News Article

'Majority' of Nintendo Games to be Released Digitally

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Maybe not all, in that case

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.


From the web

User Comments (75)



ianmage1 said:

I could see having big games like SSB with me at all times. I'd really like that.



hillbill26 said:

I would like to see how this turns out. There are two directions Nintendo could go with this: 1. Nintendo could profit from these downloads and continue on with their plans for more downloads, or 2. They could fail and bring themselves into a huge rut, beckfiring their plans. But, i still wish them luck. And also, are they seriously trying to kill retail purchases? Nintendo must REALLY be looking for something new.



mamp said:

They should call it the U shop XD it's funny and it sounds like Nintendo.



benandarchie said:

i would love to buy all my games digitally and sell my current physical cartridges, even if i have to buy a 32gb sd card. Please 3rd parties! make digital games



CosmoXY said:

I'm hoping Nintendo DS titles such as Pokémon Black/White 2 will be available via download. They've said nothing about DS titles, but I'd like to see that be an option for 3DS users.



supermariolinux said:

Nintendo should really start to include larger SD cards with the 3DS, 2GB will not be enough for this.



JohnDoe123 said:

I wouldn't expect them to promise all of their titles will be available for download. If something came up and they were unable to realease a title as a download, they would be criticized. I expect Nintendo will make an effort to release games digitally, though.
I'll need a larger SD card.



photofool83 said:

I'm just hoping, and this is completely off-topic, that New Super Mario Bros. 2 has new worlds. I am sort of tired of Desert, Ice, Forest, Water, etc. It really is time for Mario to visit some new lands/worlds. I love Mario but seriously go somewhere else!!



Silvervisiona said:

This article made it sound disappointing that only a "majority" of games will be downloadable alongside their respective game cards or discs. I think any support of any day one downloads is a great leap forward for Nintendo. It has never been in Nintendo's character to transition with extremes, such as allowing 100% of their packaged software to be digitally available. It is well known that Microsoft emphatically avoids doing so for at least 6 months after release of its xbox games in order to maintain the physical media market. Selling codes in stores is a great solution to this conundrum!



Kagamine said:

@supermariolinux actually according to ign you can fit 3-4 full retail games on the 2GB card, that is if you don't get games like Resident Evil. Also, why should they package a larger SD card, its a bonus to even get one. They could be like Sony and not give you one, but they chose to be nice and package one in. Some people are just so ungrateful.



SKTTR said:

I think some memory intense games won't be available in the Wii U Shop, but small 300MB games like New Super Mario Bros. and Wii U Sports are very likely.

I'm still not sure which way I want to buy my Wii U games.
I want to go with either one of these 2 options:
1. Getting them all as downloads, and only get the retail-only ones on retail, or...
2. Buying them all at retail, and downloading only the download-only titles.

What is better in the long run?

It depends. At least external 500GB USB 2.0 HDDs must be supported. Compared to that, 32GB SDHC Cards are nothing anymore.

A question that is playing a role in my decision is "Can I transfer my VC and WiiWare games to Wii U?" If yes, I'd go on collecting and supporting downloadable titles. If no, then that's explanation enough to learn that these titles are bound to just one console, which heavily decreases the value for game collections downloaded from Nintendo's Wii Shop. After all, that is an indication for the value of Wii U Shop games as well.



nba4life said:

nintendo life just scared me! i thought you guys ment that it will be digital only and not in the box



mamp said:

People complain that Nintendo shouldn't make games that take up a lot of memory becuase the 3DS only came with a 2 gig SD card. They gave you that SD card to get you started, you can always buy a bigger one (32 gigs are around $20). This complaint is just dumb, it's like saying that Nintendo shouldn't make multiplayer games on their home consoles because their consoles only come with one controller.



romulux said:

is there any functional difference between retail and downloaded games? i've heard some people claim loading times are faster when a game is saved to a hard drive instead of being read from a disc.



Mk_II said:

I think they are very smart to come up with an online strategy that includes the traditional retail sector.



Xilef said:

It would be nice if they could release rare 3DS cames (or even DS games) that's hard to find. Even though i prefer physical games, being able to download rare and expensive games for (hopefully) less price would be nice.



hYdeks said:

if they released a new 3DS that was like that pspgo (no cart, only download) I would actually go that route, though depending on what online network they have.



Sir_Deadly said:

I always like the idea of downloading games to to system then to mess around with CD's, but I think they should have it more like an account so they can keep track of who already bought what just in case there system crashes and needs to download it again. But I can see why that would be a problem if you use your account on another friends system and they just got a free game you paid for so I would take care of my system. Oh and hope the prices is at least the same as retail but cheaper would be nice!



