News Article

Talking Point: Should Nintendo Have Made the 3DS Download-only?

Posted by Damien McFerran

By sticking with physical media as the primary form of software delivery, Nintendo may have handicapped its new handheld challenger

Earlier this year, Sony finally closed the book on the PSPgo, the company's ill-fated attempt at releasing a console based entirely on the concept of digital media.

Although Sony's failure was the subject of much mirth within the industry, it's quite possible that the PSPgo will prove to be a machine that was ahead of its time. Indeed, there are many that think that Nintendo made a big mistake in making the 3DS a predominately cartridge-based system.

When you think about it, the notion of a portable device needing physical media is as outdated as an MP3 player stipulating that you carry around a bag full of CDs at all times. Cartridges are a throwback to the days of old, when 16 megabits was considered to be a massive amount of memory and there were no practical means of storing software other than on bulky, expensive carts. In terms of a portable device, the very idea of carrying around these chunks of plastic — no matter how small — is an undeniable inconvenience.

Although many will point at the aforementioned PSPgo as proof that physical media still has a place in this world, the astonishing success of the iPhone and iPod Touch says otherwise.

Apple's devices have created a generation of gamers that no longer believe that they should pay high prices for their software, and see the idea of purchasing physical carts as something of an anachronism. Although Nintendo is typically keen to stress that the 3DS is offering something that the iPhone cannot (and the company has a point), it's clear that the two formats are in direct competition with one another.

Before you misunderstand our stance, let it be known that we at Nintendo Life love the humble cartridge: many of our staffers are hardcore collectors of coveted retro gaming relics, and few things in the gaming world can approach the sheer beauty of a boxed Japanese Mega Drive game or a freshly-opened SNES title. Human nature encourages us to collect and hoard physical items, and we can assure you that here at Nintendo Life we horde with the best of them; Corbie's retro collection alone is worth more than the gross national product of many Eastern European countries.

However, it's impossible to ignore that the industry is slowly but surely abandoning physical media in favour of digital downloads. Every major console — be it domestic or portable — now boasts its own download service, and in the case of the DS, we've already seen some amazing titles on the DSiWare portal — titles that offer just as much enjoyment and entertainment as their physical counterparts.

As well as being a far more convenient way of playing games on the go (no carts means nothing to carry around and potentially lose), downloadable games tend to be priced better.

While no one wants to see the 'rush to the bottom' that has occurred with iPhone game pricing, downloadable games on a portable device could be sold for much less than physical ones. With no packaging to produce and no distribution channel to maintain, developers and publishers can pass on the savings to the customer. Rather than harming the industry, that would actually aid it — cheaper games means people simply buy more of them.

Of course, the 3DS has the ability to play downloadable content via its forthcoming 3DSWare channel, which means the console effectively offers the best of both worlds — digital and physical. However, if the puny 2GB SD card that comes bundled with the 3DS is anything to go by, Nintendo's aspirations for its digital download service would appear to remain at a similar level to DSiWare: in a word, modest. The file size of games will surely continue to be limited by Nintendo, and in an era when some iOS and Android titles can clock in at well over 300MB, such a policy seems counter-productive.

Physical media will continue to be Nintendo's bedrock for this generation, at least. Whether or not that will prove to be a smart move remains to be seen, but we can't help but feel that a chance has been missed to halt Apple's advancement and win back a generation of players that have discarded their DS consoles for iPod Touches. Just like the CD, cartridges are running on borrowed time.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Is a game better purely because it comes on a cartridge? Do you think that games are better when they come packaged with artwork and instructions, or would you rather have cheaper titles and be able to buy more of them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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User Comments (162)



daznsaz said:

i love that cartridges are still around liked that they still used them on 64 when others used cd with the 3ds there doing both though not just cart not bothered what phones are doing one thing i dont like is having to download a patch to maybe fix a game or pay extra to get more levels seems like a rip off to me saying that though main game shops prices for 3ds games are way to high but im used to cartridge its where i started so love it personally



KDR_11k said:

No. Physical media are mandatory in today's world. As Iwata said, customers do not want download-only devices. They may in 10 years, nobody can say that but today, no. A hardcore gamer may be happy with download-only games but the vast majority of people don't want to pay 45€ without getting a physical medium in exchange. If 3DS games were like 1-2€ a piece, sure, that would work but it would be totally incompatible with Nintendo. The pricing of games is because they can charge that much, not because they have to. Movie DVDs can sell for 6€ a piece.



Usagi-san said:

I don't think the savings would be passed on to the consumer. All I can see this doing is oversaturating things with crummy games because they're cheaper to make. Mobile games cost next to nothing and they're mostly trash.



edhe said:

First, games will become download only (the game companies will have finally defeated the secondhand/game retailer industry), then they'll start imposing DRM such that you'll need to log on to a network to play your own games.

And we've all seen how secure networks can be over the past few weeks.

Sure, piracy will be curbed, but this will be a defining moment in consumer rights in the games industry, and I hope we won't be punished further with premium prices.



MadScientistMan said:

No, What if people don't have wifi, the 3ds would be useless to them, there would be no backwards compatibility and many people will have to waste a lot of money on huge Sd cards, it failed once, it probaly will ifhappes again



GameLord08 said:

Heck to the flipping no. In my life, the only things I've ever used are catridges. I can't imagine digital media staying afloat in this world - an asurd number of technical problems would suffice, to say the least. That means it could eventually affect the whole system, just because it's not played from auxillary storage. Physical media is just compulsory in this world for consoles; just because one brand device seems successful in it doesn't mean we should already approach the 'new revolution' or whatever you'd like to tag it as.

Like one said, Apple appeals to mobile gamers. Their products are digitally distributed; why? Because it was a mobile to start with. Mainstream gaming excludes mobiles, so they don't even need any physical media anyhow. This digital thingamajig just wouldn't be enough for mainstream console gamers. Our network infrastructure would collapse, and especially online gaming. No backwards compatibility, and even if we could transfer, that is just too much hassle. Business would die for sure.

Just to say, I didn't even know the PSPGo went for digital media distribution. Shows how Nintendo fangirl-ish I am - I don't pay attention.



honza said:

While I see the success of iOS downloadable games, I also see these games are mostly of small size. The big titles for 3DS are enormous in size, e.g. Samurai Warriors: Chronicle is 2GB. Is there a single iOS game of that size? I doubt that. Can you imagine how long would you donwload it? At the end people would have several SD cards with their games and carry them around, just like with today cartridges.

Of course, on the other hand titles like Super Monkey Ball or Steel Diver are perfect candidates for download service. So I think, cartridges still have their place, of course it should be more considdered, whether a particular title is good for traditional retail shops.



3DS said:

im getting a 3ds but i will still play on my ipod touch nothing can make me give up my ipod



Expa0 said:

Hell no! You can no longer buy games used (By which I mean at a sane price) when they're download only, and besides it feels much better to own a physical product instead of just data, might as well start pirating games as you get the exact same thing that way. When games move to full download I'm going stop playing new systems and move onto Retro systems full-time.



SigourneyBeaver said:

The 3DS games I've played have significant load times for carts, so I think the advantage of having them isn't there now. My local game shops have slashed the price of most 3DS games in half or less, so it's obviously not doing great. Maybe it needed something more than 3D to make it sell.



Portista said:

I actually like the idea of having a physical game cartridge. But I also like downloadable content. Maybe they should do both.



Rensch said:

I don't think technology is far enough to make a game like OoT easy and quick enough to download, without the unit becoming very expensive. You cannot compare such games with a simple-yet-fun title like Angry Birds.

But, and I am sorry if I'm one of those green eco-whiners, I really hope to see downloads becoming the only way to get new games within a few years. It will save manufacturing and packaging costs, and there won't be any need to cut down anymore trees. Cheaper for manufacturers, costumers and better for the planet.



DarkKirby said:

I like having a physical product. Not a fan of purchasing something for a lot of money that's just data. On top of that it means I can use it on multiple device. If a cloud system was used, my physical product would still work if the cloud service were to go down. In the end data only products give more control to the seller and less control to the consumer.



Linkstrikesback said:

The consumer loses out heavily in download only services, in my opinion.

Without retail, theres no price wars leading to lower prices, theres no preorder bonuses giving out cool extras, theres no need to drop prices because nintendo would be the only people able to decide what anything is worth (and nintendo is a real hardass on price dropping stuff, last thing we need is them deciding it for every game on the console, its bad enough that Mario kart DS is still nearly full RRP, we don't need everything like that), for a start.



