Topic: "Your View" Feature - The Future of Download-Only Games

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Please note that like some people, I've copied and pasted my comment into the topic so if I appear to mention a name of someone not actively involved in this discussion, ignore it. If it's a problem let me know and I will edit out those parts.

The Nintendo Life article isn't quite accurate when it says this is a problem we've yet to face. We've already faced this issue before with the BS Satellite and the Sega Dreamcast. Many of the BS versions of games vanished, and some of the download-only games from the Dreamcast era (such as Rockman World) suffered the same fate. It's inevitable that sooner or later digital games will stop being offered on a current service, but depending on the licensing and popularity they may be offered again in the future.

In the case of online games such as Monster Hunter Tri, people need to understand that when they buy a game solely to play online, it will eventually become useless to them when the servers go down. It happened before with the original Xbox Live and Phantasy Star Online. As long as people keep that in mind before they plunk down 59.99$ on a game, there should be no issue. It's also one of the reasons why I usually stick to offline gaming, though in the case of the Monster Hunter series I don't mind because when the servers shut down you still have your awesome Deviljho armor or whatever to play with offline. This is something I've had to explain to some of my Halo and Call of Duty addicted friends and their usual response is something along the lines of "Well by then there'll be a new Halo/Call of Duty so who cares?".

Of course I don't think anyone is going to deny that collecting original copies is ideal, but as others have pointed out some games (Such as Shank, State of Decay, Mega Man 9, etc. ) just aren't available any other way. Fishbowling yourself as a "real gamer" and sticking to only physical copies is a needless limitation and certainly doesn't make someone anymore of a "real gamer" than anyone else. Downloading digital copies can sometimes be a better alternative as well, since some games (such as Ogre Battle 64) can easily run for 60 and 70 dollars online just for a loose cart. Hardcore collectors like myself may be fine with spending that kind of money, but not everyone is, and in that case digital content can be more appealing. It's also worth pointing out that some people travel and it's generally much easier to carry one console loaded down with 100+ games that is to carry the physical copies around. Finally, sometimes it can be a matter of shelf space or because some games have been remade with HD in mind. For example, I own over 600 physical games in a single room with over a dozen consoles as well. Because of this, sometimes I will opt for a digital copy so I don't take up even more space or because it's more convenient than hooking up a system to play one or two games. As if that isn't enough, there's the issue of imports. Some games were only released in Japan and in recent years these games have been getting digital releases here in the US, sometimes complete with translations. Importing physical copies can be expensive due to shipping, not to mention that you need a means to run these games. Take the NES for example. Excellent library of games, but the "box" model that everyone is most familiar with wasn't made all that well. The main issue being the fact it loads games from the front, causing the 72 pin connector to wear out. The Top Loader model fixed this, but it's more expensive. The Game Gear is another prime example of the original hardware being problematic. The Game Gear was notorious for it's battery usage, but it also has an issue with caps leaking all over the motherboard. Doesn't help that the Game Gear picture quality was never all that great to begin with and the only alternative is a Majesco model Game Gear which aren't that easy to find right now. As a result, those Sega Game Gear titles on the Eshop can be convenient. There's also the rare case of a digital version of a game being completely superior to the original in addition to being cheaper and more convenient. I need look no further than the XBLA release of Guardian Heroes, which completely stomps the original version in almost every possible way, and that's coming from someone who owns the original disc for the Saturn and not just some joker who downloaded the ISO and ran it in an emulator. What about games breaking, being misplaced, or having their save batteries die? None of these issues are present with digital copies. The worst thing that can happen with a digital release is that you miss out on it and it's removed for some reason or another, or the server shut down before you can buy it. In most cases, once you buy a game you can download it as many times as you want and provided nothing happens to the system or storage device housing them, they will last pretty much for as long as you need.

There are a lot of variables involved here and it's important to keep in mind that because staying physical only works for you, it doesn't mean it's the only way to enjoy games nor does it mean it's the way everyone else should. More importantly, it's been suggested that at some point gaming will become entirely digital which serves as further reason not to fishbowl yourself with physical games. Of course, anytime someone opens a statement with "real gamer" anything they say should be taken with a grain of salt anyway.

