News Article

Talking Point: This Fan's Tragic Tale Highlights The Problem With Nintendo's Approach To Download Purchases

Posted by Damien McFerran

When $200 of credit can't replace $400 of downloaded games

As we've spoken about before, Nintendo's current attitude to downloadable games leaves quite a bit to be desired. The Nintendo Network ID system introduced with the Wii U is a step in the right direction, but the fact that purchases remain tied to a single piece of hardware is, in this day and age, unacceptable. Rivals such as Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Google all allow purchases to be installed on other systems to the one they were originally made on — it's just that Nintendo seems to be a little behind the curve on this score.

A story related to Kotaku by Nintendo fan Jon (second name withheld) highlights the absurdity of this situation. Jon is a massive fan of Nintendo, and happily splashed $400 on downloadable games during the lifespan of his Wii console. When it came to upgrading to the Wii U, he didn't hesitate — he picked one up and transferred over all his Wii downloads.

Sadly, the system Jon had was faulty, forcing him to return it to the store he purchased it from for a new one — a fairly standard reaction, one would think. However, what he should have done is contacted Nintendo instead. Because he didn't, when he switched on his replacement Wii U, he couldn't use his Nintendo Network ID, and therefore had lost $400 of downloads.

Jon got in touch with Nintendo — after all, his Club Nintendo ID was proof that he had paid money for the games and had a right to have access to them — and was eventually credited $200 on the Wii U eShop. You don't have to be an expert at maths to see that figure is half what Jon was really owed, and to make matters worse, he couldn't re-purchase the games because none of them are available on the Wii U eShop yet — they're all on the Wii Virtual Console and WiiWare marketplace, which uses a different digital currency.

You could argue that Jon was stupid for returning his Wii U when Nintendo has made it clear that system transfers can only be done by them, but that's beside the point; this kind of thing simply should not be happening in this day and age.

Kotaku contacted Nintendo for the official line, and was told:

Different companies take different approaches to preventing the resale of downloadable games. Anyone who experiences any issues with a Nintendo system or game should contact Nintendo Customer Service at 800-255-3700 or Once a system has been sold or traded in, and the system is no longer in possession of the original owner, the downloadable content cannot be recovered.

It's all very well saying that different companies take different approaches, but the fact is that most of Nintendo's rivals seem to be aware that allowing users to tie their purchases to a transferable account rather than to the hardware itself is the proper thing to do. When you're expecting people to spend as much as $59.99 / £49.99 on a retail download, you really should give them some kind of assurance that they're not suddenly going to see that money evaporate before their very eyes in the event of their system being stolen, or becoming so broken that the data cannot be retrieved. Another key thing to remember is that people are more likely to spend cash on downloads if they know they will have access to them for the foreseeable future.

What are your thoughts on Jon's story? If you're sitting on hundreds of dollars of downloads, do you ever worry that you could lose it all? Or do you think that Nintendo has the right idea, and linking purchases to a single device helps reduce "the resale" of downloadable games? Vote in the poll and leave a comment to let us know.

Should Nintendo downloads be tied to a single piece of hardware? (573 votes)





I honestly don't care either way


Please login to vote in this poll.


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User Comments (147)



Squiggle55 said:

I bet we can go for a perfect 100% on the poll for "no". It's pretty poor infrastructure that's for sure.



Cipher said:

I read another comment, either here or on another site, from someone who had the exact opposite experience - Nintendo issued them with a full refund and a $50 credit on top as an apology. This is a rare occurrence and a very unfortunate one at that, and I really think Jon should contact Nintendo again and see if they're willing to do any more - and if not, lodge a complaint.

It should also be pointed out that the notion that purchases are tied to the hardware hasn't really been confirmed to be the case - Nintendo's said before that they're tied to the Nintendo Network ID, and although NNIDs can't be transferred between systems yet, that will be possible following a future update, which could very well be either the spring or summer update we've been promised. Presumably, your Nintendo eShop and Wii Shop Channel data will move with, otherwise there'd be no point in them at all.

And yes, he should have contacted Nintendo immediately, not returned it and had it replaced. That much is blatantly obvious, because then they would just have transferred everything to a new console. So, yes, that was a very stupid thing to do.



odd69 said:

i just think that sucks im glad i decided to keep my wii and games. like john ive spent hundereds of dollars on the virtual console, and all that info being lost would infact drive me crazy. after reading this article, i have decided to never transfer my wii data to my wiiu



Mk_II said:

Nintendo doesnt reimburse my hard-copy games either if they should get stolen.



