News Article

DSiWare Will Not Be Transferable Unless Nintendo Makes Changes

Posted by James Newton

Reggie's comments may worry some

One of the major questions arising from Nintendo's unveiling of the 3DS, other than "when?" and "how much?", was "will I be able to transfer my DSiWare content?" As the content is currently locked to each device rather than an overall account, it's not currently possible to transfer the games between two DSi systems, prompting the question from users hoping to upgrade.

Although no official announcement has currently been made, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime has stated in a recent interview the transfer will not be possible unless Nintendo makes a big change:

Our current approach is a device-based approach. The content is tied to a particular device. Until we move to a different type of an approach like an account based approach you're not going to be able to transfer the content. We are looking at how best to bring that to life.

Although Reggie stops short of saying this is the direction the company is heading towards, the rest of the interview – and indeed most of the current 3DS discussion – focuses less on the machine's 3D technology and more on its online services and Nintendo's plans to revamp such features.

Sadly at the moment, this is another question – like "when?" and "how much?" – that we won't be able to answer for quite a while yet.


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User Comments (51)



Dazza said:

It's about time that Nintendo sorted out this hot potato. Sony, Microsoft, Valve (Steam) and Apple all have an account based approach for transferring downloaded content to a replacement console/device. Nintendo are really lagging behind here.

How can they expect a DSi owner to upgrade to a DSi XL and sacrifice all the downloaded content? This is 2010, they need to wake up and smell the coffee



Brainhost said:

They don't sell cartridges with a system based approach, so why should digital ware have to suffer that fate, is what I always thought.



Klapaucius said:

Its inexcusable really to not do something about this issue. I'm sure they know of the problem and have something planned.



Gavin_Rozee said:

Hurry up and sort it out Nintendo. I could live without my DSiWare not being transferrable, but i really want WiiWare/VC games transferrable to a new Wii and/or the Wii successor.



Feld0 said:

DSiWare, WiiWare, and VC games get registered to your Club Nintendo account, and it's possible for Nintendo to check what games have been downloaded on your specific system in case they're not showing up in your account or something.

All it takes is for them to take Club Nintendo a step further and turn it into this "account-based system" they're touting. Here's a laughably simple way to do it:

Any system you register and link to your Club Nintendo account (DSi, DSi XL, 3DS, Wii) will automatically be eligible to download any game registered to the account for free.

There. It's as easy as that.



Guybrush_Threepwood said:

I don't have a DSi since DSiWare is lame in my humble opinion (I don't see any reason to sacrifice the GBA-slot). I still prefer the DS Lite (or even my original DS). But I hope they have a solution for the successor of Wii to transfer my 60 Virtual Console games.



Hardy83 said:

One of the MANY MANY reasons Nintendo's online structure is absolute garbage and YEARS behind when compared to competition.

I stand by my opinion that DSiWare and Wii have THE worst online structure I've ever experienced in a video game system, that includes computers.

Nintendo does amazing things, but online is not one of them. Obviously I would love for them to change that.



Sean_Aaron said:

@Feld0: The problem with the Club Nintendo approach is that Club Nintendo doesn't exist in many countries - just ask people in most of the EU!



Cipher said:

The way he says "until we do this, you can't do that", to me, sounds like they ARE going to do "this" - or, at least, they're planning it.

It doesn't affect me as I'll be keeping my DSi after I get my 3DS but I know there's an awful lot of people out there who'll trade one in for the other. For those people, this solution does need to come sooner rather than later and ideally a system-to-system transfer option should be in place ready for the 3DS's launch later in the year.



JimLad said:

I predict an awkward process that requires money, that wont be available until six months after the 3DS' release, by which time all your DSi's will be worthless.



Sylverstone said:

Turning Club Nintendo into an account-based system was what I proposed.

I'm a bit ticked at how Nintendo's previous approach to online play has been rather sloppy and given no proper attention. It's like "here, there it is, suck it up".

To hear that they are restructuring parts of it is great to hear, but they'll end up ticking off many, if not all DSi owners who have purchased DSiWare that were pleading with Nintendo to implement a transfer option.



DiggerandIndy said:

@Dazza If I do upgrade, the only things I'd probably lose is Dr. Mario, Mario Calculator & Clock, and FlipNotes. I didn't download very much, considering IMO that the only thing the DSi is good for is checking the internet while you're using the restroom!



warioswoods said:

It will make sense to keep your DSi anyway; based on the specs of the screens, the 3DS may be technically backwards compatible but is likely to be far less than ideal for playing original DS games (your gameplay screen will be shrunk down with huge black borders, or we'll have scaling issues like artifacts -- it's hard to get around that given the 3DS design).