There is of course an issue with games that require you to be online to play and in that case we certainly do have a problem and it's the reason people often refuse to buy games that function that way.

FInally, what Mayhem said about piracy is actually pretty accurate. People often put piracy in a negative light, but think back to the 70's and 80's where people would copy things to a floppy and share them with friends. They didn't do it because they wanted to hurt the company, they did it because they loved the games and wanted to share them. It's the same thing now and as much as people like to trash talk piracy, in the end piracy may be the ultimate method of preserving these games.

Edited on by Onion



I for one do not like this "digital only" road the industry as a whole seems to be going down. Once servers stop functioning, who knows the fate of all those downloaded games, retail or otherwise, that we spent our hard-earned cash on. Not to say that digital games are bad per se, but it certainly isn't an altogether good thing either.


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I own both a Wii and Wii U, and it seems like when the Wii Shop Channel shuts down, (Nintendo) has to think of something big to get out of this one. I mean, look at the PS3 and XBOX 360. They are used by account-based systems, so when they shut that down, you still keep your downloads, most likely forever. The Wii, however, does NOT have this. so when the Wii Shop Channel shuts down (which is obviously a while from now), they have quite an issue with getting everything together again. Maybe, that is why you can transfer EVERYTHING onto your Wii U, and you have the option to pay a tiny bit more, to keep your games on the Wii U Menu, along with Wii U Gamepad support (I think) and Miiverse support as well. What about the people like me who don't want to transfer? Hopefully, (Nintendo) has a solution for this soon, but that is why they are releasing a lot less games now, just like they did for the last gen, including the PS2. However, I always have the Hombrew channel, so who knows what 4th party support can do for this? (To me, Fourth-Party support is like unoffical stuff for games, like Homebrew for Wii.) I will always remember what the Wii did for the gaming world, with its Motion Controls, and its Family-Friendly content, and when the Netflix version on Wii was the most popular one of the 7th-gen Netflix.


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They need to create an account system, problem solved.

Still, I'll still get retail whenever possible, if only for nostalgia's sake. Just picked up Fire Emblem: Awakening yesterday, and in addition to the wonderful hand drawn art on the cover, I was surprised to find out that it was also shiny. These are the small touches I'd miss in an all digital era.


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I always prefer to buy physical vs digital. There is no guarantee that you'll be able to keep the digital or physical version "forever". However with a physical copy I have more control over the longevity of my purchases. I do buy digital games but only those that are available as digital only. I'm not convinced that 30 years from now we'll be able to play our digital games like we're able to play our first edition copies of Super Mario Bros. on NES.

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Snap wrote:

I'm not convinced that 30 years from now we'll be able to play our digital games like we're able to play our first edition copies of Super Mario Bros. on NES.

In original form, probably not. But it's probably worth sacrificing for the eventual benefits of all digital gaming.

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I have other hobbies to fall back to. If everything were to go all digital with consoles, I'd just dabble in it here and there, depending. I'm not interested in that world.

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I really hope Nintendo comes up with a solution for this, I really like being able to download my games directly to my system but it's true, electronics die too and my system won't be there forever. I'd really love to keep playing these games even after they become classics!

Specially where I live, if my 3DS is lost or destroyed... I really don't think Nintendo will do anything to help me at all like they do in the US, I'd need to buy everything again by myself. That makes the idea of digital content even more stressing.

Edited on by Yosheel

Yeah I don’t know either.

Oh look! A Morphloggery.
Oh! eShop Gurus.

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I'm hoping Nintendo allows all consoles to access the same store, but only download games that can be run on the system. Maybe a bit like steam, where you access them from a variety of your devices (multiple PCs, macs, etc.) but they can only be downloaded if the system can play it. Now, I doubt this will ever happen, but I can dream right?

Or maybe "burnable" discs that allow me to install my downloadable games on them? Sorta like music, where you can download it and burn it to a physical disc. Now, you can't re-install it via the disc, but you can still play the game. That'd be awesome.