Discostew said:

While I don't think downloads should be tied to a single piece of hardware, it was Jon's fault for not understanding the circumstances ahead of time, especially 6 years to understand it, that Wii downloads are tied because that is how it was designed. There was no "user account" with those, so they had to be device-based.



SneakyStyle said:

I'm not worried about the WiiU at all, but i'm worried about the fact that some big names (sony/microsoft) might be throwing a lot of money at various places to have them help defame the WiiU.

All this bad news and barely any good news all over the internet makes me think this, when what it all really should be about is the great titles that are almost out like monster hunter, smash bros, mario party, mario kart... the list goes on and on and onnnnn..

Something very fishy is going on with the WiiU reporting.



Drawdler said:

Can we all agree that this is one more reason that Wii Shop/Wii U eShop and Wii Menu/Wii U Menu are both points that should be merged with one another?
Anyway, here's my stand on this: he really should have contacted Nintendo first. The strange thing is the service that he got, which seems sub-par for the company to me. I have no strong feelings one way or the other about that.
Cloud or purchase-tie services don't bother me as I will not buy a new system for years, if ever. However, I voted "No" because this lack of more quick digital buying is really what Nintendo's online services lack in the most. If general communities are added to Miiverse they pretty much have that down pat, but a ton of people would like to transfer buys around, and for good reason- they're very behind with it. I'd be pretty disappointed too were I interested in using that.



MadJay1664 said:

I personally would have gone straight to Nintendo lol That man should have researched what to do beforehand. Google is not hard to use...



Burning_Spear said:

What a "tragedy." Funny thing about this Web site the past week or so ... I can't quite put my finger on it. It seems a bit ... red ... no, that's not it ... blue ... noooo ... oh look at that, my shirt has a stain on it.



moisesmcardona said:

This happened to me originally with the DSi and 3DS. I believed that having the DSI tied with a Club Nintendo account would give me access to my downloads later on my 3DS. Believing this, I traded-in my DSi for the 3DS and when the eShop opened, I was surprises that this wasn't the case. I didn't cared for some years but then I thought, what if I call nintendo so they can transfer the game to my 3DS system, so when I called Nintendo, they didn't credited me with eShop money or transfered my DsiWare games, but instead they sent me a copy of Paper Mario for 3DS... They however, can check your Club Nintendo account for your downloads and know how much you've spent.



AceSpadeS said:

Maybe because there isn't any good news right now. Probably won't be till e3, either. Mario Kart, SSB, and the like are just names right now.

Edit: Oh, and MicroSony don't need to spend money to hurt the Wii U. Nintendo has done a pretty good job of doing that themselves as of late.



Yosher said:

I love Nintendo but system tied software is one of the dumbest, most idiotic decisions in the entire industry. It's a good reason why I haven't transferred my DSiWare and Wii downloads yet.



TheDreamingHawk said:

I logged back on just so I could give my opinion on this, and here it is:

I like the tied to one console system. You heard me, I LIKE IT.

Why? Just think about it: what if some guy hacked into your NNID and stole ALL of your games, and no one could do a thing about it? This sort of thing happens all the time on PSN and XBL, so a full account system has it's own problems. I prefer the one to a system method, but there should be a choice for those who want to be secure. While I'm no doubt gonna be thrown flames at for this, it's my honest opinion: my mother once had a windows account YEARS Ago and it was hacked, so she lost all of her apps and couldn't get them back. So that's why I prefer the current method.

As for the guy's choice? Dumb. He should have called NOA to get a repair, if his system ever broke anyway (Since I hear that a few of these brick reports are fabricated), instead of returning it. That's his fault.



Farmboy74 said:

The quicker Nintendo alter their online accounts system the better in my view. In this day and age your Nintendo network ID should be universal across all Nintendo platforms, with all purchases tied to your network ID like on PSN. In Jons case I don't think he had read the Nintendo fineprint as you get a warning the first time you set up your network ID. Anyways stop with the negative stories and find a positive own to report!!



Flowerlark said:

Considering that I have poured way more than $400 into downloads on my 3DS, this is a very real fear of mine. Good thing that I have a club nintendo account and will NOT sell/ return my 3DS if it breaks, so I might have hope.