Hokori said:

Now just make it so I can transfer my current physical copies to digital form please nintendo



Capt_N said:

@romulux Cartridge games from now-defunct systems had faster loading times, than cd media; almost instantaneously, actually. I would think on-system/console data would be faster to retrieve, than from an ext. device. That said, too much on-system clutter can slow down a computer of any kind.

@EveryoneElse: I bet I wouldn't be far off the mark, if I said this is probably so Nintendo can release, from their perspective, less risky games, on/in both forms, while, again from their perspective, more risky titles see only digital d/l. This could also be an experiment, that will prompt Nintendo to/to not delve into cloud gaming(which I am against, since I like having/owning my games!), or into at least digital d/l only. As @EmpireIndustries said, that is also a possibility for Nintendo doing this.

I kinda don't like where this is going, since I know most co.s are looking into cloud gaming.

Edit: @Assassin87 That's another thing. Hypothetically, Nintendo starts delving into cloud gaming(game on their servers, you have to connect every time you wanna play), if they don't fix the issue of a lack of user accounts, & d/ls are tied to only a system, not a name/tag/anything, this could potentially open up a massive can of worms.

Although, now this is just me being hypothetical.



Sir_Deadly said:

@Capt_N you kno, I wouldnt mind if they stopped using CD's and started using Cartridge games like the 3ds games have for the wii u. I dnt think that would be much of a problem. Now I dnt kno much about tat technology, but would that be a problem for them on a home console? Because looking at RE:R it looks like it would be a great idea!



C7_ said:

I'd still buy retail because I like having something physical to show that I purchased a game, but this is a great idea nonetheless. I hope they have something where you can use the CD to install the game for faster loading times though.



NImH said:

@LordOtaku @benandarchie @C7_
I think some of us fail to realize that PHYSICALLY OWNING the properties is ACTUALLY OWNING the titles. Once you replace all your cartridges with digital downloads, you no longer own the titles. You've just "rented" them for the duration of your console's life. As far as I know, there's no way to share your own titles between multiple consoles, even if you own the said consoles.
On the other hand, we can put a cartridge into any and every 3DS we own because we OWN the software.
Am I way off on this?



SkywardLink98 said:

@nimH37 Nintendo has said in the past that you "Buy the rights to that game for that specific console" when people asked about getting the same download game on multiple consoles without re-buying it. Technically, (or legally speaking?) you did buy the game, but you give up the abilities to do some things but gain others. Like, you can't trade the games in, BUT you don't have to carry around carts so you can swap between them wherever you are (Making it a true portable).



Sir_Deadly said:

@nimH37 correct me if i am wrong, but doesn't that System Transfer option allow you to transfer everything from one 3ds to the new one? Not saying you wont keep the old one but there really is no point to buy a new one and keep the old one. Unless you use it as a back up system then you would have no choice but to have the download on only one system. I also dont think when you downloaded a game doesn't mean "rented". Your not on the same kind system that say like Block Buster or Hollywood Video uses. When you downloaded a game, its permanently in your system unless you choose to uninstall it.



NImH said:

I don't know, but I've wondered this same thing. I am an Ambassador, and I covet MY 3DS in particular because I'm afraid that I'll lose all my awesome downloads...
I hope you're right, but for now, I've settled for a protective outer armor and a paid, armored guard service that protects my system 24/7.



Sir_Deadly said:

@nimH37 soo i looked it up in the manual, and apparently you can only transfer DSi, DSi XL software, pictures and audio to another 3DS even if its from an old 3DS. Any saved data, 3ds software wont be transferred even if its from one 3DS to another. I really hope they fix all that to do a full system transfer because those of us who might buy a newer model (that is if there any improvements) can transfer the whole system.



NImH said:

Nice. Thank you. I am now informed.
Let's hope for further digital download dev that'll solve our other issues.
It'd totally suck if ALL my titles were downloads that I was unsure about as to whether I'd still own if my console broke.



lanabanana said:

I think it's a bad idea if they make most of the games available for digital download only. My parents don't let me use their credit cards, so how am I supposed to buy the games?! And what about the people that don't have internet? Also , if your console stops working, your gonna loose all your games and stuff! When your console stops working and you have the game cartridge, you can still sell the game or play it on another console... -____-



Sir_Deadly said:

@nimH37 your welcome, figured if us plus a few others where wandering what that option was for i would post it. We all should just make sure we take good care of or 3DS console.



Hokori said:

Well if we can transfer the games to the next gen system it's like owning the game, just like DSiWare titles



PuzzleMaster7 said:

I think I'll just keep buying them in stores, espicially since it took forever for Gamestop to give me a new DLC because the first one wouldn't work.