SanderEvers said:

Simple: NO.

It's the mistake Sony made with their PSPgo. Like now the PSN Store is still closed after the attacks.



dizzy_boy said:

if games bacame digital download only, what will happen to the devoted games shops that sell them?
second hand stuff will only last for so long if they`re constantly being used and passed around. so that side of the business will slowly die off. none of my local games shops sell any of the older catridge based games or consoles anymore, even my own nes fails on me quite regularly nowadays.
the disk based consoles will eventually have troubles too, because the disk drives will eventually break if in constant use, those small parts can only sustain so much wear and tear. and the disk as many will now, get scratched beyond use with excessive play time.
so what will games shops sell if games become digital media only, just consoles?
i am worried if this actually happens.



Weblaus said:

"While no one wants to see the 'rush to the bottom' that has occurred with iPhone game pricing, downloadable games on a portable device could be sold for much less than physical ones. With no packaging to produce and no distribution channel to maintain, developers and publishers can pass on the savings to the customer."

If you honestly believe that would be the case, you're pretty gullible, sorry.It's much more likely companies would try to squeeze out even more money from us.

Why do I believe that? It's quite simple: Just take a look at the current pricing of digital downloads of disc-based games for PSP and Xbox 360. On day-and-date releases, the downloads are usually at least the same price or slighty more. With slightly older games it gets even worse as you can very often pick them up rediculously cheap (not just uses, even new) especially in the UK, but the download versions mostly stay on a high price-level.

Just take a look at the current 'deal of the week' from Microsoft: Halo Reach this week costs 'only' 39 Euros as a download instead of the usual 69 Euros...

As for Nintendo, they wouldn't be any different anyway. A company that takes a planned DSiWare game (Steel Diver), doesn't really add much to it and then sells it at 8 times (at least) the price as a full 3DS game isn't looking to save its customers any money.



Tails said:

Having a cartridge i believe is just the nostalgia of being a gamer. Yes they are nice to have for collecting and as well as playing. But anyone can download a game off the internet. Having a actual game cartridge i believe is still going to be the true way to go for still a while longer. Yes we will eventually have everything downloadable, But I still think It's going to be still awhile longer before it happens.



RyuZebian said:

Well, I download games from Steam all the time, and I'm pretty happy with that! Lots of good deals... But paying full price without getting a packaging, manual or other stuff? Noooo waaaayy!!! Keep the pricerange within my Steam-budget-limits (maximum 15 €/game) and I'll consider it.



y2josh said:

When the world ends there will be three things left standing. Cockroaches, Cher and video game cartridges.



shinobi88 said:

One of the best things about gaming is the collectibility. The box art, the manual, the cart or disk. Box art actually affects if I want to buy a game. And that's why major companies invest a lot of time and resources into making collectors editions. A handheld that is download only loses almost all of its collectibility. Plus, moms are the 2nd biggest video game buyer behind gamers. And they only buy actual boxes not little credit card looking things that says it has a game in it. 3DS sales would be cut in half over its lifespan if it was download only



IanUniacke said:

This argument is missing an incredibly important point. A 3ds cartridge can ostensibly hold up to 32 gigabytes of information...that's almost as much as a blueray. Would it even be feasible to have something like this on a download service? I think it would be pretty limiting to the 3ds which is trying to be at the forefront of entertainment to be restricted to 1 gigabyte download. Don't get me wrong I have an iPod too...but it gives a certain type of entertainment. I'm glad that nintendo have both in their device.



Roltron said:

I have both a DSi, and an iPod touch. I really like both. Downloading games is easy and cheap, but sometimes they can be pretty short. I also have the problem of storage. I only have 8 gigabytes (You can upgrade to bigger space) and sometimes I scramble to make sure I have space for my apps. I do like iTunes in that if my older brother or my dad buys an app and I like it I can put it on my iPod for free. I don't have to rebut some if my iPod breaks or I get a new one. Some games can be pretty big and don't take more than 20 minutes. I downloaded Infinity Blade and it's a little over 800 megabytes.
I like physical cartridges in that I don't have to worry about space. I don't mind lugging around a few cartridges. It's not like I'm carrying N64 cartridges with me. I was excited about the DSiWare when I first heard about it, but I never go on it because most of the games are crap. You need good developers. The DS already gets a ton of shovelware and the Ware's will be full of them because NOW it's super cheap for development. With physical games they might put more work in something that'll cost them more to make. Anyways, I think digital media is going to dominate. No matter what you grew up with. I grew up with and N64 and SNES and I think digital is good. Technology is almost there where it's going to be better for downloadable games.



Stine said:

I love the way the regular PSP does it. With the majority of the games, you have the option of either downloading them or buying the physical cartridges. In 2011, I think that's the best solution.



Slapshot said:

Great read Damo!

One thing that has been really picked up in the comments yet, and I'd like to add is that Nintendo doesn't want to offer 'sales' for their digital downloads. Ever site that offers them has extensive sales on games daily/weekly, but what does Nintendo do? The same as their 1st party retail, refuse to drop prices! (yes, I know a few games just finally got a drop)

I saw Mario Kart DS Used yesterday for $34.99! I'm willing to bet that if the game was available for digital download today, it would be the same price still too, and it just simply isn't worth it. I don't like the $40 price for 3DS games, especially when most of the titles available aren't worth the money and I definitely wouldn't pay that for a download.

If Nintendo goes into the digital download world, they have to get their pricing right! If not, they will be severely hurt as a company. Why would anyone pay $40 for a download of many of these casual Nintendo hits, when for much less than can land massive blockbuster hits like Mass Effect, Shadow Complex, etc for $10-$20?



mikejonesuk said:

"Apple's devices have created a generation of gamers that no longer believe that they should pay high prices for their software, and see the idea of purchasing physical carts as something of an anarchism."

Anarchism? Really? A political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy?

Don't you mean anachronism?



warioswoods said:

No. Some of us may be digitally oriented and fine with online services, but a good portion of Nintendo's customers are most certainly not. That includes parents who still want to buy their children a specific gift with specific games rather than a device they don't understand and a voucher to download who-knows-what.



WaveGhoul said:

I love having physical copies of my games and movies....It brings me to tears that Mega Man 9 alone wasn't sold as a cheap retail Wii game.

Screw Digital and keep it Physical.



J-Forest-Esq said:

I like to think of physical media as the main course, while downloadable games are an accompaniment or side dish. Anyone that's eaten at Nando's will know what I'm talking about.



TKOWL said:

No, no, and no.

And btw, don't count the Ipod as a gaming system. Nothing on there will keep your interest for more than 5 minutes.



Link79 said:

I may be living in the dark ages but I don't even own an iPod or iPhone.
I like to play videogames on an actual videogame system.
There's no reason they can't have both physical and digital media.



theblackdragon said:

After the example the PSP GO set, they'd'a been crazy to go download-only... it's too soon, and the idea would never have made it past Nintendo's shareholders, I'm sure, let alone their bigwig idea-guys. The day of downloadables-only may be coming eventually, but it's not here quite yet.



ToastyYogurt said:

I would love to someday open up my Nintendo Whatchmacallit and be able to select any game without having to insert cartridges. However I think the handheld market isn't quite ready for total digital distribution. I love my iPhone (I'm actually typing on it now) and it has some pretty good games, but if I want to play a Mario or Pokemon equivalent on it, the App Store doesn't have much of a selection. That's because deep games need more memory, and you have a limited supply. If an iOS developer wants to make a game as long and deep as a typical
DS game, his game would be as big as one GB and nobody is going to keep a huge game on their device for a while if it's restricting how many apps the user can hold. I deleted 2 apps from my iPhone that were nice, but took a lot of memory that I wanted back. If Nintendo does go cartridgeless, they should make a entirely new portable. The biggest of the PSP Go's downfalls was that because it didn't have a game slot, PSP owners wouldn't be able to play their old games without buying them again. There is room for an entirely digital game store on PCs and Consoles (Except Wii, of course) due to their massive memory storage. Steam has proved to be very popular and even I use it. XBox 360 and PS3 offer full games on their stores (I think?). This all works because hardrives can store a ton of memory, with harddrives going up to 2 TB (that's 2,000 GB!) and will probably go above and beyond in the future. When flash memory becomes smaller and more affordable, and Nintendo is actually willing to put more memory in their products (Really, Nintendo? Why bundle the 3DS with a 2GB SD Card when you could have put that memory inside the machine?), maybe we will see a time when cartridges no longer exist and everything is a digital download.



madgear said:

Paying for digital content doesn't work - it's making money at the moment but piracy is becoming more and more common. The reason it doesn't work is times have changed and digital content is freely available everywhere - it has simply lost its value. At the moment companies are trying to keep the prices of games, films and music the same as when they came on physical media, which is just hurting things further. These versions also have restrictive DRM - people wonder why they should pay so much for such limiting software when they can get it for free.