Burning_Spear said:

Synopsis: Someone made a mistake, blamed Nintendo's policy, got half his money back, became a tragic figure.



Bass_X0 said:

Reminds me of a guy on another forum who heard his Wii downloads could be transferred over to the Wii U then sold his Wii console a few months before buying his Wii U.

Then complained about not being able to transfer the games. Apparently he was ignorant of the fact that Nintendo told us to keep our Wiis in order to be able to do the transfer. Or he sold it before that was announced.



Vampire-Jekyll said:

Although I'm in support of a change in Nintendo's policy, it is up to the CONSUMER to inform themselves before making purchases. The policy is online and has been since launch day; he should have looked into it before he even purchased a Wii U.



SKTTR said:

I still haven't transfered my Wii stuff to Wii U. And last I checked I had more than 2000€ worth of downloads (200+ downloaded VC and WiiWare games). They're now resting on my unplugged systemfaulty Wii, until - hopefully - a better solution is offered. The broken transfer (LostWinds bug), games tied to console, the crappy Wii mode, two different shops, it's such a mess!! Where is the freaking update?? Is all hope lost? Will Nintendo ever listen? I feel like the more I support them the more they laugh at me. It's disappointing because Wii's backward compatibiliy was pretty great and it looked bright for the future of download games on a Nintendo console, and I never thought they would screw it up this much!



Raylax said:

"Tragic"? Really? We're really stretching the lower boundaries of our vocabulary definitions today, aren't we?

It's unfortunate and certainly indicative of Nintendo's bizarre stance towards online marketplaces, but I'm not exactly sure what certifies this as a tragedy. Did I miss the part of the story where Iwata dropped by and murdered a kitten or something?



ultraraichu said:

"A story related to Kotaku by Nintendo fan Jon". I find this term been used rather loosely for a long time now. If he were a massive fan like they said, he would of keep up with the latest Nintendo news including Wii U and it's feature.

I had the same problem with my Wii U but my first instincts was to call and send to Nintendo knowing what it can and can't do, plus they're good at what they do; to each its own.

On that note I vote "I don't care either way" since it won't affect my current standing with my downloads and systems.



DreaddJester said:

To be honest, there is absolutely no excuse or reason why Nintendo can't just use your Club Nintendo ID as proof of ownership. The infostructure is already there it's just not being used.

At any given time I should be able to download any game that my Club Nintendo account shows I've purchased, on any system that is also linked to that same Club Nintendo account and is capable of running the game. This should also include retail purchases of games that are also now available in digital format.

If you think that's a bit radical and overboard it's not. It's a current industry standard. For instance, I can do exactly what I've said above for ANY game on my Steam account, including ones that I originally bought at retail such as Portal, XCOM, Half Life and such.



Spooky said:

I have no sympathy whatsoever, he should have contacted Nintendo directly and they would have transferred them straight to a shiny new Wii U for him under his warranty. Anyone who spends that sort of money should look into this first.



Yoshi3DS said:

this happened to me with my 3ds and mario 3d land 3dsxl. i spent around £50 on my 1st 3ds, then traded it in at game for the the white 3dsxl, but kept my original 3ds sd card. but when i tried to copy my games from my 1st sd card to the other it just wouldn't work! ive looked online and tried what people say but it just wont work. now im scared that if i mess with it too much ill lose my mario 3d land that is built into the new sd card. anyone had the same problem or have any ideas?



ShortSleevedNook said:

Doesn't matter to me, I would've gotten in touch with Nintendo, because I'm just worried about stuff like that. I mean, I probably would've known better, since I've read lots about Wii U. Feel bad for Jon.

But seriously, I wish I could put all Wii game saves on an SD card so I could play them on other Wii consoles. Also, I wish I could play WiiWare and Virtual Console games that I own on another system via SD card. But it doesn't let me, because it all has to be tied to one system. In the Wii's case, I don't mind too much because I usually just bring the Wii itself to a friend's house, because it's so small that I actually can. I wish it still had the handle on it like the



ShortSleevedNook said:

The best thing to do would be to contact Nintendo. Call them at 800-255-3700.
Seriously, it's the best thing you can do. Their service is fantastic, so I'm sure they'll help you out!



DreaddJester said:

Of course, if Nintendo were to do just what I said above it would most certainly cut into Nintendo's profits. How?? Well if my Club Nintendo ID showed that I had purchased the original Legend of Zelda game way back when it first came out then by industry standards they wouldn't be making any more money off of me when I downloaded it to other systems down the road.