Really the 3DS and DSi are very different kinds of systems, despite the outward similarities. Sure, Nintendo generally does its best to include some backwards compatibility, but not every released system has to continue to play everything that went before it; there will be limits, and it's wrong to think of each new handheld as a potential "upgrade" rather than an entirely new purchase.



pixelman said:

At least they're acknowledging the problem. It's a non-issue for me since I don't have a DSi, but it'd be reassuring if they came up with a solution before the Wii 2 comes around.



maka said:

right... Anyway, based on the possible scaling issues when playing DS games on the 3DS, I want a DSi XL more now, as it seems it will be the ultimate machine to play DS games even after the 3DS is released. Also, the shoulder buttons on my DSi are semi-broken (luckily there aren't that many games that need those...).

The only thing keeping me from upgrading is the fact I bought quite a few downloadable games and I'd lose them....

Frankly, It's amazing they don't do anything about this problem as it's probably keeping them from selling a lot of systems...

BTW, at least with the wii, if it breaks and you buy a new one, they will transfer the downloaded games to the new one. Not so with the DSi



maka said:

BTW, I just called Nintendo to check and their answer was "If your DSi breaks you will lose all your downloaded games".

I really hope they fix this eventually because I think it's totally unfair. It's funny they complain about piracy so much when this kind of behavior really promotes it...



dres said:

Well, it's great for all you guys living in big country's. Well, guess what... Club Nintendo only exist in some few big western country's, so it will not solve the problem for everyone.



emayer said:

I'm going to smash something (but not my Wii! ) if I'm not able to transfer my VC / WiiWare games to the "Wii 2." That would be beyond absurd.



Token_Girl said:

Part of expanding the CN into a full online account system would hopefully be anyone could get an account.

This isn't really news. We already knew we couldn't transfer DSiWare unless Nintendo "changed something." It sounds like they'll implement an account based system for the 3DS, but they're not going to change anything about the DSi. You'll be able to move around 3DS games, since you'll have an account, but you won't be able to tie your DSi to that account.

It's really a dumb move, and I guarantee you it will hurt Wiishop sales too, if people know they're not going to bother making it possible to transfer games this gen. That's the bigger deal, since it's been around a lot longer than DSiWare.



bro2dragons said:

@Feld0: Ninty would never do it that way, I don't think. Here's where there hang up would be: What would keep me from giving my friends Billy, Bob, Brandon, John, James, Jessica, Joseph, Jacob, Jeremy, Steve, Marcus, Mary Jo, Philip, Persephone, Paul, Chuck, Cody, Carol, Chris, Kevin and Kyle my Wii code so that they could download my 40+ games for free?



The_Fox said:

Unacceptable, Nintendo. How many are going to keep their DSi and buy a 3ds?



Ch3p3 said:

the answer is easy: they have to do individual accounts!!! thats the answer!!



EdEN said:

Maybe they'll have you register at Club Nintendo (already did), register your system (already did) and THEN register your 3DS (as soon as it hits retail!) so you can re-download all your DSiware purchases on your new handheld and play some of the in 3D! (upper screen only).



EdEN said:

Maybe they'll have you register at Club Nintendo (already did), register your system (already did) and THEN register your 3DS (as soon as it hits retail!) so you can re-download all your DSiware purchases on your new handheld and play some of the in 3D! (upper screen only).



ToastyYogurt said:

Ugh, bad news.
This would be the only thing stopping me from buying a 3DS.
C'mon, Nintendo, you gotta make that change! Your profits depend on it!



WolfRamHeart said:

I actually really regret buying my DSi and will be trading it in towards the 3DS. I haven't purchased a DSiWare game since the 3DS was announced and I will not be purchasing any more until Nintendo gets it's act together. They need to create a solution for users to be able to transfer their games from the DSi to the 3DS. If Sony and Microsoft can do this than why can't Nintendo?



BlueKirby said:

@18: I sent my DSi in for repairs (shoulder buttons) with the warranty intact and they transferred all of my games.



fishman100 said:

Really? REALLY? You can invent a DS with 3D screens (and other junk like reading, chatting, and videos on it), but you can't find a way to transfer DSi games???? Geez!



KiroX777 said:

yes! please nintendo!

i want accounts sign in on my nintendo stuff now. if it were like that we would also not need any FCs anymore! =D it would be like adding somebody's email... simple and easy. FCs are a HASSLE



komicturtle said:

They can do something similar to the PSN. For example, you download FFVII with ACCOUNT1( your friend's, for example_, and then switch to ACCOUNT2, FFVII will not be playable unless you switch the system's settings to ACCOUNT1 and vice-versa. And usually, this can be a headache in switching accounts around sometimes. That could help keep people away from downloading games for free as it would require lots of patience to switch from one account to another. Oh, and you HAVE to restore your system to default if you really want to use someone's account to get a game since the PSP and PS3 only has one account per user (aplies to the PS3 as that system can have multiple users on the same system). If you are ACCOUNT2 and want to log into PSN with ACCOUNT1 (your Friend's), it will not let you since ACCOUNT2 is registered with the system. Time to FORMAT SYSTEM memory haha.

The whole switching from accounts works better for PS3 as you can have multiple users (but software can only be downloaded to 5 PSPs and PS3 systems OVERALL), but the 3DS doesn't seem like it will have a multi-user interface, since it is inappropriate to do so. No point.