I'm not condoning piracy and I don't have a solution to the problem, but I think things will just change gradually. The best answer I can come up with is offer software dirt cheap and with no restrictions as I reckon people will pay for it then. Basically consumers determine what the value of something should be, not the companies - if it's too much then people won't buy it, just as they're doing with digital media now. The advantage of cartridges and discs is at least people know they're owning something and it gives their purchase some value.



Dodger said:

I don't think we are ready for download only yet. I haven't seen a download service that isn't just short games good for playing on the toilet yet. It's not that you can't have longer games on a download service, it's that why should you if people expect to only pay $2 for a game. I don't blame parents for buying their kids Itouches instead of DSes. The system is cheaper then the DSi or 3DS and the games are way cheaper.

Thing is, let's take a good Nintendo DS game. I'm thinking. How about Bowser's Inside Story. I've played through that once, about 27 hours. I'm playing through it again and I'm about at 17 hours. That's 44 hours I've managed to spend on one really great game. Way better then a lot of $2 games. I have to agree with Reggie that some of them are overpriced at $2. I haven't seen a download shop that offers games like that. Until I have, I don't really want a download only system.

But as far as the size of a cartridge, it's not that hard to take a game case like the one that comes in a clean/protect kit and keep that and a 3DS in one pocket. I've done that since I got my DSi.

I understand the appeal behind a download only system, but I don't think we are ready yet.



NintyMan said:

No. With the PSN fiasco as a prime example, a download-only system would be jeopardized if it was okay on one day and then the next day utterly collapse. That kind of risk is why it concerns me how everything we do on a regular basis today is slowly but surely being converted to cyberspace. Music, movies, books, video games, and even money are getting digitalized. With a cartridge, I won't have to worry about it messing up unless it came into contact with a damaging substance or fire, and that would be my fault. A network crashing would be the fault of the company or hackers and not my own. Dependency has its risks.



Chris720 said:

If it's done like, for example, Stream, then it could be quite good. But I wouldn't want to be losing my little game cards.

I guess it comes down to personal preference, I kind of like the idea as long as its done properly, but I'd still want my physical gaming card/disc.



triforceofcourage said:

People witout wi-fi are unable to use it...
I think that with dwnloadable games, you can't really make them as high queality because of the space limit. Buying all the memory needed to store enough games would count for the money saved by donloading. Cartrages work well for me, and I like the ability to share games with friends. Gamestop wouldn't be happy with downloadable only games... And when I'm tired of a game and really don't want it anymore I can trade it back to gamestop and It'll help pay for another game. Therefore, cost isn't really better. (for me anyways)
You would still need SD cards to store all your games, so essentially you could be carrying carts anyways.
We've all seen the (80%) shovelware pilled into dsiware, so why make those the only games we can buy?

What Nintendo has going is good. Primarily carts, but downloadable games too. I think it should stay the way it is.



Squashie said:

I love Nintendo's download services, my dsi is crammed full with dsiware and my wii too but I still love going out to buy a cart. Its just that feeling of getting a new cart game.



Hardy83 said:

No, but not because I don't think it would work, it COULD work.
I don't want it because I have no faith in Nintendo doing it right. They can do retail physical right (for most of their games), but they have yet to do anything online right. That's why I say no.



RedYoshi999 said:

I like both. I don't want consoles to go one way or the other. I like to have physical games with boxes and manuals and a lot more space but I like cheaper, downloadable, instantly ready to play games too.



multiplayermadness93 said:

vonseux- i know ! i dont have wi- fi so whenever i want to play on line or download something i have to go to my freinds house!



Moco_Loco said:

I still like the compromise of having plenty of memory on the system and giving consumers the option to buy their games retail or download. The one thing that companies are being slow about is passing the savings on to consumers, completely failing to realize that the appeal of download-only lies in the lower price.

Personally, I'm starting to actually prefer gaming on my Droid to gaming on my DS. I'm learning to adapt to onscreen buttons and the games provide the quick bursts of fun I'm looking for on the go. A few games, such as Game Dev Story, completely suck me in the way the deeper cartridge games do but at a MUCH lower price. When I'm ready for Mario or Zelda, I have a Wii. I don't NEED to have every iteration of those franchises to have fun, which is ultimately all I care about.

My students have a lot of electronic devices. Mostly phones, but I also have to tell students to put away a LOT of iPod Touches. I can count on my hands the number of DS and 3DS devices combined that I've seen in my classroom in the past few years. I think the 3DS may eventually take off, but only with better software AND better hardware; not to mention a lower price. And if it doesn't take off, that will be Nintendo's cue to adapt to a changing marketplace and change what it does.



DarkEdi said:

I don´t know why people insist in the online. A lot of people can´t connect their consoles online. Only because a part of usa use it doesn´t mean all world is connected. I like both worlds but an only online console is a dead console.



Hokori said:

NO! DL only is awful I want to play DS and 3DS games and dont have to rebuy them, and I want to be able to play all my games on 2 systems

Wii Successor/3DS and so on in the future



HandheldGuru97 said:

No. When the World goes download only it will be the day that I stop buying new video games and go back to the retro catalog. Also some people may not have any Wi-fi thus the Machine is useless unless the have some they know who has Wi-fi. The world will unfortunately go download only, but its to soon to think about it. Also half the games on the App Store are really small bite sized games, sure you have a few big one but most can be enjoyed in a 5 minute time frame.



kingeo said:

They will still cut the same amount of trees and plastic for using in the endless amount of newspapers crap,500 pages of fashion magazines and all kind of magazines which you can read in the internet and don't throw it away in the trash and pollute the environment as soon as you read them unlike the games.
Hasn't anyone see the prices of the psp games of the ps store and the retails? REALLY? Do you want to pay 40£ for every single game without the option to resale it or trade it? Unless if the put the games for 0.99-3£ as the Iphone not 39.99£
Mobile phones and dedicate gaming machines are not the same thing



suburban_sensei said:

When it comes to handhelds, I actually do like the physical media. Since there isn't much memory on the 3DS, download-only would require a lot of storage. I know I recently bought an Xbox 360 Slim, and it has a 250 gb hdd, so it is rather convenient to just download a game "on demand" on XBL since it takes like maybe 5 gigs of space (nothing to a hdd so big). Nintendo should maybe look into that in the next handheld, but also have a slot to play games from previous generations.



Odnetnin said:

My five favorite games of all time are downloadable and I got them for $10 or less. That's amazing and mind-blowing to me. Having said that, in no way do I think it is time for physical media to go the way of the dodo.

They each have their place: downloads often for the smaller, cheaper, riskier, and more creative games that break the mold and take gaming new, more artful places; and retail mostly for the large, big-budget, premium-priced blockbusters that provide cutting edge tech and maximum entertainment.



Glade said:

A mix of both is what I desire... Still Cartridges are for the premium games.. actually worth more than $20... but yeah... I will happily fork over $1-2 for megaman legends 3 prototype version any time on an online service.
For download only the world needs to be developed more first... Not everybody has access to online and not everybody is able to acquire high speed internet....



NESguy94 said:

Nintendo did the right thing, cartridges are a must right now, I think Nintendo would do well to lower the price of games and/or the system!



aaronsullivan said:

I've got concrete points but here's my emotional response first: Most of you guys are too old for your age. Set in your ways, already!? Sounds like a bunch of old folks irrationally clinging to that black and white analog TV because it has worked for so long.

What do I like about the download system? All the games with me all the time, forgot to bring it with me? Find a wifi spot. Re-download. Who cares about pre-orders and finding a store with stock. No limit to stock with downloads. You can't lose your game. Bag with DS/3DS in it stolen/broken/burned? Games are still yours. Sales still happen all the time and everyone is in the same store so there is more price competition. (There's a sale going on right now in App Store because of Memorial Day weekend in the US.) Much less waste.