This I suspect is the main reason that Nintendo keeps tying purchases to systems and not accounts. Nintendo loves to resell it's old games on new systems. It's set up so that every new system they kick out will have a whole backlog of old classics that they can trickle out and make money on. At the end of the day it's all about money and being able to resell the same game over and over again every so many years.

I still love Nintendo. But some of their business practices leave much to be desired.



goldbricks23 said:

Being a Nintendo fan always feels like the person who bets on the horse that always falls at the jumps you thought were the easiest. And when it makes a brilliant sprint to the front it misses another easy jump.



Meaty-cheeky said:

Nintendo needs to learn a thing or to from Steam. The Steams store and there online approach is flawless.



hiptanaka said:

The only right answer to the poll is "no", of course, but it's not a very big deal for me. If you own more than one Wii U, though, the issues become very apparent.



Spleetal said:

Never take it back to the store........ nintendo coulda transferred everything over, they should either advertise that if its broken in any way send it to Nintendo, or give the distributors acsess to transferring the data, cause dang that sucks, Isnt nintendo planning on changing this later on down the road?



Silvervisiona said:

Other than the save game data being lost, Nintendo has essentially given this gamer $200 for new games, which seems like a great deal to me. Sure, maybe I would want to own and replay some of the many lost titles, but I wouldn't even want to redownload all $400 worth of games, some of which I wouldn't ever need to pick up again. Now this gamer has a choice to get anything in the Wii U store, which will eventually retain many of the Virtual Console games that may have been lost. It still does suck though. But, I kinda wish I was the one who had made that "mistake".



sdcazares1980 said:

I don't plan on selling my Wii U, but if my Wii U were to break beyond repair or get lost/stolen, then what?

I know some of you are worried about the hacking problem, but that's why we have to keep logging to our e-mails and such to make sure that stuff like that doesn't happen. And if it does, then we contact the network and say "Hey, something is not right here."

Like NL said: in this day and age, it's inexcusable.



defrb said:

1) $200 for new games, sounds like a great deal to me too.
2) Nintendo downloads should not be tied to a single piece of hardware, its like digging their own grave



Tasuki said:

Sorry I dont feel for the guy cause he was stupid. He should have contacted Nintendo right away when his console stopped working not the store that he purchased it from. I dont blame Nintendo its the guy he learned his lesson the hard way and now I doubt he wont do it again.



Chomposaur said:

i voted NO ! ive been saying this for months now, why does nintendo do this ?? its because they want you to buy all of the same games OVER and OVER look at all the 3ds virtual console games we already have that we have seen on the wii 5-6 years ago. iwata needs to go if he thinks this is acceptable.i dont know what i would do if this happened to me lol



SkywardLink98 said:

Downloads should be tied to a single person not console. I shouldn't be able to give out account info and effectively my games (a friend of mine does that on steam), but I should be able to get my games back if my console breaks.



Knux said:

This is one of the main reasons that I'm very iffy about buying a Wii U until Nintendo removes the limitation of your account being tied to one system. Nintendo should be able to do this with ease. After all, Sony and Microsoft did this eons ago.

Nintendo also needs to make the 3DS account based without tying it to a piece of hardware and remove the limit on system transfers (or at least increase it to a much higher number than five for God's sake).

Your Nintendo account should not be tied to any piece of hardware, and both your Wii U and 3DS should be connected to it. If either of those devices ceases to function or get stolen, then you'll have to jump through a lot more hoops than what you would have to do if a non-Nintendo device bites the dust.

There's no excuse for this, no matter what Nintendo says. I know that they like to do things their way, but it's always not the right way.

And to me, $200 is still a poor apology. It only covers half of what that guy purchased and it's not even in the same funds format as the VC and WiiWare games that he bought. Don't tell me the guy was stupid and got what he deserved either. He shouldn't have to go out of his way to call Nintendo and send his console in because of a faulty system if he doesn't want to. Consumers should have options.

This is probably one of the reasons why the Wii U is currently getting such horrible third party support too. Nintendo has been attempting to stay ''old-fashioned'' since the days of the N64, and it harmed them more than anything else.

But the thing that baffles me the most is that people actually voted ''yes''. What? Do you want Nintendo to remain backwards and not make any progress?



