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Nintendo Planning On Bringing Retail 3DS and Wii U Titles Out Digitally

Nintendo plans on kicking off the digital/retail combo with New Super Mario Bros. 2.

The embracing of the oft-talked about "digital future" has been a slow process, to say the least. Due likely in no small part to publishers' unwillingness to send retailers into fits of murderous rage, most overtures toward a more digitally-oriented release model have been tempered as "additional options," with games appearing both at retail and digitally. Only recently have those retail and digital releases started to become more simultaneous, due in no small part to Sony's push for both options on the PlayStation Vita.

Want NSMB2 but unable or unwilling to go to a store to buy it? Does Nintendo ever have a solution for you!

Now, it seems, Nintendo is getting on board with this idea. During an investor presentation late last night (morning, Japan time), Nintendo president Satoru Iwata made it known that the company plans to start bringing out select 3DS titles to their digital eShop day-and-date with their retail counterparts, starting with the August release of New Super Mario Bros. 2. Iwata didn't state that this would be the standard, necessarily, for all 3DS titles, but rather an option for games that seem like a good fit for the service. Iwata specifically pointed out titles like Animal Crossing, Nintendogs, and Tomodachi Collection as the kinds of games that inspire "daily communication," and thus would be good to have stored on the system, as opposed to only being accessible via a cart.

As of right now, the only other confirmed title that will be getting the retail/digital double treatment is Onitore, a brain training game. Iwata did hint that more would be in the works, including perhaps some that might not necessarily fall under that "daily communication" banner.

Retailers will additionally be offering vouchers with download codes at their brick-and-mortar locations. This will allow for sales and price cuts to be offered post-release, something the eShop isn't currently built for.

It's not just the 3DS that will be getting this treatment, either. According to Iwata, the Wii U will offer the same service, and will have digital versions of its games available at launch. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like we'll get to find out what those launch games will be until after E3. Iwata made it known that while the final hardware will be at the show, Nintendo doesn't plan to announce the final cost, launch date, nor finalized launch lineup of games until after E3.

While it doesn't quite sound like Nintendo is 100% in on all things digital just yet, this at least looks like a solid step in that direction. Considering I've mostly just been downloading games to my Vita rather than buying them in stores, I definitely see this as a welcome option. The downside obviously is storage capacity, but depending on how large full-blown retail 3DS games are, this could turn out to be a much preferable option. Then again, I don't do much game-swapping, so it's no big deal for me that the games lock to the specific 3DS you download them to. I'm assuming others might have more of an issue with this.

Alex Navarro on Google+
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Posted by Alex

The embracing of the oft-talked about "digital future" has been a slow process, to say the least. Due likely in no small part to publishers' unwillingness to send retailers into fits of murderous rage, most overtures toward a more digitally-oriented release model have been tempered as "additional options," with games appearing both at retail and digitally. Only recently have those retail and digital releases started to become more simultaneous, due in no small part to Sony's push for both options on the PlayStation Vita.

Want NSMB2 but unable or unwilling to go to a store to buy it? Does Nintendo ever have a solution for you!

Now, it seems, Nintendo is getting on board with this idea. During an investor presentation late last night (morning, Japan time), Nintendo president Satoru Iwata made it known that the company plans to start bringing out select 3DS titles to their digital eShop day-and-date with their retail counterparts, starting with the August release of New Super Mario Bros. 2. Iwata didn't state that this would be the standard, necessarily, for all 3DS titles, but rather an option for games that seem like a good fit for the service. Iwata specifically pointed out titles like Animal Crossing, Nintendogs, and Tomodachi Collection as the kinds of games that inspire "daily communication," and thus would be good to have stored on the system, as opposed to only being accessible via a cart.

As of right now, the only other confirmed title that will be getting the retail/digital double treatment is Onitore, a brain training game. Iwata did hint that more would be in the works, including perhaps some that might not necessarily fall under that "daily communication" banner.

Retailers will additionally be offering vouchers with download codes at their brick-and-mortar locations. This will allow for sales and price cuts to be offered post-release, something the eShop isn't currently built for.

It's not just the 3DS that will be getting this treatment, either. According to Iwata, the Wii U will offer the same service, and will have digital versions of its games available at launch. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like we'll get to find out what those launch games will be until after E3. Iwata made it known that while the final hardware will be at the show, Nintendo doesn't plan to announce the final cost, launch date, nor finalized launch lineup of games until after E3.

While it doesn't quite sound like Nintendo is 100% in on all things digital just yet, this at least looks like a solid step in that direction. Considering I've mostly just been downloading games to my Vita rather than buying them in stores, I definitely see this as a welcome option. The downside obviously is storage capacity, but depending on how large full-blown retail 3DS games are, this could turn out to be a much preferable option. Then again, I don't do much game-swapping, so it's no big deal for me that the games lock to the specific 3DS you download them to. I'm assuming others might have more of an issue with this.

Staff
Edited by GalacticPunt

Nintendon't hurt 'em. I hear a big train pulling into the station...