The price issue and the quality/depth issue is easily overcome. Square asks $17 for it's Final Fantasy III remake on the App Store. Despite all the expectation of low prices for apps, EA and Square have shown that people will pay for a well known IP and a quality game.

Storage prices are an issue (for those who don't want to re-download). Downloading large games is a smaller issue that could be overcome in many ways. Trading/reselling is an issue. Sharing hasn't been much of an issue on the iPhone/iPad because you are able to share games across 5 devices with one account. Works great for families and anyone willing to share an account, but I doubt Nintendo would be brave enough to go for something like that.

All that said, I don't think Nintendo could have pulled it off in time for the 3DS. It was expensive enough before a need to add more flash storage, but more importantly, Nintendo just hasn't figured out the online thing yet. It seems afraid of its own download services and Nintendo just needs more time to gain experience and feel comfortable with the major decisions it would have to make in order to have a successful transition to an all-download sales model.

As enticing as 3DS was — and I know it will be tougher when new games come — it's just not worth the money to me. I'll be all over the new home console, but I just can't justify a 3DS when we have iPhones and iPads. When my hands are cramped around a small gaming device and I'm craning and shifting to see the screen, unable to share my experience with anyone, I guess I don't want long involved games.



CerealKiller062 said:

I cannot begin to tell you guys how many steam accounts I have lost upon switching to a new computer. Digital media is all fine and dandy but alot of the heavier, bigger games, do take long download times. And then you forget your password due to long intrevals of not using it. Besides that you can never let a bud borrow a game without borrowing your pc, or in this case 3ds. Physical media is always ganna be appreciated. Atleast by me.

One more thing
You call us old because we stick to cartridges like old people to black and white tv's. (Which rarly happens unless they are colour blind.) But you are stuck in the Ipod touch generation. because even with in depth games, apple doesn't let you link too many ipods to one account. This will never be good way to let people borrow your stuff, by linking your account to theirs. They recieve everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, including credit card info. Sure password protect works but with enough time they will figure it out. The ipod lifestyle is not cut out for serius gaming due to it's lack of buttons too. Nintendo did well to do everything it has. Sure Nintendo hasn't figured online just yet but they leave it up to the experienced game makers to set it up themeselves. All in all, I think you seem like a child that asks for everything that has barley come out, and also loans out money to freinds without knowing the worth of a dollar. No offense, if it has then I shall remove the comment.



Xkhaoz said:

No, ot really. But I'm hoping that the eShop will have enough variety that it'll seem like it's download only. Maybe it'll do what the PSP did, with having full games available for download as well of having the option for a physical copy.



Blaze said:

No - for all the reasons people with the same thoughts have. Plus the fact that would just bring a load of crummy Apple users to Nintendo, and i honestly don't think it's possible for Ocarina of Time and the like to be downloaded, it would just force Nintendo to be like Apple, to put it lightly, making games that last you about ten minutes and are awful.

If Nintendo became Download only, they'd lose many customers (including me), be copying Apple (i doubt they'd sink that low), and i love physical carts. Sure i'd love stuff cheaper, but i don't think you can get quality for a price as low as £0.99



DarkLloyd said:

as much as i love the physical stuff and would prefer it that way however if the time does eventually come for a digital only future then so be it, it would be good for the enviroment and less polluting and more chances of saving what left this planet has to sustain life

you guys need to think about this kind of thing instead of your own wants, its people like them that bring this planet down with more products physically bought ish



bezerker99 said:

I, personally, adore my cartridge collection. Gaming, especially on the NES and SNES, were a big part of my childhood. Just physically looking at my old carts ALWAYS brings back an awesome memory or two.

Many of my carts I have on display on shelves in my apartment (along with CD's, books, and old VHS tapes). A lot of times when I have friends over, many will glance through these ancient relecs and begin to tell me a story or two about a game they remember playing while growing up. Man, those conversations are priceless! They are something that would never occur had all my games been stored on a gaming hard drive hidden far from the eyes of my cool peoples.

I feel the exact same way about my vinyl record collection. Sure, I have every album on iTunes - perfect versions with no skipping, blips, or white noise...but those things are what gives it it's retro feeling.

Retro things provide an atmosphere that today's technology cannot emulate. It's convenient to have all your games in one centralized location, I agree - but "retro" always gets the crown for "cool" everytime!

Don't believe me? Get some candles burnin' and the HiFi spinnin' next time you have your sezzi lady-friend over and tell me she doesn't dig it?!?!?!



ForteAnly said:

I think its funny how its mostly hardcore nintendo fanboys who refuse to give up cartridges. I grew up with Nintendo as well just like anyone and cartridges were everywhere and I love them but at the same time its ridiculous paying so much for some games. Its funny how people complain about the games that are on the ipod saying they are garbage. Well genius what do you expect it cost like a buck for some of those games. You can't really compare a dollar game to a game like Zelda. A game could still be entertaining and cheap at the same time. Nintendo is a great innovator and developer they could produce very stellar items without a cartridge or DVD but Nintendo does not want to sell a Zelda game for under 10 bucks. I agree the 3DS is not the best console for adapting to download only since its backward compatible but for future portable consoles it would not be a bad idea. Eventually Nintendo will release a portable console that will not be backward compatible when that time happens I think download-only would not be a bad idea for Nintendo to adapt as some people here think. Only time will tell I guess.



Colors said:

If Nintendo switched to no physical media, I'd stop buying any of their consoles or games. And this coming from a hardcore Nintendo fan.



blink83 said:

Yes freaking yes. That would be the smartest thing nintendo could ever do. I love my virtual copies, the way it save storage space, they don't break or anything like that, and they're just perfect. I'm sure everyone here agrees with me that DL only copies are the way to go. Any other way is unthinkable. I mean come on it's the future, who wants to carry around a 100 came boxs with the games in them when you can just have the console, and do the phsyical copies rweally matter, thats a thing of the past and you all know it. you're getting the same game either way, it's just not taking up plastic and space in the world.



Yosher said:

Games can be equally good both on cartridge and as a downloadable title. Just look at the Virtual Console, the games on there are just as good as they were back in the day, so to speak (since not every game stood the test of time as well). The problem is that, in downloadable content, you're limited to the amount of storage space you have available, though that shouldn't have to be a big problem depending on how much space the company actually puts into the console.

However, many actually prefer having a physical product. You'll actually have the feeling of having bought something nice, and if you don't like the game after all it's easily sold, which you can't really do with downloaded games unless you sell the entire console. I personally don't sell many games though, so my reason for keeping the games coming on cartridges/discs/whatever, packed in boxes with booklets, is simply for having an actual physical collection available. I AM a collector after all, and having a digital collection is nice, but having something you can actually TOUCH is much better if you ask me.



Burning_Spear said:

Did we need to pay $500 for this thing so we could download games to memory? Are people really losing cartridges?



dizzy_boy said:

another thing that`s probably been mentioned before. what if you don`t like the game you`ve just downloaded?
you can`t head back to the download store and return it in exchange for some thing else.
i know review sites like this can be very influential in what can sway peoples judgement in what games they buy. but reviews are the opinion of the person reviewing that game. and because of this, sometimes i`ve bought games that were rated highly by others which i didn`t like. and i`m sure otherx have too.
if it comes to the point where downloads are the only way to play games on a console, i would hope that each and every game comes with a trial version of that game. whether it be just the first couple of levels or for a timed period of a few days.
i`m sure people can judge for themselves within the first 10 minutes if a game is suitable for them and worth purchasing.



Incognito_D said:

Interesting article. I like having a physical copy of my games because it feels more "solid". It can't ever be taken away from me. Unlike if my Wii was ever to break down all my VC and Wii Ware games would be lost forever.
However, for handheld gaming especially, being able to download and store games on the console itself is a massive advantage. After all, who wants to have to carry around 20 carts when they could all be stored on internal memory? Although I buy my DS games to support my favourite series, I do also own a flashcart - just because of the convenience that it brings whenever I want to take my DS anywhere. Why carry around all my games when they can all fit on a 2GB SD card?
Home gaming is another matter, but certainly for portable play I think digital downloads are the way forward.



Sylverstone said:

I considered the PSPgo as a handheld way ahead of its time, as Sony tried to ignite a digital download-only trend in handhelds, which failed because of how badly it was marketed, and also the costs.