Phle said:

This is one of the reasons I don't download many games to my 3DS or my Wii U. I download a few, and then usually games that only are available for download. I mainly get the games as physical copies (I even pay more than the download price just to get the physical copy). If I knew I could re-download the games if the hardware broke I might feel differently.



Chomposaur said:

very true i fully agree with skywardlink. all the other gaming companies do the same Microsoft,Sony,Apple,steam just to name a few so why on earth does nintendo have to be different ?? nintendo will never fix this issue as long as iwata is in charge because all the decisionions in nintendo go through him.we had it with the wii,dsi and 3ds so thats from 2007-2013 this issue has still not been fixed or even adressed. i bet if you went up to reggie in E3 and asked him i bet he wouldent give you an answer and run away



Void said:

Terrible move by Nintendo, it's not like it can't be changed, though, but it doesn't really bother me eitherway, as I can't think of the last system videogame system I had that broke... Or got rid of in any way.



cornishlee said:

"Once a system has been sold or traded in, and the system is no longer in possession of the original owner, the downloadable content cannot be recovered."

No, but if it has been sold or traded in then anyone else who buys it has access to that content if it hasn't been deleted. Do Nintendo really not see that potentially this approach costs them as many sales as it saves?



warvad said:

I thought Nintendo makes it VERY clear you need to contact them to fix any problems on a device that has digital purchases on it. Jon made a mistake, it just happened to be a huge, tragic mistake. This doesn't change that Nintendo's whole handling of digital releases in general is so ass-backwards. The system comes with a year warranty for a reason.



DePapier said:

It dawned on me the reason why Nintendo HQ has quit never been affected by such negativity over all those years: because thank God most of them only speak Japanese.



SageWaterDragon said:

This is this guy's fault. Any person with half a brain would read the instruction manual. It explicitly says that you shouldn't return it.



WesCash said:

The only logical explanation for people voting "yes" is that they misread the question and meant to choose "no". Seriously, how can anyone be so naive?

@Knux - I agree with everything you said, this is one of the reasons I'm iffy about getting a WiiU as well. I even feel a bit nervous about buying the occasional game on the 3DS eshop. Compare that to Steam where I have no worries whatsoever.



Bass_X0 said:

On that note I vote "I don't care either way" since it won't affect my current standing with my downloads and systems.

What about those people who do have problems?



CerberusAzdin said:

Nintendo Online = 1 Step forward, 2 steps back -_- feel for your loss Jon. Nintendo need to up their online/download game (no punt intended).



hYdeks said:

@Pac-Suit that is very awesome of them to do that, but the way they do things is still very inconvient lol just link all peoples downloads to a email account like psn/xbla does, it just makes more sense that way



WaxxyOne said:

I don't think I'm quite to the $400 mark but I do have at least hundreds put into VC games on the Wii that have now been transferred to the Wii U. When I got my Wii U, I pulled my old Wii out of storage (I had a new one, but the original had all the VC titles on it) to transfer the games. I found out it would no longer turn on. I called Nintendo support and they confirmed that the system had to power on to complete the transfer, so I was SOL with a broken system.

The options I had were basically to lose all those purchases, or to send the Wii in for repair. I was told the standard repair fee was $80 plus shipping. Given the circumstances, the technician cut that in half and I paid $40 plus shipping to repair the system and I did eventually get my games transferred.

That's not a horrible outcome (certainly not as bad as Jon's example above), and I did appreciate the technician being very friendly and ready to give me a 50% discount because of the inconvenience, but things like this just shouldn't be happening today. If Nintendo had a unified online account that my stuff was tied to, and their systems respected that, none of this bad PR would be happening to them. You'd think they would fix the system rather than lose business to their competitors who implemented better models years ago.



FullbringIchigo said:

no they shouldn't be tied to a single console i think they should do what sony is doing with the playstation 3 and locking your games to 2 consoles but allowing you to deactivate and reactivate the consoles on the internet and thus alowing you to redownload the games on a new console



zool said:

I have created a web site to express my disappointment and concern about how I was treated by Nintendo UK and Nintendo of Europe. Disappointment because as a loyal Nintendo customer I was not allowed to re-download my ambassador games to my new 3ds after my original 3ds was stolen. And concern because Nintendo have refused to delete my personal information from the stolen console.
You can see my site here........