Edited by norenewalfee

Sounds good to me! I would´ve bought Kid Icarus: Uprising on the e-shop if Nintendo would let me...

Edit: I just have to do it because I have never done it before: FIRST!!!!

Posted by ElementsofTony

I am actually kind of shocked by this news. It seems entirely too progressive for Nintendo.

Posted by AndrewB

I hope they make all their first party titles (at least), including the back catalog, available digitally.

Retailers will additionally be offering vouchers with download codes at their brick-and-mortar locations. This will allow for sales and price cuts to be offered post-release, something the eShop isn't currently built for.

I suppose they could patch in the option, right? But this is a great idea. Give the retailers what they want, give me what I want... and as long as I can buy from a site like Amazon and get that code instantly, I'd say I'm on board.

At least the 3DS takes standard memory cards, so additional storage won't be too much of a problem. That's one thing I've always hated about Sony. It took me towards the end of the PSP's life cycle to be able to find a "reasonably priced" 8GB memory stick, which is still not nearly enough to store games.

Posted by mattgriffin

So far, I've never even looked at the SD card that came with my 3ds. I'm wondering what the file sizes will be like and how many games I'm likely to fit on the stock SD card.

Posted by MentalDisruption

Interesting news coming from Nintendo. I'll be curious to see if this leads anywhere else in the future.

Posted by Little_Socrates

NOTHING STOPS THE NINTENDOWNLOAD EXPRESS!

Posted by TripMasterMunky

"Nintendo doesn't plan to announce the final cost, launch date, nor finalized launch lineup of games until after E3."

Awww....

Posted by Moncole

Smart move. But digital version need to be cheaper like 20$ cheaper.

Posted by Heartagram

Fantastic news

Posted by cbirdsong

@ElementsofTony: Fear'll do that. With much success comes much complacency. Last time they were threatened, they were forced to create the Wii and DS.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

How is it Nintendo that is the one doing this?

I suppose this confirms the WiiU will have a decent amount of storage space, at least.

Posted by Legend

Best news ever! I buy all my Vita games digitally, and would love to do the same for the 3DS and next-gen consoles.

Posted by JetForceGemini

It's about time. I want to see original DS games become available digitally for 3DS too.

Posted by MeatSim

Hooray for progress.

Posted by EXTomar

That is all well and good but I hope they don't try to sell the software at the same price levels. A lesson they need to learn from digital stores isn't that you can get N amount easier at $20 but way more than twice as many sales at $10.

Posted by AngelN7

Great Nintendo just caught up with 4 years of progress.

Posted by JDillinger

Nintendo copying Sony yet again.

Posted by StingingVelvet

Why anyone would choose this over a DRM-free disc is beyond me. Changing discs can be a hassle, but digital downloads through an account like this put your games in corporate hands, not your own. Too much to give up if you ask me... way too much.

Posted by m0rdr3d

Make the digital version substantially cheaper and allow me to keep those purchases attached to my ACCOUNT and not some breakable system and I'd consider it. Otherwise, take your digital games, load em onto an SD card, shine em up real nice, and...

Posted by OllyOxenFree

Truly, this is the age of digital distribution.

Posted by cheddartyme
Posted by 49th

I don't believe you.

Posted by Zaxex

I'm game, I'm all for buying retail games digitally. All they need to do is work out the logistics and It'll make financial sense as well as be more practical.

As is I've been forced to buy games used from Amazon, I'm sure that doesn't help them as much and as good as Amazon are they're not as efficient as a download would be.

Posted by Make_Me_Mad

I love that everyone was clamoring for digital sales, and now that they have it people are immediately demanding lower prices as well. Fuck all y'all.

Posted by nick_verissimo

What's news to me is the fact that there is a NSMB 2. Totally didn't even know that existed.

Posted by darbish

@StingingVelvet: It's only a matter of time before publishers figure out how to get rid of the discs. Remember the Xbox720 scuttlebutt about CD keys and the effect it would have on the used game market? They're moving people along in baby steps with online passes and such. Once everyone (somewhere between 85% and 100%) in the country has broadband internet it's all but over for physical copies.

Posted by evanbower

@mattgriffin said:

So far, I've never even looked at the SD card that came with my 3ds. I'm wondering what the file sizes will be like and how many games I'm likely to fit on the stock SD card.

The card that comes with it is 2 gigs.. so, approximately one game! Part of this will definitely involve 3DS owners going out and buying bigger cards. Good things they're crazy cheap.

Edited by mattgriffin

@evanbower: word. thank goodness nintendo went SD and didn't pull a sony on us with the 3ds. Need to look into how big an SD it can use and how transferring data works.

UPDATE: looks like the 3ds will take up to a 32gb SDHC card. Sweet. And apparently data transfer is as simple as copying to a computer and then to a new formatted SD card.

Edited by durden77

This is great! It seems like within the last year or so, Nintendo has really gotten on the track it needs to take advantage of some of today's technology that they've kind of pushed to the side in the past. Their fantastic games and unique take on the industry has always kept them afloat, but if they get to be good buddies with modern day tech, we could have some real interesting stuff coming up.