50 dollars less than the PS3, many proprietary stuff and from what I've seen, very slow download speeds. I believe that retail and digital distribution should stay side by side in a handheld, like what the DSi attempted.

The PSPgo could've been great, if it was released in the future. The truth is that digital isn't the way to go just yet. Many things will be tried (OnLive, Steam etc.) but there won't be a clear-cut alternative to retail just yet.

As for the 3DS, no. Just no. It's horrendous to believe that people are losing their cartridges that easily. The DSi has shown us one thing — if Nintendo ever went full digital, it would've fallen dead flat. The DSi Shop was just that irritating. I just hope the eShop meets (or even exceeds) my expectations.



Link977 said:

I love to just have a collection of games that I can hold, plus I can lend them out, if my actual 3ds gets wrecked, I'll still have them and not have to worry about the software being untransferrable and I lose all my data due to having to re-download it. So basically, I love my cartridges.

Also @11

It depends where you are living, up where I live my local game stores are still selling for the retail price (around $40-$45) well... besides used games and Bust-a-Move Universe which is $30, but it's always been like that.



thaantman said:

I think that the fact that the 3ds stills uses cartages shows that it's still primary a game system. The reason the iphone & ipod touch games don't have physical cartages because they aren't gaming devices 1st their phones 1st. The reason the digital media failed for the psp go is simply because the psp was already out and alot of people owned 1, myself included. No one was gonna trade up their psp's if they already had a full library of games, because they couldn't play those games on the go, they would have to buy them all over again. Nintendo is video games at heart not phones not music players and I don't expect them to get rid of physical media anytime soon.



Advancedcaveman said:

Nintendo can't make the 3DS download only because there are a lot of people who don't have internet access at home. A lot of them don't have it at all, some just can't afford a fast connection, some people don't have access to decent internet connections at all in their area. A lot of people also cannot afford smartphones and/or they don't have access to the right provider coverage. That lack of access does not exclude people from wanting to play games.

Get over it. The game buying populace of the world is not exclusive to LA and Tokyo. I'm amazed by the fact that game journalists don't seem to understand that. Go drive around small towns in the Midwest and then ask why the 3DS isn't download only.



AltDotNerd said:

If any one can recall, that's why the PSPGo is failing. As others have commented, not everyone has access to the internet. Until they have global Wi-Fi (which would be incredible) no company should make a download only console.
Also, think of how much money retail stores would lose if no one bought games. I work at a Kroger store and our electronics dept. makes 4x the amount of every other dept.



castor said:

I think today's technology is not ready to make big games a downloadable stuff. With today's technology, there would be lots of issues... but in the future, if everything is downloadable and WiFi is up to everybody in planet, so then it'll be the best thing to download your games (actual SD cards are 8GB but in the future they'll be 8TB +). Hehe.



Dreufo said:

There are too many limitations to making download-only viable yet. The capability of being able to download at decent speeds and the limitation of storage while avoiding piracy is just too problematic. Having both options is ideal for now so we can have cheap 'toilet-games' for a quick download and play and in-depth cartridge based games we can collect or trade-in later.

I'm curious who needs to carry around 20 games at any one time? No wonder you're losing them and stepping on and breaking them?? If you were to have a library of games on your device that would take hours to download and a ton of on board memory forcing you to delete games and content that you've paid for! Ridiculous!!

That being said, the market will decide where it goes next. If the real money is from downloadable games then companies will find a way to pull us in and take our money and will charge more for games that have higher production costs. Then when we step on our phone and lose 20 games all at once we'll be glad for the change??



R-L-A-George said:

I think the carts are needed, because people are going to be tempted to use their credit card because they are "easy" but its been proven by Sony that that is not really safe even if its easy. Plus if theres a server hickup that erases your downloaded data from your account, chances are they may not be able to recover it.



zeeroid said:

What I find irreplaceable about physical media is that you actually take ownership of it. It's something of value that you possess. Sure, games typically rapidly depreciate in value, so you can't really ever consider it an investment, but if kept in good condition, it will always have some worth. When you have a purely digital service, then you don't really "own" anything. All it is is a license to play a game that you've purchased. Digital products may be good for the industry, and some people may find them convenient, but ultimately I feel they are worse for the consumer, because of what it takes away from them.



hamispink said:

The ngp, and the psp for the most part, have it right. offer most or all retail games as downloads along with the cheaper download only games, while still having retail games as an option.



LztheQuack said:

There are pros and cons to both, but I honestly prefer cartridges

@zeeroid: That is incorrect, you don't necessarily own the game, just that copy of it.



crazyj2312 said:

I see the appeal of downloads, but too many factors ruin it. Hackers, viruses, server malfunctions, and even blatant overpricing all turn me off to the idea of a download only console. The 3DS did the right thing by making online (eShop) an option and not mandatory.



theblackdragon said:

@lz: his point is that you own a physical copy of the game, which may be played at any time and disposed of however you prefer when you're done with it, as opposed to an intangible agreement that you can play the game code on your computer or device in question (which may be revoked at any time and for whatever reason, thus rendering said game code unplayable). there will always be someone to buy a cartridge from you, or you can give the cartridge as a gift, affording it some sense of real worth, but digital licenses can't be bought or traded away like that.



TheBaconator said:

I like physical games for three reasons:
1)You get a nice box, cover art, and manual
2)You can sell it when your done
3)You don't have to put your credit card number on the system and in the company's hands.



kdognumba1 said:

No, most people gamers don't like download only devices. Just think of all the people that refuse to get VC games and want the old systems with the actual games. On the flip side though there needs to be a good mix of both retail and downloadable like the xbox 360 which imo does it right.

Forcing online shopping is bad as even 10 years down the road, people will still want to buy things in a physical store however offering it as a secondary option is never a bad thing and will only help sales and customer appreciation for your product. However, unlike Wii and DSi the 3DS can use the SD cards as its internal memory, because of this there should be the ability to download full retail games online because some people (like me) have 32 gig cards in there system and if Im correct, theres much larger ones on the market now.



kurtasbestos said:

My company converts cassette tapes and vinyl records to digital formats. We have regular customers who haven't discovered that they could just buy a digital recorder instead of recording a tape and send it to us to digitize. You'd also be amazed at how many of our customers don't even know what a CD is (let alone all the old people who don't understand MP3s). Those of us who grew up with cartridges will probably be just as stubborn to give them up completely as any other format that people refuse to give up on. Then again... I sometimes get mad at myself for not playing a game I want to play because I'm too lazy to change cartridges/discs, when it would really only take a few seconds of effort.



MasterGraveheart said:

No, staying with cards was the right move for Nintendo. Large storage, little loading, and you can still have many games readily available at a time, much like with my pull-and-go folio. Yes, eventually all games will be digital, I think (God help the employes of game-only stores...), but right now, it isn't there as a viable option. Sure, the iTouch devices have their own little niche with toilet gamers (as in gamers who want something to do on the can), but when I wanna reach for a game in my hands, I'm reaching for my 3DS first. iTouch games just aren't as deep and the ones that are have an obscene price by comparison.




NO. It didn't work with the failed PSPGo so why would it work with the 3DS? Also there is the whole file size issue and costings associated with some of the top level games on the 3DS (or rather the future ones) and these would need to compete with the overrated trinket iOS systems. I'm sure its a human thing to want physical media in their hands tro give them that satisfaction of gaming. I'm just going to regurgitate the points above tbh and I'm willing to wager is an overwhelming NO.

The iPod touch is superb, but it is hands down outdone in quality and appeal for me when compared to the DSi and the 3DS IMHO. All things considered that is



Bass_X0 said:

I like physical games for three reasons:
1)You get a nice box, cover art, and manual
2)You can sell it when your done
3)You don't have to put your credit card number on the system and in the company's hands.

1) We look at the cover art once, look at the manual once then only touch the box when we want to get games out / put games back.

2) True. Plus we can buy games for cheaper than usual price. Downloadable games rarely come down in price.

3) I have nothing to fear putting my card details into Nintendo's WiiShop. And I'm okay with having my card details on my XBOX 360. What happened to the PS3 hasn't put me off. If you don't like it, just buy Nintendo Point cards.



danschemen said:

i think the physical games are still better. when sony first made the psp go it was horrible because you had to download all the games and couldn't play the older games without buying them again.



Bass_X0 said:

I think all PSP Go owners would have kept their original PSP to play those disc games. No need to download them all again.