Henmii said:

I think this is a good idea, as long as niche/risky games are also available as a download. Because: Yeah, Mario titles can be found everywhere. But a game like Xenoblade chronicles is a lot harder to find. It would be fun if you could download such a title when you can't find a copy!

"I feel like I'm in a vast minority by hating this development"

I know what you mean! There is a risk: What if all the titles go digital-only one day?! That would be awful!
But back to the upcoming situation: Nintendo wants to offer the majority of their games as retail AND downloads. Even if the downloads are cheaper (wich I guess won't happen, sadly) I still will go for the real copy's most of the time. But obscure games that no shop has, or some weaker titles that you want to get on a later date. Now those are ideal for downloading.

But yeah, digital-only would be awful: Just look at all the VC/Wiiware/DSiware (yes, it has also begon there) games that got removed? Besides nobody seems to know what happens if your console/handheld dies. Are all games gone then?



kdognumba1 said:

I feel this is a very good idea. I had a really hard time getting a copy of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn because it was out of print and would have no problem getting a game new through digital if I can't get it retail.



sunshine7478 said:

I have to say I love mario. I've been waiting for some mario or another good game for wii and theres nothing wwhat a waste of money i speant on wii. Now all the good mario games are coming out for nintendo 3ds what a crock. What about the wii or have you forgotten about it gees. Now your coming out with wii u tha so it can fail 2 yay for nintendo.Please have mario games for wii 2. I have 2 say atleast xbox has alot more grown up games 2 buy. nintendo sucks now.



BlackShyGuy said:

Wouldn't the download games be cheaper because they wouldn't be on disks? If so does anyone know the approximation differance in price?



Malic said:

As long as there's an option. The day the gaming industry goes all digital is the day I quit gaming for good



WaxxyOne said:

@BlackShyGuy: I wouldn't count on it. It'll just mean Nintendo will get a bigger cut per sale.

Though it might help to keep the games priced at $50 rather than pushing them to $60+ like games on the other systems. We can hope, anyway.



theblackdragon said:

The only way i'd go for it is if the digital release is significantly cheaper than retail. otherwise, i'll be happy to have it in cartridge form.



Raptor78 said:

Some games I wouldnt mind having downloaded rather than cart because I tend to play them little and often rather than having great big gaming sessions etc.
Nintendogs & cats is a good example of this, the only times I seem to play it now is when I get a pass, so I still want the game but not too bothered about having the physical game. Mario kart is another example of the little and often that I probably wouldnt mind just for convience. Most games I would still like the physical media, but at the end of the day its the choice that counts and wether we want downloadable retail games or not its better to have the option than not at all.



Raptor78 said:

"But yeah, digital-only would be awful: Just look at all the VC/Wiiware/DSiware (yes, it has also begon there) games that got removed? "

Even though the titles have been removed from sale, you are still able to re-download them whenever you would like. It works just like the Ambassador games - those that are eligible to download them can still find them.



Nintenbro said:

@benandarchie, if you purchase every retail release digitally, you won't have the choice or ability to trade-in or sell games you don't find enjoyable. I know digital content can be a lot more convenient, accessible and affordable, but it can also easily become a mistake that can't be resolved.



Capt_N said:

@Assassin87 Rom carts(that's the shorthand word of/for cartridges):
Mem(Memory) cards:
I would think that cartridge technology has improved, & that it's probably possible to fit more data onto a cart, than could be done in the past. But, I'll admit I'm no tech wizard.

By comparison, memory cards are a lot more volatile in data holding. Should you leave a memory card into a pc card slot, & the power goes out, for example, all the data on your card gets wiped. Now, I'm pretty sure that's still the main issue w/ memory cards, but I could be wrong.

From what I understand, like the wikipedia article states, & from varios other people, & sources: carts have their flaws, are a lot more expensive to create, but harder to damage, or destroy.

So, to answer your question, while I don't have a definite answer, I'd say it could be done.



Sir_Deadly said:

@Capt_N thanks for the info, i was jus wandering bout that. But I wander if ROM carts are more expensive to make, y do they sell cheaper than the CD games??? And some of them like RE:R are like console quality soo i was just wandering. I personally would prefer have ROM carts then CDS, but thats just me!!!