Nintendo could follow this scheme to prevent people from getting free games from friends- but i assume some won't care about formatting the system to default and switching back and forth.



realar said:

Nintendo, your quest to stop piracy has shot you in the foot!!
Friend codes are annoying.
Don't make shoulder buttons flimsy or short lasting!



HappyHappy said:

I was thinking about getting a DSi XL this summer, but with this information I think I'll just wait and buy a 3DS.



Kawaiipikachu said:

Well as i realised the DSi was a stopgap thous i never gotten myself one so no problems here.
Anyway those who were fooled into getting a DSi in the first place should have thought twice & realised from the stat that the DSi is nothing more than a ripoff from the start.



Peznaze said:

Yeah, Nintendo and someone else do the licensed to the system, not the user plan... Amazon, I think it was. It's not what the end user prefers, as you have to re-purchase the license to enjoy the content on additional systems. It stinks, but don't expect it to change, ever. Bottom line is when you purchase WiiWare, VC, DSiWare, or likely 3DSWare, you buy a license to run that software on the device on which you purchased it no matter who uses it, not the other way around, licensed to a user no matter what system they're on.

It's not a deal-breaker for me, I bought a DSi for a portable music player that could also run good games, so I haven't bought a lot of DSiWare. Should I choose to get a 3DS (which is hard to resist - everything I like about the DSi plus stereoscopic picture taking!) I won't lose anything much.

What this news mostly says is that if you plan on getting a 3DS and have a DSi or DSi XL, hold off on buying DSiWare as you won't be able to transfer it. You likely won't be able to transfer it off of the 3DS, either.



MrPanic said:

I have a Club Nintendo account and I can view all my VC/Wiiware/DSiware on that account so if they just make the Wii/ClubNintendo and DSi/ClubNintendo connections in-reversible ones and all of Nintendo's future consoles account-based, there should be no problem getting that content again on future consoles. That or a big update for the DSi and Wii to make them account based should do the trick, I guess Nintendo will figure it out by themselves though.

All the hating on the DSi is ridiculous though, we all knew how Nintendo's policies are for a long time so this shouldn't come as a surprice, and for the prices DSiware games are sold, the DSi is still worth it if you're in that kind of software. Stop the hating, trolls begone!



brandonbwii said:

for once I'd like you to come online and NOT bash Nintendo's online approach. Do you ever discuss the good Nintendo has done? No you just whine and whine about oh their online is such garbage as if they're never going to improve.

I take you haven't even read some of the 3ds news stories have you?



grumblegrumble said:

OK. I have spent hundreds (!!) on DSiWare titles. If Nintendo does NOT allow us to transfer the games to another machine, then I will NOT be a loyal Nintendo fanatic. Instead, I will be an annoyed ex-Nintendo fan boy, and I will probably switch to my iPod Touch (app store), which Nintendo does NOT see as a threat, but the iPod Touch/iPhone ties all content to your account. Nintendo needs to wake up and keep its fans happy!! If it weren't for us, there would be no Nintendo.



Phobos said:

I dinnae really care, t'be honest. Just out with it, man. Out with the 3DS!



emiru69 said:

I just want to know the reason. I know they are different systems and everything but if I can see a list of the last 300 downloads from my ps3 to my psp, I just don't understand why I can transfer my downloads from the DSi to the new 3DS. They have the list! It shows if you log in onto Club Nintendo. I put a lot of money on the DSiWare and I really want to you play that on the new 3DS without having to pay again.



Morpheel said:

i cant join club nintendo just because i live a few miles below the borderline...

Lets hope they start using accounts for the download content with the 3DS at the very least...



Rerun said:

Something far fetched and maybe even a little backward would be for Nintendo to send you a cart/disc with your content (DSiWare/WiiWare/Virtual Console) in it. With an added charge of course. IMHO, I would prefer that. It may not be applicable but I play Magic The Gathering online and it's nice how they can send you HARDCOPIES of the card if you want. It does get deleted from your Virtual Account after they've sent it though. But I would rather have the real thing than a Virtual Copy



Hokori said:

I really want it to be transferable because i like having all my games on one system well two Wii and DS(3DS)



triforceofcourage said:

anything nintendo could possibly to to transfer dsiware games would make it possible for anyone you want to to get all those games for free! that would basicly shut down dsiware because people would just go to their freinds and get free games! any account based thing would make that possible. the only option i can see is keeping both, although thats probably not what ill do. im just going to stop buying dsishop games until i get a 3DS. that way until then i will play out my dsiware games so they are booring and i dont really want them anymore. gamestop will give me extra trade in value anyway. im only going to keep my dsi if 3DS reveiws tell me playing non 3D games on it is annoying because of the bigger top screen. but what about wii? ive got zelda games on it that im not looking forward to throwing away when i upgrade to wii2. nintendo couldnt do anything to solve this while preventing piracy short of asking for your social security number.

that might actually work but it wouldnt be free and it would take a LONG time for nintendo to process everyones games.

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