CaPPa said:

I like the mix of physical and digital media. With my DSi it meant that I could have a bunch of pick up n' play digital games and a more involved deeper game on a cartridge. The 3DS will no doubt be the same as soon as the eShop launches.

A fully digital handheld/console would worry me because a network failure could potentially leave you with nothing to play, just like a PSPgo owner would currently not be able to obtain any new games due to the PSN store being down. I think that Sony have a lot of work to do at E3 as they need to placate people for the PSN problems and then sell them on the 'NGP/PSP2', which seems to be a portable device that totally relies on the PSN.



Funky_Gamer said:

I like the cartridge idea. I mean me and my bro can use the same cartridge without having to each buy our own copy from the download store. And when we get bored of the game, we can sell it and make our money off of it instead of let it digitally rot in our SD card.



Moco_Loco said:

I love how thoughtful all the opinions have been here. I think the best argument against digital-only is the lack of wireless internet in many parts of the world.

The second problem of course is the fact that you can lose your purchases if they are made unavailable. While I do prefer my Droid for on-the-go gaming, EA Mobile recently pulled a fast one, selling some of their titles for 99 cents at Christmas time and then pulling those versions of the games off the market shortly afterwards. The three titles I bought on sale are the only three games I wasn't able to get back when I had to get a replacement phone. While I do miss Need For Speed Shift, I refuse to buy it again--or any other app by EA Mobile. It's a perfect example of what some of you all are talking about. They walked off with my 3 bucks, but they lost a customer for life.



FriedSquid said:

I want the cartridges. I don't know why, but, it would just feel... empty without them. It seems like there would be something missing. I hope it doesn't come to download-only. :T



anthonyDotNet said:

Cartridges are used more likely for anti-piracy measures than anything else. People quickly forget what is involved when a game or any software for that matter is developed. Plus if you take a moment to really look at those 1 - 2 dollar games on download services, they are what they are, games worth 1 to 2 dollars. I'll gladly support first and all third party developers by paying for their software, no matter how it comes. Sure downloading a game from a service is great, but buying another like Dead or Alive: Dimensions is another. $40 can be pricey, but you're not going to find anything at 1 to 2 dollars that does what the other does.



JusticeColde said:

Nintendo is the rightest of right on carts.

As digital only media is a horrible idea as there can be many things that could go wrong including breakdowns and a full on system crash and many more (I should know, I broke one My mom's old phones with Tetris)

Basically My point is that physical media is always needed and that digital should just be a little side dish with that plate of chicken.



WaveGhoul said:

I don't own an Iphone or an I-pod either, I'm old school. Give me that portable cassette player baby! jk Anyways, I've got zero interest in playing any game on an IPhone, i wan't a phone to you know, actually 'talk' and that's it. Texting(depending), gaming and the internet on the go doesn't appeal to me.

I see so many kids and tweens these days with her heads tipped down, and eyes glued to their stupid IPhones, texting away to their friends and blah blah. It's so lame and annoying and it's one of my biggest pet peeves with these new generation of kids....Aside from all of this ghetto crap in the media, reality TV, Disney(terrible Kid pop-y sitcoms), CG-only animated flicks,horrible music and anything Call of Duty, Gears of War and GTA especially related. I tend to block all of that trash out anyways, but I love me some Pixar which is the only exception to CG films hehe. UP Was just fantastic.



cinnamon said:

A very interesting point about MP3 > CD argument however, there is something undeniably fascinating about physical media. A big advantage is that it holds memories and nostalgia that digital copies just can't. For example, most people nowadays definitely don't carry CDs around true, but, go yo their homes and you find CD collections. Same with DVDs. these things also hold value, you can SELL or trade these - sometimes at high value especially to collectors. I bought a Gameboy Colour Dragom Warrior III (dragon quest 3) cartridge for £50 - and I'm not rich, but I paid it as the physical media is something I cherish. Nintendo must know this and realise that such things ultimately add value to them - a physical object creates a tangible evolution of it's brand and it's legacy is far more potently displayed physically.

25 or whatever years later, people STILL cherish their Super Mario Bros cartridges - 24 years from now, they still will most likely. Do you think people will reminisce over Angry Birds? perhaps (whatever your opinions it has been a benchmark in the industry for it's impact alone) but what tangible link will there be I wonder? iPhones and smartphones will LONG have moved on and they certainly won't be kept by people (to an operational level) the way people do their old NES systems + games.

Even with music, look at LPs and vinyls - that's the lasting legacy of that generation and I just feel that games cannot be directly compared. Who knows how the Market and fans will absorb entertainment moving forward. The rate things are moving, I'm sure physical media will be less and less practical. I totally agree with your point being valid on that practical level - maybe the way forward is to allow people to transfer a digital version (kind of like owning a CD/DVD but we can ourselves move it onto mp3/mp4 players) of course that brings up the skeleton surrounding piracy but that is a plague affecting all digital media already. If technology and advancement in anti-piracy can be achieved (if ever!) then this idea could really be a win-win for collectors and also remain practical.

Who knows what the future holds, time will tell. As a gamer, I just want quality games and a memorable experience.




BulbasaurusRex said:

Not everyone has easy access to a wireless Internet connection at this time. If the 3DS only had digitally distributed software, then there would be a significant portion of the population who couldn't play any games on it outside of the preloaded software.



Noire said:

Why should we choose? So far, having both seems to work out pretty well.



komicturtle said:

Well, Miyamoto did say there aren't going to be restrictions on eShop and I believe he's referring to file size as that was the biggest issue with WiiWare so the whole "Appstore apps/games file size going over 300MB" is out of the question.

Should 3DS be digital only.

Hell to the no. Just as some brought up: options. Plus, 8GB cards will be out soon which equals potentially bigger games. I would say eShop's file size limit to be at least 1GB, 2GB most (as a prediction).

That's one of the biggest reasons why 3DS shouldn't be all digital from my point of view.

I also knowledge that most games don't even reach the limit but few developer's such as Square Enix with their Dragon Quest games love to have huge space to work with for their incredibly lengthy games.



SquirrelNuts said:

iPhone games suck. Sure, there is the once in a blue moon neat one. But by and large those games are weak sauce my man. Double weak sauce with no flavor added.



fishman100 said:

Very nice article.

and can I have that ace Attorney game in the first pic of the left column???



Wolfenstein83 said:

I am not totally against it, but I don't like the fact that I could download a game, turns out to be terrible, and I can't get my money/points back, or trade it for something else.
That is the kind of trial and error alot of us have had to deal with many times with WiiWare and the VC.
I mean, some games are obviously bad sometimes, and some are less obvious, and even despite a critical review, you might give it a try anyways, but that's what demo's are for and Nintendo is lacking in that dept.
They have some now, but not nearly enough, and I believe there should be a whole section just for demo's, so people don't get robbed out of points anymore.
So yeah, downloading is nice and convenient, and may also help keep the price of games low too, because there is no physical package or media to manufacture.
Even so, at this point in time, I am happy to buy actual copies of most games, even though it seems the trend of download only is probly the future.
What about collectors too?
Will all those rare and hard to find games become downloadable at some point?
Not to mention, all the cool promotional stuff like posters, etc.
Also, what about those people out there who still don't have an internet connection?
Well that's my two and a half cents.



AVahne said:

When portable gaming systems have at least 500 GB as a standard for internal memory, THEN we'll talk.



sylkirian said:

When we have free high speed internet service available everywhere, then that's considerable .



WesFX said:

Until Nintendo shows that they support limited time price drops of games on their existing downloadable games services, then I'm not excited about a download only system from Nintendo. All 4 of the 3DS games I own were bought new, but at less than full price thanks to sales and preorder credits. A download only format would allow them to sell 3DS games at a lower cost than the MSRP is now, but still make the same amount of profit per unit sold, sure, but would it be a full $10 drop for every game? I don't know, but it still remains that I wouldn't have bought one of the games I have at even $30.



jerryo said:

eventually that is how it is going to. digital download.
i am not sure if nintendo made a mistake, that depends on how their e-shop is going to be and how their relationships with developers will shape over time. But in any case 3DS like DSi offers options for both, downloadable and cartridge games so that is good.