Hell I might even buy NSMB2 digital. Seems like a good game to always have on the system,

Posted by StingingVelvet

@darbish said:

@StingingVelvet: It's only a matter of time before publishers figure out how to get rid of the discs. Remember the Xbox720 scuttlebutt about CD keys and the effect it would have on the used game market? They're moving people along in baby steps with online passes and such. Once everyone (somewhere between 85% and 100%) in the country has broadband internet it's all but over for physical copies.

I know all that, but it would be nice if people stopped thinking it was so awesome. There are serious downsides to digital content, especially when it's DRM'd on a closed platform.

Posted by Milkman

This is the best move Nintendo could possibly make.

Posted by SlightConfuse

nintendo embracing the future is amazing

Posted by Lemons64

Nintendo might just come back from the brink.

I always like getting my games from the store, but doing things digitally might make things more convenient and just all together more efficient.

Posted by JJOR64

Now I'm just curious how big the storage device on Wii U will be.

Edited by EXTomar

@StingingVelvet said:

Why anyone would choose this over a DRM-free disc is beyond me. Changing discs can be a hassle, but digital downloads through an account like this put your games in corporate hands, not your own. Too much to give up if you ask me... way too much.

I hate to break this to you but running software from a disk on a DRM hardened system is still DRM. And I also think too many overvalue a physical disks and carts where it is way less valuable if not junk after a few months anyway.

I am all for freedom, information privacy and similar topics but I don't think most games actually qualify the need to maintain or protect them.

Posted by Brodehouse

Like hell they are. It's going to be so fucking broken and ugly. For all their talk about simple user interfaces, everything they do that involves the internet might as well be coldhewn from the bones of the stillborn. They're a decade behind the rest of the world when it comes to anything internet.

Posted by ThePilgrums

@Lemons64 said:

Nintendo might just come back from the brink.

Yes, they may come back from the brink... of having $10 Billion saved in the bank. The poor bastards. How will they ever survive!?

Posted by fjor

@JDillinger said:

Nintendo copying Sony yet again.

lol?

Posted by grbear

Well its progress I suppose but tying your purchases to the console they were bought on instead of using some sort of Nintendo account seems pretty backwards compared to the SEN, Steam, XBL, iTunes etc. especially considering just how much Nintendo love to redesign their handheld consoles. I stopped buying stuff on the Virtual Console ages ago as I have very little confidence in being able to keep those games if I upgrade to a Wii-U later this year. Transferring your purchases from a DSi to a 3DS works but they need a much better system for Wii to Wii-U transfers.

Posted by habibyjohnson

I dont like this!! There's something about digital downloads that makes owning games seem more hollow. I also have the tendancy to think downloaded games run worse than disc games. And of course it means paying attention to storage space, which ive never had to do before. I like to download movies, music and tv, but as long as Games cost 60 or more I want physical copies!!!!!!!!!

Posted by JasonR86

@Moncole said:

Smart move. But digital version need to be cheaper like 20$ cheaper.

That won't happen dude.

Online
Posted by awadnin

I will keep to buy retail games it is the best choice for me.

Posted by masternater27

I'll probably mostly buy discs, but this is awesome for things like Tetris or w/e that I know I'll always come back to when I'm bored.

Posted by Cybexx

I posted my opinions about this last night but I'll re-iterate with new exciting sentence structure! So Nintendo stepping deeper into the digital pond is great. On all next generation consoles I want everything day-and-date digital. I'm sure this will be a fairly limited number of titles for Nintendo but still a very good step. Now we are not out of the woods yet because Nintendo also announced your not going to be able to transfer these games between systems, which is not a surprise but disappointing.

My fine tuned soothsaying predicts its going to be another decade til Nintendo allows us to activate/deactivate a limited number of devices to one account, like Apple. Hopefully they we won't have to go through that pay-to-redownload thing that EA had going initially for their digital service but we shall see.

I'm willing to experiment with cheap titles that I can't re-download but for the bigger pricier titles I'm not really sure. But not having to remember which box I left the Animal Crossing cart in (because chances are its not the Animal Crossing box) is tempting. I think Gamestop, or someone I like better, should offer the digital NSMB2 with the physical copy as a pre-order bonus or something to introduce people to the E-Shop but that may be a conflict of interest for a brick and mortar store.

Posted by selbie

Does this mean Nintendo are finally shipping a console with *gasp* good storage capacity?!

Posted by acarab1981
Posted by JohnDudebro

If they go back and add already released games to the store, I'll absolutely buy a 3DS.

I've wanted to play Mario 3D Land and Kid Icarus for a while, and if I can get them digitally, there's no real reason for me to put it off anymore.

Edited by wefwefasdf

@JasonR86 said:

@Moncole said:

Smart move. But digital version need to be cheaper like 20$ cheaper.

That won't happen dude.

Yeah, retailers would throw a fit. Besides, Nintendo isn't going to turn down money either.

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