Nintendo3DSLife said:

I have to say...this is the best idea by far nintendo is doing for 3DS and Wii U because sometimes in life,there are games that really want to get so then you go to the store just to get the game you really want,but then once you look for it and find it,ull see its out of stock.Even in online shopping sites like amazon,sometimes that will happen too(well it depends).So then ull be like,"really,dang it -_-..."so I guess with nintendo making these games digital download available on eshop/wii u shop is better so that you will save alot of time,and you won't have to worry about the game out stock.Can't wait 4 august for this to happen .



Geonjaha said:

3DS titles would be a maybe for me to download - assuming they cost significantly less, but DS titles? Never. I hate the resolution and still own a DSi.



daznsaz said:

do we have to get big sd cards,or is there another way to create space for big games?



RVN said:

I predict:
this game will be selling tons just because it's digitally distributed



RevolverLink said:

It'd be great if Nintendo could use digital release as a way to bring "forgotten" games like Last Window, Another Code R and Inazuma Eleven to North American shores (they're all in English already, after all!), but I'm not going to get my hopes up.




Memory space and price are huge factors in my decision maing for these. I am a huge wiiware, dsiware and 3dsware fan - but this is a different ball game. Also, i like the ability of being able to lend my physical media games to family (and the do vice versa). Don'yt necesaarily like them stuck on one system. Also, freedom to sell or trade-in? A lot to consider.

Overall PRICE.



Drewroxsox said:

No thanks... Why would I pay for a game that will take up 2 gb of space on my sd card when I could buy a physical copy, and lend to family or friends.



MakeMyBiscuit said:

In preparation for this I just bought a 32 GB SD card for my 3DS. SD cards are not that much anymore. For less than the price of many retail games I got a 32 GB Class 10 San Disk Ultra SD card for $33.99 w/ free shipping at I am a little worried though. I know my 3DS will not last forever and what about the inevitable 3DS XL with dual circle pads? If I load up games on my current 3DS will the games be playable on another 3DS or are the games system specific.

BTW Nintendo, I am STILL waiting for that DS update that will allow me to save games on to my SD card and play them. DS and DSi Ware games are better on the DS XL.



Ren said:

unfortunately they won't be cheaper, which is good for Nintendo, I can't see why they didn't see these dollar signs earlier when everyone else did. People will still buy them including myself, but not for long if there aren't price drops and sales over time.
Not being transferrable is indeed an issue for, like the 3DS when you want to play mobile or not have as much space on a card but for a console this is no big deal unless you're looking for something to knit pick about. The days of passing friends a copy to borrow have arguably long since passed already, it pretty much stays on your machine at home.
I won't even talk about including a big sd card, that's always a nice bonus, but don't expect it people, unless you support raising the price by $50, getting one at all is rare.
The issue, as always, is just nintendos true, REAL support for all this, which they haven't given us any reason to believe will be there. Actions speak louder than words. Like if this happens there has to be a simple way to store those games and access them. That little box is surely not hiding a 250gb hard drive but if we're going to be presented with retail digital downloads at full price there better be an easy way to store them. (snap a drive on the back, support playing from SD cards directly). There won't be any of this copying games from the card to the Home page everytime we want to play them, like it is now, especially 3gb games.

And we know the Wii's stringent rules about WiiWare, so what does that mean for getting 3rd party games as full downloads? Will it be a pain in the butt for them to do? And even if this all flies they have to learn to have sales, promotions and demos for everything, right out of the box. Now that I'm finally playing with brand-X I can't believe Nintendo has gotten away with their online system the way it is for so long; no wonder no one wants to use it. I really understand now that I'm playing an xbox too; the Wii feels like a tricycle on a motorcross track. I'm just glad I didn't get it sooner or I might have missed some of the good Wii games.



Capt_N said:

@Assassin87 I can't really give you much, (if any,) of an answer, aside from a guess. I assume you're talking about current cart prices vs. current home console disc-based game prices? If that's the case, then all I can say is again I assume you're referring to 3DS game carts, or used-retro carts? Generally, handheld games retail for cheaper than the average price of a home-console title, (be the home-console tile) disc-based, or otherwise. Also, the used retro game cart market is everywhere from cheap to expensive. Aside from that semi-answer, I really can't answer that one for you. Sorry!

@Everyone Else I just hope this isn't an attempt to slice the throat of the used game industry. If Nintendo does go all-digital eventually, no physical copies to trade/resell.

However, as many here have stated, this does give the benefit of easily becoming the owner of titles that are "hot", or only available at certain retail stores, since you can always get your copy, as long as you can get online.

Ya know what would be neat? If Nintendo started doing something similar, only more advanced, to what they used to do w/ the FDS. Over in Japan, you could take a proprietary FDS floppy to a kiosk, & d/l a new game on it, take it home, play it, & then re-d/l another game, next time you were at a kiosk. That'd be neat, if you could do the same w/ 3DS titles, & then later extract them to your 3DS system. Of course, knowing Nintendo, their over-paranoia of piracy would prevent this kinda thing.