I don't know or care what Iwata says, or more appropriately "believes" he has also said that people do not care about multiplayer or online connectivity during the classic DSDS lite days, and their strategy unfortunately STILL reflects this. Even DSi and 3DS offer very little for online connectivity and too restricted compared to what phones or other devices offer for example. Lets hope they do an 180 on the 6th, but it is highly unlikely. Having a browser is not enough. Pictochat was stupid because it was offline. THEY SHOULD make pictochat online for your confirmed friends and enable voip.

Anyway back to the games,
for collectors there will be limited numbered editions like what capcom does for the 1000 umbrella cases you can receive for pre-ordering Mercenaries.

for those thinking that they don't own a smartphone and they enjoy being like that.(i am one of you too) well that is great and respectable choice but.. look around you. and if you were a company look at the sales of digital distribution versus physical.

finally i do not like the cartridges that much.they're ok as long as they have a great game inside but i hate having my pockets full with them i would prefer to download most games and have a collector's edition version for the games that i REALLY like on cartridge as a badge of honour



ecco6t9 said:

Considering I already sold back Steel Diver and Dream Trigger, I at least got something back on the $40 purchases.

Meanwhile if I delete a $6 app, I lose it for nothing.

Nothing is more annoying than having a 300MB App, Broken Sword and have it have several updates. 300MB updates are insane on Wifi.

Lastly being download only encourages too much lazy development since games can be patched like testers no longer have a purpose at development studios.



StarDust4Ever said:

I've got an NES and a bunch of carts that are over 25 years old. Playing a title on the Wii's virtual console service is simply not the same as cramming an old 25+ year-old cart into a 25+ year-old system. I believe physical media and downloads should both be made available. The publisher should weigh the pros and cons to decide which route to take. Yes, cartridges/discs are an inconvenience to some, but a jackpot for longevity. There will still be a second hand market for stuff like Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3DS twenty years from now, when Nintendo are releasing the Wii 5. As long as we have DRM to contend with, digital downloads will die into obscurity once support for the old systems is discontinued. Pirated ROMs and emulation will probably be the only possible means by which to access the games in the future.

The 3DS has three big strikes currently against it:
1 - Price. While this proved no obstacle for early adopters leading to record sales, the majority of DS sales cornered the kiddies market, and as such, the 3DS's nearly-twice-as-large price tag begs frugal parents to pass it up.
2 - Lack of good games. There will be plenty of great releases in upcoming months. The Wii's launch titles were just as bad.
3 - Lack of online. This will be fixed as of June 6th. Expect some radically awesome announcements ar E3.



Chrono_Cross said:

1- Who really cares about something that didn't happen?
2- Why am I on this site?
3- Why is my name Chrono_Cross?
4- You dont understand.
5- lolwut?



moosa said:

Download only consoles are a sign of the world's last days.
Physically owning a copy of a game is better. It's the difference between owning something and owning the "rights" to download something. Downloads have NO resale value. You can't trade in, or sell your downloaded games on eBay. You pay for the entertainment but then your money is gone. And there's no guarantee that that data will always be made available to you should it ever be removed from your console somehow. It's more like a semi-permanent "rental" than actual ownership of an item. 20 years from now, very many of these downloadable games will have completely disappeared into obscurity if not be outright extinct, rather than preserved as part of gaming history and still available to those who are searching for retro gaming goodness.



Xevnest said:

No no, a million times no. When I spend upwards of 40 dollars on a product, I want to hold it in my hand. But that's just me. If you have a handheld console full of downloaded games, and it gets stolen or broken beyond repair, then not only is the save data lost, but so are ALL OF YOUR GAMES. The ones you spent all that money on. Because you don't own physical copies of them. Comparing a handheld gaming device to an ipod (one that only plays mp3s) is just non nonsensical. With an ipod, each song is backed up on your computer on iTunes. So if the iPod gets broken or stolen, you still have all your music, and still you can burn it all to CDs to be extra safe. Plus each song only costs one dollar, unlike a full retail 3DS game, which is $40. (Not to mention you can find virtually ANY song online for free if you don't feel like buying it.) Also, jeez, the carts themselves are TINY. you can fit a dozen of them in a pocket ALONG with your 3DS. If they were the size of an NES cart, then yeah I could understand the complaints. Lastly, what about those who don't have high speed internet? There's a big chunk of people who wouldn't be able to buy it right there.



WhiteDragon9928 said:

I know it may sounds stupid to say, but if im going to spend $20-$50 on a game, i want something tangible that i can hold in my hands, not something thats coming to me through thin air that may or may not get to me with errors, etc. i might spend up to $10 for a downloadable title, like something off DSIware, but no more. i just look at like this...if youre hungry and want an apple, will you spend x amount for a real apple that you can eat or would you take the picture of an apple thats behind the counter?



TheAmazingRaccoon said:

Like I said before:

if your digital download only console gets stolen or dies, you loose all your games

If you have physical medium, there is a chance that you will still have the games



jerryo said:

what kind of crappy arguments are these.. what are the chances for your console to get stolen?!?!?!?!?



jerryo said:

"Lastly being download only encourages too much lazy development since games can be patched like testers no longer have a purpose at development studios."

lol do you even know anything about development?



Skotski said:

"what kind of crappy arguments are these.. what are the chances for your console to get stolen?!?!?!?!?"

Actually, if you live in a rather bustling city - handhelds tend to be rather popular... and thieving of handhelds happens QUITE often.



GreenInferno said:

"Apple's devices have created a generation of gamers that no longer believe that they should pay high prices for their software."

The subtext in this excerpt (intentional or otherwise) is that iPhone users rarely pay for their software. Jailbreakers are the majority in my experience.



Aviator said:

If I had the option to download, then I would utilise both retail and digital (similar to how steam does it.)

@GreenInferno I would consider Jailbreakers to be a minority. Considering the crackdown on the music industry in the past few years, many people now pay for their music via iTunes or some other medium. More people now how iOS devices, and buying music, left over change is mostly used to buy apps.

I'm loving these talking points, keep em coming.



bboy2970 said:

I'm glad Nintendo went about it the way they did but if they did go download only, I would still follow them as I always have done and always will do. I think it will be a VERY long time until we see a Nintendo handheld which is download only. One major staple of Nintendo handhelds is their backwards compatibility. So even if the entire library for the system after 3DS was 100 percent digital, it would almost definitely have a slot for your old DS, 3DS games. Same with the system after that and likely the system following that one.



Omenapoika said:

Just as with CDs and comics, cartridges make a big difference.
I can get music and comics online as I wish, but I by far prefer to buy books and CDs.
I think it's sort of the same thing, though in a more radical form, as what all the LP spinners are moaning about other medias: you just feel it better.

The feeling when you walk back from the store a fresh game in your bag... Open the package, insert the media and wait for wonders.
The feeling when you exchange your money for rights to a downloadable software... The download finishes and you may wait for wonders.



Hokori said:

I almost forgot, if Nintendos dead from having carts, then so is sony because the NGP is all cart based



Kirk said:

I've said it so many times but I can no longer justify paying £30+ for a single game anymore, on any format, when I can get like 50 games for the same price on iPhone.

That's the biggest problem a device like the 3DS faces at present.



Bass_X0 said:


The difference between A and B is that with A, you have to travel to the store either by walking or whatever vehicle you usually use and back again. Whereas with B, you can play a new game in three minutes, even in the middle of the night.



Token_Girl said:

I think physical media is on its way out, but we're not there yet. Broadband is not universal, and you'd need memory in the hundreds of gigabytes (if not a tb) to make having a large downladable game library (with retail sized titles). Steam has shown download only is feasible, but it would be too cost prohibitive for portables. PSP go has shown that digital only doesn't work unless you have a large base Of retail level games available from the getgo. Perhaps the next gen PS and Xbox will have them (they already rely so heavily on online gaming) but right now I don't think broadband is widespread enough for it to make sense for ninty to go that route. They appeal to a large enough audience with there device that requiring broadband for use would be a bad business move for them.



Tylr said:

The day everything becomes downloadable only, the day i give up gaming for good.



Ristar42 said:

If it was download only, I wouldnt buy one. I like having stuff, there is no way I would want to swap my retro collection for a bunch of downloads.

I prefer to see the things I like reflected in the things I physically own, not just a list of files that I have limited license to access.



