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First-party 3DS games will see same-day downloadable releases from August
First-party 3DS games will see same-day downloadable releases from August
April 27, 2012 | By Mike Rose

April 27, 2012 | By Mike Rose
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Nintendo revealed today that it will be taking a leaf out of Sony's book, and offering a number of retail games for the 3DS as digital downloads from the eShop on the same day that said retail games are released in stores.

Talking as part of the company's financial results briefing, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata explained that the move was in response to the growing number of users who access the Internet from their Nintendo 3DS handhelds, and that he feels "the foundation for us to deploy our digital businesses has been properly laid out."

He revealed that over 70 percent of Japanese and U.S. 3DS owners have connected to the Internet from their 3DSs, while around 50 percent of Europeans and Australians have. While he described this as "not a satisfactory level yet," he admitted that it's a "significantly improved" situation over the company's previous game systems.

This new initiative will begin with New Super Mario Bros. 2 in August, and from then on, all first-party Nintendo games on the 3DS will be published in both packaged and digital download format, said Iwata, including the next Brain Age game Onitore.

Iwata later mentioned Nintendogs as a title which will be available as part of this scheme, suggesting that previously released Nintendo games will also be given this treatment.

"Since the packaged and the digital download formats both have their own merits, we would like to offer both of these options to our consumers," he explained.

"Some may wonder why we are adding this kind of process, as it may seem more complicated," he continued. "However, for the majority of our consumers, this is a familiar process as they are already accustomed to making payments at the retail outlets, and it can lower their psychological barrier to making online purchases."

"Some consumers are hesitant in purchasing digital download software because they are concerned about inputting their credit card numbers. Also, payments by credit cards or cell phones are unavailable to some people under a certain age. Accordingly, offering a familiar payment method should lower the hurdle for our consumers to purchase digital download software."

Iwata stressed that, while digital distribution "is mainly aiming at no involvement from retailers" for a lot of companies, Nintendo is looking to involve retailers proactively.

"When it comes to how our consumers choose the candidates and make the final purchase decision, as well as how they pay for the software, we are going to enable consumers to go through these processes at both retailers and the Nintendo eShop," he added, referring to software exchange codes for the 3DS that are sold at retailers.

Iwata also revealed that the upcoming Wii U console, due for release later this year, will also see a similar initiative, with Nintendo-published games offered as downloadable titles at the same time as retail releases.

Sony already has a similar system with its PS Vita handheld, by which games are offered for download from the PlayStation Store on the same day that the game goes on sale in stores.


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Comments


Aaron San Filippo
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Awesome!

Miguel Castarde
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They need to revamp the account system. Full price games tied to hardware is very bad. Is not that difficult. Club Nintendo already keep track of your games.

Bob Johnson
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True although you can do system transfers (from an old 3ds to a new one) without contacting Nintendo. It is a built-in option. There are some limits. YOu can only do so many transfers in a given time period.

But it works seamlessly. Takes about 15 minutes. Then you swap the old sd card to the new machine.

Miguel Castarde
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Yes, but if you lost the hardaware the games are gone. And make even less possible they allow games purchased in the 3DS be playable at WiiU.

Eric Pobirs
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This is a critical move Nintendo needed to make. Their slowness to adopt modern sales methods has been a big limiter to their platforms. The 3DS e-Shop is rather meager compared to where the PSP was three years ago. It looks like they've finally accepted that things have changed.

Bob Johnson
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Well to say it has been a big limiter is stretching things when the DS and Wii were their most successful products ever. Products that made them billions.

And to bring up the PSP which was less successful than Nintendo's own platforms as an example of how a good digital goods strategy doesn't limit you is....well it gave me a chuckle.

And they are stubborn. They have had success doing things their own way. Not copying others so much. They like to get into markets and parts of markets where they can carve out their own niche. IT has worked for them.

Second a big part of their market are kids and parents who they have to think of when it comes to how they purchase games.

Third they have to consider retail relationships.

Fourth they have to consider piracy concerns.

Fifth they are a global company. Also they tend to focus on Japan first. And I think Japan is a bit more conservative in how they operate online than in America from what I have read.

....Apple had an easier time because they aren't making money selling games. They sell hardware. They are happy to everybody's games for $.99 or less if it means they sell more hardware.

Bob Johnson
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This is nice. Still what gets me is that you receive no discount if purchase the digital game. All of the big three need to break free of this bad habit and pass on the savings to consumers.

The big three will benefit from killing off the used game market as it is. No reason to also charge consumers full price when there is a nice savings from lack of a physical product to manufacture, ship, distribute and stock on shelves.

Prices need to get lower for digital products vs the same product in physical form.

It is going to be really ridiculous if Nintendo prices Nintendogs at $40 at the same time one can find it for $10 used or even new.

Still I guess baby steps.

btw, there was a new 3ds update. Folders and better eshop layout were the 2 big features that I know of.

Kevin Fisk
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This article is poorly written and doesn't do a good job explaining what Nintendo is doing. From reading notes from the investor meeting I learned that Nintendo is allowing retailers to set their own prices for eShop game download codes that can be bought in physical stores. I imagine then, that a retailer can choose to purchase an amount of a digital game at wholesale and set their own price similar to how Amazon used to buy and sell ebooks before they were forced to change to the agency model.

This means you likely won't have to pay MSRP on digital titles. Not sure if Nintendo will offer discounts directly through the eShop as some retailers might not like that.

Russell Carroll
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I agree Kevin.

The talking point is selling digital downloads through retail.
I'm sure it will garner a lot of discussion as people opine to whether that is brilliant or stupid. It's at a minimum a key move.

Bob Johnson
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@Kevin

I just read that. That sounds pretty win-win for all involved. Consumers, retailers and Nintendo.

Richard Mandel
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Will this also be available to 3rd party publishers? Or is it just another way Nintendo plans to dis-advantage the 3rd party guys who are already suffering badly or maybe terminally.

Jeferson Soler
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Personally, I don't think that it is a good idea for third-party publishers to do this through the eShop just yet. Nintendo should be the only one doing this for the time being as a way to test out the waters and see if it gains sales from offering digital downloads. At this point, the only third-party that could take a gamble with this and help Nintendo out with its strategy is Capcom. Capcom offered a demo of the Resident Evil game for the 3DS through the eShop.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Christian Keichel - My apologies! I forgot about the Metal Gear Solid demo and few other retail demos on the eShop, so you are right. Still, it is best for Nintendo to see if the process works before allowing the 3rd party companies to try it themselves. Of course, that's just my opinion!


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