Edited on by SkywardLink98

My SD Card with the game on it is just as physical as your cartridge with the game on it.
I love Nintendo, that's why I criticize them so harshly.

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Another thing I hate is the lack of downloadable games from the Wii on the Wii U. Some Virtual Console games may be lost which is disappointing, but online services shifting down is undersnandable. I hate how you can't transfer the WiiWare ans Virtual Console games to the Wii U and that their data cannot be transferred too.



Big N could handle it kinda like Amazon does it these days regarding their physical audio discs. If physical media is being bought and registered, a free download will be available as well. So you can put your game onto your shelf, and enjoy playing the download version. That'll be gamer's paradise!

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I think it's more the losing the option of getting games for a system that worries me more than losing those games. I have an ever-acculating mound of video games I keep in my room, and I've realized that I will probably never play the majority of them ever again. (I'm looking at you, Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ and Ivy the Kiwi?). But I don't wish to trade them in for a few measly dollars toward another game, or trade them for another game through someone else. Like many albums I have in my music library, I've habitualized myself to ignoring numerous games I own, but just because they no longer hold any utility to me doesn't mean I want them to disappear. Restricting ownership causes consumer backlash, as evidenced by the recent XBox One debacle; Nintendo needs to provide more accessible channels to ownership in order to appease customers who want stronger ownership of their titles that don't exist in physical form.

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strenny wrote:

Big N could handle it kinda like Amazon does it these days regarding their physical audio discs. If physical media is being bought and registered, a free download will be available as well. So you can put your game onto your shelf, and enjoy playing the download version. That'll be gamer's paradise!

Yeah, like digital dl codes that come with some DVD and Blu Ray movies. Perhaps game registration locking the digital version to your account.

Edited on by Midnight3DS

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Digital markets are moving swiftly, so it's easy to overlook the fact that they are still just sprouting technologies, steadily making its way to many people's lives (They barely have 10 years of existence, and computers aren't going to disappear any time soon, if that's an indicator of anything). Because of this, many trends will have to be set in place first with their goal in mind: Digital contents, whatever their media, exist to make them more convenient and easier to access.

In the specific case of video games, what people can purchase nowadays from a digital store is just a license to use a given downloaded software. One approach the industry could take is to have a proper EULA (End User License Agreement) in place, where customers can clearly know that they can access and use their software until any given date, and where it's specified which online services will/could be used and their respective minimum support dates. It also opens the possibility of software revocations or extensions: What's great about software is that it can change easily with rare cases of it being impeded by the hardware, so Nintendo could implement time limited, account based licenses on their software and support them on any future console (Something like a universal virtual console, where the license fees cover the server maintenance costs and make VC online play possible).

One more possible support route: Many indie titles have releases in more than one platform. The approach could be the same as above: Pay to have access to the software from this server, purchase a license for using it a given amount of times or a set interval of time, or something else, with the right EULA present at all times. I agree with Microsoft when they say digital must progress, but not to the money-centric, software-killing extent they took originally with the XBox One. That's downright extreme.

This point could be extended. What will happen when these games' copyrights expire? What's more, how we can play Wii and 3DS games when their hardware is so unique? That's where the hardware invariably jumps in. Antiques are always a collector's item, anyway.

Edited on by AlbertoC

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RR529 wrote:

They need to create an account system, problem solved.

That'll solve the problem of what do you do if your console is lost, stolen, or broken, but won't help if they shut the servers down one bit. After all, where do you think they store your account?

This ground HAS already been broken, actually. Although relatively few people are aware, the Xbox Live Arcade actually started on the original Xbox, and all of those games are already gone forever. Most of them are available on 360 instead, but I don't think Microsoft gave owners of the Xbox versions any free copies. Then you have the PSP Comics store...Sony took that down months ago. To be fair, they gave people advanced warning about it and since PSP data can be backed up on PC, anyone who wanted to had the ability to back up their entire libraries...something that isn't an option for consoles. But again, the PSP Comics store wasn't all THAT popular, and there wasn't much outcry when it happened.

