Usually, investor meetings aren’t the best place to get all kinds cool news. Money is lost or gained, and there might be a game that gets announced in some way, but not something more than that. Furthermore, Nintendo isn’t the kind of company to understand digital downloads (a whole game came out on the Wii’s Virtual Console this week! A WHOLE GAME!). Now, though, Nintendo is saying that they’re jumping on top of digital distribution and are putting first-party games into the eShop, as well as putting them out in physical forms as well.
This is going to be starting with New Super Mario Bros. 2, and they say they’ll be doing it for more games after, but don’t specify if it’s going to be ALL games. I’m hoping, though, because if I can be lazy and still get my favorite franchises the day they come out, then I’m super excited. They’re also doing a partnership with regular outlets to sell download codes, too, as a way to raise awareness of the fact that they’re doing the downloads. Plus, I’m sure it keeps companies like Gamestop happy. What’s weird about that, though, is that it means the retailers can set their own price. It might get to a point where the download code costs $5, but the online retailer is still $20 or something (I’m just making up numbers here), which is a… new take on the digital model.
And the other thing I’m interested in is what this might mean for Wii U. Could Nintendo be going fully into the digital model for their new console? Other reports seem to suggest they will, and I certainly hope so! It’ll be nice to see them finally catch up with the rest of the world, and I’m looking forward to trying this out myself as soon as I get a chance.
UPDATE: This has apparently been the biggest news in the world, so people have been following up on it. New reports show that yes, the Wii U will have downloadable titles as well, and that a majority of first-party Nintendo games will be on the service. You’ll be able to download them with a 16-digit code from a store, or, of course, you can buy it online through the system. But DRM is of course going to happen in some way, and the company is locking it down not by profile, but by console. So while my Gamertag can be used on multiple consoles (especially because of red rings), if something happens to my WiiU or 3DS, then I’m locked out of the games, as far as I know. There may be some system in place to get it back for you, but nothing is known yet. Of course, that’s how this operates now, with eShop games, so not a huge switch. Games can be stored to SD cards or internal memory (if there’s enough left), so at least it’s easy to expand, unlike, say, a $200 hard drive.