I hope that Nintendo doesn't take all their software digital only. All software both digital, & retail yeah.



marc_max said:

Animal Crossing will probably be the only one that I'll buy in its digital version, even if I have to pay the same price as the boxed one.
I wasn't not going to buy the 3DS version (I feel that I spent too much time on the the DS version), but this changes everything. Having it installed will make it easier to switch between games or to play short sessions without having to swap gamecards.

If they fix the same price they make sure that there won't be any competition between digital and boxed games.
Personally, I don't like paying the same for a game without its box and manual. It should be at least 5€ cheaper.
But, from the company point of view, I think it's a good strategy, and should make consumers happy because that means that boxed games won't disappear (for now). They are just giving an alternative.



HappyHappy said:

In short all Mario games will be available for digital download and everything else depend on whether they really want the game to sell well.



eleven59 said:

Yes this is probably the best way for any company to rid themselves of the used game market and wouldn't be surprised if this becomes the future

I don't mind buying downloads, but they better be tied to my account and not a console, and be re-downloadable for whatever reason as well as options for expandable storage.

I have no plans for a wiiU if I can't transfer the VC games I have on both wii and 3ds



Kinioka said:

"...The majority of Nintendo-published..."

I hope the same happens for third party games. And if that's the path they choose, they better send more eshop cards to the stores, because i have not seen even one in any store.



Sir_Deadly said:

@Capt_N yea, i was talking about why if handheld Rom Cartridges were more expensive to make why are they cheaper to sell then home console game disks!!! But thnxs for trying to answer anyway,



Henmii said:

"Even though the titles have been removed from sale, you are still able to re-download them whenever you would like"

True, but if you haven't downloaded the game before there is no way you can download it now! And that is what I meant! The whole gaming history can be wiped out with the click of a button if every game is a digital one!

Thinking more about it: Nintendo is a step ahead on the opposition, because on the xbox360 and PS3 there are only a few titles that are available both physical and digital. Though I guess Nintendo also does this because of those stupid analists who wants that Nintendo only develops for tablets. Those guys who think that Nintendo can't sell physical games anymore.

I think the download versions should be cheaper, because there is no box, no disc, etc. But I guess it won't happen. Just look at E books. Writers don't want to make them cheaper, there are even writers who want to make them more expensive. Totally unreasonable! No wonder people download books by illegal means!

And one last thing: Release the downloads 1 year after the physical versions. Otherwise I fear the download versions will sell better. And if that happens, then the physical games will go extinct. And that would be a nightmare!!



Capt_N said:

@Assassin87 You're welcome. Again, sorry I couldn't really answer.

@Henmii "And if that happens, then the physical games will go extinct. And that would be a nightmare!!" ~ Well, since the actual physical copies will sell for the same as digital, then I think enough (people/customers) would go for physical, that for now, that issue wouldn't arise. Although it still could, even under such circumstances, I believe it would be delayed, at (the very) least.



rjejr said:

For anybody thinking the DL games will be cheaper (where have you been?) here's an example from last week courtesy of Sony:
Bejeweled 3 - $15
Zuma - $9.99
Feeding Frenzy 2 - $9.99
Total = $35
Bejeweled 3 game disc which also includes Zuma and FF2 = $9.99
So a savings of $25 ON DISC. The disc is $19.99 everywhere else so still a $15 savings.
To me this is a big problem w/ DL. Sony keeps charging MSRP when Amazon and TRU and GS and Target and Walmart are having half-off sales. And when's the last time Nintendo had a Wiiware or eShop sale? Downloads aren't cheaper than disc, they cost more.
I'm still more interested in knowing the WiiU storage before deciding if I'll be DLing anything.
Good for Nintendo though for coming to the party, even if it's a party I personally don't want to be at, lots of others seem to want to go.



grumblegrumble said:

If I'm going to be buying digital full-scale cartridge games online digitally, then they better be cheaper than buying them retail, otherwise, I hardly see the point. While I do embrace digital downloads and the e-shop, make it WORTHWHILE, Nintendo, otherwise, your e-shop games that you also sell in stores are going to suffer on the digital front. Make them cheaper since we're saving you materials and production costs!



grumblegrumble said:

@rjejr That's so sad. It's always cheaper to buy USED than to buy new or digital, even. Online sales are going to continue to suffer unless Nintendo rectifies this and charges less for digital downloads than full cartridge purchases, otherwise, I would rather have the box too if it's the same price

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