s the updated statement about it from Nintendo of America’s site:
The required funds will automatically be paid out of available funds at the time of payment. The expected payment date is no sooner than seven days before the product is released. (For bundles with different product release dates, payment will be processed no sooner than seven days before the first product release.)
It’s an improvement on the existing situation, and one that makes pre-orders at least a tiny bit less risky than before.
However, we’re not sure it’s really good enough. After all, why is there a 7 day limitation at all? Shouldn’t it be the customer’s choice when to cancel an order here?
Yeah, we’d say so. In fact, in the UK that’s how it does work. Here you don’t just get the ability to cancel an order or pre-order before you receive the product, you get the ability to cancel it up to 14 days afterwards too.
So logically speaking Nintendo shouldn’t have any limits at all here. We should be allowed to cancel an order or pre-order at any time, for any (or no) reason.
And even in places with more lax consumer rights laws, not letting customers cancel pre-orders at any time before release date feels rather sleazy too.
Especially when you realise the obvious loophole left themselves in this system.
Think about it, seven days before release is the limit. What does that mean for marketing controversial games?
Simple, you don’t share any information that might put players off the game til seven days before it comes out. Because of that, it likely means Nintendo could hide things like the Pokedex cuts in Sword and Shield or the lack of EXP in a new Paper Mario game until just before its release date, then tell anyone who preordered digitally that they’re just screwed.
And that’s a terrible situation for anyone to be in. You’ve now taken a situation that was already a bad idea (pre-ordering games), and made it at best a tiny bit less of one.
Still, it’s something nonetheless, and gives us a little hope that (through lawsuits or choice), Nintendo will stop placing these silly restrictions on pre-order refunds altogether.
But what do you think? Are you happy to know you can now get refunds for Switch eShop games up to a week before they launch? How do you think the company should handle this situation as a whole?
Tell us your thoughts on the matter in the comments below, on the Gaming Latest forums, or on our Discord server today!