So yes, these issues have come up before, but very small-scale. One thing I know for sure is that whichever company tries a large-scale shutdown first is going to be up against a MASSIVE backlash much like what Microsoft has been dealing with since the Xbox One reveal. It's anybody's guess when that'll happen and who will be to blame...I think it'll be Microsoft, ironically further proving how bad their always-online policy was.

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I only worry about losing access to downloaded content on Nintendo systems with their system the way it is. This still hasn't deterred me fro frequenting the eshop, but the back of a tangible account system on the Consumer Side makes me worry about taking my 3DS out in case its stolen or suffers system failure. The same can't be said for other Platforms like the PS4/Vita which I plan to go pretty much all digital for with the exception of sports games.

As far as having a way around it< I can't think of Nintendo being able to do anything other than letting the users control accounts so they can backup the games to other media.


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I definitely worry about losing access to download only games some time in the future. I mean, it's a bad enough worry for me that I've decided that I'll never buy a retail game on the eShop and will potentially stop playing video games altogether if Nintendo decides to make all their games download only.

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If Nintendo started an account system that would do wonders for them I think (and an achievement type system would be the icing on the cake). When I play my Xbox I feel like I'm working towards something, because what I've done, what games I've played, what games I own, how long I've played them, my achievements, etc. are always going to be there even when switching to the next gen. system. So that makes me feel like I'm working towards something (gamer score for Xbox) and gives me extra incentive to play. Honestly I don't understand why Nintendo has not done this yet, it makes absolutely no sense to me. This almost feels like it's a must have for me, and when I was in my hardcore Xbox faze, one of the things that made it so hard for me to play Wii was the fact that I didn't get that feeling of my gaming achievements building on each other and not being able to show that to the world. The only game I really played for the Wii was Twilight Princess and that's it. I mean on my 3DS nobody is ever going to know that I've beat Fire Emblem on hard mode or that I've beaten Etrian Odyssey VI (when I do eventually) and that I'm a huge SMT fan and that I've gotten this far in Soul Hackers and Overclocked. Or at least until Nintendo decides to implement a system even vaguely similar to Xbox gamertags. Now I'm not saying that Nintendo needs to go and cookie cutter the gamertag system and paste it into the Nintendo ecosystem, obviously I would want Nintendo's own magical 'gamer card' or something like that. I'm sure they could pull it off and fill it with that Nintendo spirit that we all love. I would love nothing more than when I eventually do get a Wii U, to be able to bring over my 'gamer card' from my 3DS to my U and be able to show the world everything that I've played, how far I've gotten, my 'achievements,' etc. And also to be able to show them off via my 3DS of course. :3 But if Nintendo did implement this kind of system I would be motivated to go back and beat most of my 3DS games over again, unless it would somehow scan the data on my SD and update everything like that. But I think it would really help to boost Nintendo's sales and definitely improve the Nintendo ecosystem, and I think the online ecosystem for Nintendo definitely need's improvement. I just don't understand if this is them trying to be different and not go the route of the Xbox and Playstation or what, and if that's the case then it's just kind of rediculous. But at the end of the day I still, and always will, love Nintendo and their awesome video games and consoles the same as I have since the NES days. <3

/wall of text over D;

edit: lol I never even touched on the issue of my downloaded games, which I have plenty of and what would happens if/when servers shut down -_-

Edited on by thatguyEZ


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I have to admit this is one main con I have when it comes to digital games. As a collector of games I like to have my games for years. Now I know some of you will say oh but cartridges don't last forever but really it depends on the owner. I for one take care of my stuff I still have alot of my NES cartridges and SNES cartridges in fact thats how I avoided paying such a high price for Earthbound but thats a story for another day. Many of them still work just fine and I know that if I want to play say Earthbound in a few years all I have to do is fire up my SNES and I am good to go. Now with Earthbound coming to the Wii U what happens if say Nintendo goes out of business in a few years? Will I be able to play it on my Wii U? Sure but what happens if my Wii U blows up or the game gets erased from the hard drive?

Now I know that if something were to happen to my cartridge I could always jump on ebay or some other site and pick another one granted I will probably be paying alot but I know I can still get one even if the company goes out of business. With digital I may not be as lucky.

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