Most of us have now had plenty of opportunity to digest the news that Nintendo will be delving into the brave new world of retail downloads, starting with New Super Mario Bros. 2 on 3DS in August. An assumption for some has been that Nintendo would release all of its titles as both downloads and boxed game cards or discs, but it seems that may not be the case.
In a statement provided to Joystiq, Nintendo has stated that the 'majority' of its titles will be available for download.
Nintendo is aiming to significantly expand its digital business. In August, New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Nintendo 3DS system will launch both as a packaged game at retail stores and as a digital download in the Nintendo eShop. The majority of Nintendo-published Nintendo 3DS games will have the same dual-distribution strategy. Likewise, the majority of Nintendo-published Wii U games will be available both as packaged products and as digital downloads starting on launch day.
These downloadable games will also be available for purchase at participating retail stores and on retailers' websites. Our customers can visit retail outlets or their online shopping sites, look for the products they want and pay for the product there. The retailers will then provide shoppers with a 16-digit code that can be exchanged in the Nintendo eShop for the game. This will give shoppers more options to find and purchase their favorite games.
The wording of that statement also suggests that the Wii U digital store will also be called the eShop, which makes sense as online services on both the new console and 3DS will already be under the unified 'Nintendo Network' banner. Keeping the eShop brand is probably a smart move — it's a decent name after all — but we'll be curious to see what Nintendo titles, if any, don't get the digital download treatment later in the year.