In a statement to Joystiq today, Nintendo offered more insight into its plan to distribute new 3DS and Wii U games digitally in addition to retail. It won’t just be select games like New Super Mario Bros. 2; according to the publisher, “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.”
The statement also describes the retail availability of codes for these digital games, which are described as “16-digit codes” for the “Nintendo eShop.” So the Wii U’s store is going to be called the eShop, just like the 3DS’s, and use the same kind of codes. Between a unified store branding, availability of redeemable codes, and digital sales of full games, it looks like Nintendo is finally moving in the right direction in terms of the internet.
Now if it would only let you redeem those games to an account instead of a single 3DS. During last night’s presentation, Satoru Iwata said that the new downloadable 3DS retail games “will be stored in the consumer’s SD memory card and be playable only with the hardware to which it was downloaded so that, unlike how you can share the packaged software which are stored in game card format, the consumer cannot share the software with other Nintendo 3DS systems owned by other members of the family or friends.” In other words, they’ll operate just like eShop games operate now.
Nintendo is aiming to significantly expand its digital business. In August, New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS system will launch both as a packaged game at retail stores and as a digital download in the Nintendo eShop. 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.
These downloadable games will also be available for purchase at participating retail stores and on retailers’ websites. Our customers can visit retail outlets or their online shopping sites, look for the products they want and pay for the product there. The retailers will then provide shoppers with a 16-digit code that can be exchanged in the Nintendo eShop for the game. This will give shoppers more options to find and purchase their favorite games.