Rob_mc_1 said:

I think we are seeing the beginning of a transition period where both are included in the same package. A few examples are:
1) Portal 2. (PS3 owners received a steam version.)
2) Disney Movies. (when the Blu-ray/dvd/digital copy is registered you also get the streamed version.)
3) Starcraft 1 and 2. (If you register either of the physical to battlenet you can forget about the disc and download the installer)

The thing that can make it easier is the ability to turn your old hard copies into digital copies and to me that is where Blizzard raises the bar. I was surprised when the first Starcraft could be a digital copy for existing owners. Nintendo has a long way to go. I have a lot of games registered to my Club Nintendo account and I'm pretty sure that my hard copies that are registers will never be ported to future DS/Wii/GCN virtual consoles. They would rather repackage it and resell it.



GamersCorner said:

It's an interesting idea but there are still too many potential customers who don't have a reliable/fast enough internet connection to make the switch to download-only yet.



Mike1 said:

Nintendo made the right decision. Most of the games for the iPhone are crap anyway, why is that even being used as an example.



Henmii said:

"Should Nintendo Have Made the 3DS Download-only?"

No, because traditional gamers (like myself) want certainty. And what's more certain then a proper disc, with box and all? Besides, having it physically does have it's charm!

That's not to say I am against downloadable games. When there's something good, I'll download it. But I want the majority of the good stuff in physical form!



XCWarrior said:

NO. I am a PC Gamer, and I do use Steam a lot. but my mentality is any game I don't physically own shouldn't cost more than $5. Period end of discussion. And on there, if you wait 2 months, it will be $5 with some sale. If not, I'll wait until it is.

Does Nintendo want to sell their games for $5? No. Do they want to put a huge hard drive in the 3DS for storage? We know that's a no. So to answer the question -




Edwrd said:

Nintendo needs a robust online system first, the one they have now is a bit minimalistic in terms of functionality I think, and just let me pay directly, not buy some annoying credits blocks where you may have 200 points left over with no desire to buy any more games.

Cart-less device is great, download times aside, you don't have to worry if the store has a copy of your game before you go out, or if its raining or snowing. Downloadable games can reach anywhere in the world, Nintendo won't have to worry about physical distribution channels. But storage is real issue, but if they allow a system where you can swap out old games to an external drive, it would be convenient.

No physical cart also means less plastic waste and less petrol use transporting them around.

(Of course I am in favor of a software only portable, there are no stores here that sells legit carts, forget it!)



Lolza64 said:

Like others have said before, there needs to be a balance between games distributed on physical media and games distributed as digital media.

Certainly particular types of games are better suited to one form or the other, and obviously big-budget massive full length titles shouldn't be only available as a download, and small half an hour indie games shouldn't be given a full retail release.

But even if physical retail games die one day in the future, a digital download will never compare to being able to hold your favourite game in your hands; case, boxart, instruction booklet and all.



Ren said:

I'd have more faith in that kind of possiblity if the 3DS even had their online content up an running more than a month after launch, apparently that's too much to ask though. it doesn't matter, though because it's got so much other stuff going for it that it will be just fine. it's true, this physical media won't last too much longer, but it's too early to speculate about it's doom now, though. phones and mp3 players are apples to portable consoles oranges, not a great comparison.



artofmana said:

Simple: No.

More nuanced: While I prefer physical media, I think Nintendo needs to step up their digital distribution game and actually make their own WiiWare/3DSWare entries. I think there are some games that benefit from retail packaging and storage but I also think there is room for a few titles that could be downloaded to the portable device (or on an SD card) so that you don't have to carry as many games around if you're traveling. I happen to like a few small, pick-up-and-go type games. Games that you can play for a moment or two while you're in line. These are great on my iPad or iPod. On the Wii, sometimes I like to just have a few games there on my screen without having to insert a disc. Something that is fun and can be played in a short blast between watching Netflix and playing a disc-based game.



HanuKwanzMasBif said:

Geez, I love cheap, good games but I dunno if I can get rid of the instruction booklet. It's hardly ever helped me, but there's something so charming about it I can't let go to. Hmm.



Mach-X said:

I laugh SO hard when these discussion come up, because people can just be so narrow minded. 'iphone make cartridge dead!' 'itunes make album dead', 'sirius xm make fm radio dead' '45 make lp dead' 'fm make am radio dead' they believe things will be 'THIS WAY' or 'THAT WAY' and that's it. Yet, the lp survives. The compact disc survives. The game cartridge survives. When will people get that there can be more than one way of doing things? Because the price of flash has dropped, sony's NGP is going back to a cart style media, rather than the bulky UMD's. The other thing people need to stop doing is assuming everybody on earth has massive unlimited connections to the internet. When overages cost somewhere around $2.50 per gig, it's rather hard to fathom downloading a 50 gig bluray game isn't it?



Henmii said:

"Geez, I love cheap, good games but I dunno if I can get rid of the instruction booklet. It's hardly ever helped me, but there's something so charming about it I can't let go to. Hmm"

Manuals aren't fun anymore. In the past they where all different, with lots of artwork. Now they are all looking the same. The only + is that manuals of Nintendo games are still in color, while manuals from third-party's are all in black and white!



DrDaisy said:

While I like being able to rent games, it is becoming a pain to have to carry cartridges with me all the time. I don't know what the maximum SD card size is for the 3DS, but Nintendo shouldn't limit the sizes of the other developers' games. Let the third parties themselves figure out how big their digital 3DS games should be.



nmozdzier said:

Cartridges are nice for now, but I think this will be the likely last generation for them, as larger amounts of memory and home internet access are available to more people.



Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

PSN is down so no games for awhile from Playstation. That's a disadvantage in itself for PSPgo users who rely on PSN for games since they don't have a UMD drive. I seriously think it was a mistake to get rid of the UMD drive. I love my UMDs!!!

Physical games give me a sense of accomplishment of being able to hold the software in my hand after buying it. Plus trading in your game is an advantage if you didn't like it. Unlike when you download it your stuck with it for life. (Born in the era of carts and disks (The 90's))



motang said:

Well by making it download only then the prices for the games could have been cheaper, but that also means we might only a few good quality games an a lot of shovel ware games that are disposable. But I do like having my games at my finger tips.



retro_player_22 said:

Why don't like the idea of the 3DS having only digital games. Here are a few reasons:

1. Long boring download times, imagined downloading a copy of Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition. It'll take forever, plus it'll waste a few of your home electricity (using the adapter charger) and/or your 3DS batteries just for waiting.

2. No cheaper alternatives, with physical game you can buy the same game used with a cheaper price over a new game, with digital you are stuck with the same price.

3. You can't trade, borrow, or sell used games.

4. The game is tie to your account or console, if any one of them ever got corrupted, you'll lose your games.

5. You could only buy the game in one place, the app store (a place that doesn't exist in real life) and online through the device only. Whenever the app store is closed or corrupted like PS Store for example, expect some disappointment. With physical game you could buy the game from all kinds of retail stores both online or offline.

6. It eats a large chunk of your systems hard drive spaces. PSP Go is a perfect example. Digital downloads are for smaller time waster games like Angry Birds and Tetris, not for large quality games like Metal Gear Solid 4: Peace Walker or Dragon Quest IX: Sentinel of the Starry Skies.

7. It'll lose backwards compatibility. Though the full library of DS games are cartridge based, it's possible to offer DS games through digital download as well but like VC games not all DS games will be possible for offering considering most of them had licensing issues and the fact that not every publishers or developers like the idea of making their DS game digital download. Plus by making DS game digital download on 3DS, you'll had to re-buy the game all over again unlike now where if you already own a DS game, you could just pop it in to play on the 3DS with no problem.



Leaf said:

I feel that cartridges are a good form of media still. Though it may be a tiny hassle at rare instances they are still good for storing media rather then have lots of on board memory to store games because then you have a limit to the number of games you can have at a time. Plus with physical media, you can return the game for your money back when your done with it or dislike it. With DDs, your stuck with it forever. As far as the PSPgo concerns, It was a good idea just executed at the wrong time. I feel like if it were a next gen PSP it would've been much more embraced as it would be the only way to play the new games. It was dumb to do it now when every other model still uses external media and external media is still produced.



S_T_K said:

aaahhh didn't Nintendo say they where not limiting how much 3party users could upload for download if ya get what i mean



JustanotherGamer said:

No I don't think that digital download will ever overtake physical copies. The PSPGo would have not failed in Japan. the most techonological advanced country. The PSPGo experiment failed.

The iphone is not actually a true gaming device. Nor would the likes of .99cent games ever take over. Downloadable games will always have their place but it no way come to dominate the videogame industry.

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