Nintendo should consider revamping their user accounts system since their downloads earnings are slowly increasing. And if Apple, Steam, Microsoft, Adobe, and Sony lets users tie purchases to their user accounts, those users have new expectations of how purchases should be handled. Regardless of what's keeping the company from enabling account-based purchases, this poll makes it clear that things might need to be rethought.




Only 255 votes?? Lol, this poll's probably biased towards people who want transferable purchases.



jayblue said:

i buy for my ps3 i can play games on my vita,i have lost vc games on a broken wii though i could just add them to my new wii no chance i had to pay for the same games all over again,now i keep all vc on memory card but its still tied to one console transfered games to wii u cant play them on my wii now.nintendo is years behind sony and xbox with anything online at all.multiplayer is a complete joke but thats for another time,nintendo give me a call if you want things to be done right.



Tasuki said:

@JogurtTheYogurt: Actually if you must know I voted I honestly dont care either way. I know that the download stuff is linked to a console rather than a person so I know what to do instead of whine and moan like you all.



sinalefa said:

I agree that the word "tragic" is exaggerating things. Another article probably netting lots of comments. Not surprised here.
Please keep your comments focused on the article at hand, thank you! — TBD

I agree that purchases should not be system tied. If you buy a second Wii U and register it at Club Nintendo, that should give you the right to redownload all the stuff you bought on the first one free of charge, as you are proving you own both consoles. They can limit it to two so it does not get abused, as they seem to fear that.



Sean_Aaron said:

It's unfortunate that this guy didn't contact Nintendo rather than go back to the shop. I would have thought it pretty obvious that if you have downloadable content you need to contact Nintendo about getting it transferred before doing anything else as was the case with the Wii.

Nevertheless this does need to change and I'm surprised that Nintendo didn't do something about this during the Wii's generation. Apple did it to ensure that people who buy Apple hardware are able to upgrade and users are actively encouraged to get the latest and greatest kit. With all the special edition Wiis Nintendo has released over the years not being able to get fans to upgrade because downloadable content or save data with online components cannot be transferred seems like a big missed opportunity that shouldn't be repeated with the Wii U.

I know that if Nintendo releases a new model with better system specs a couple of years from now I'd potentially be interested in making the upgrade, but only if there's a straightforward way to transfer my NNID from one system to another. There's a couple more updates planned for this year so hopefully one of them will address this shortcoming.



Will-75 said:

Whats with all the Nintendo bashing and hate lately ; We have two Wii U's at our house and I'm 110% HAPPY with the system- I AGREE with Jon was dumb he knew better I think it was Awesome of Nintendo to give him something back they are a Company first and foremost, I think the Wii U has some kick-Ass features to it and being a gamer I can say I have yet to see a Perfect system I mean could there even be such a thing ? LOL



med088 said:

It's still a poor system even if you use the argument that he should have known better.

My younger brother had his 3DS stolen from him. So he's lost all the games he's purchased as well as his ambassador titles.



SCAR said:

This Jon should have known to contact Nintendo with his problem. My Wii still had my account when I got it back from Nintendo repairs, because I accidentally laid it down flat when it was vetical with a disc in it. People should know by now that they need to contact Nintendo first, unless they just bought it, and it has NO purchases on it.
Just think of a broken Nintendo console this way: You don't just replace your body everytime you get sick or break a bone, you heal, but you're not getting younger. You don't just replace your body with another one everytime yours isn't doing well.
There were ways to avoid this. We get it, Sony, Microsoft, and Apple have account sharing/transferring, and Nintendo doesn't. Consider yourselves lucky they let you do that, otherwise there would be 1000x more stories than this for those easily breakable, hardware updatable consoles. Even if your console is stolen, they have ways to get your games back, otherwise if you had the console, you would transfer, right? Take care of your stuff, repair or replace your stuff through Nintendo. End of story.



SCAR said:

E-mail addresses and accounts can be a pain, too, so that's not a good way to link an account. It was a pain in the neck for me when Microsoft changed my e-mail account without telling me, and voided my Xbox Live. PSN getting hacked for a couple months made some people lose thousands, all because they need every little bit of info to verify your account, which can leave you open to future problems if that happens again. No system is bullet proof, and those account systems are a ticking time bomb with no apparent time limit, Nintendo's account system is a bomb you set off yourself.



Moshugan said:

At least 17 people voted YES?? :I
@SkywardLink98 #44 ''Downloads should be tied to a single person not console.''
To an extent I agree. But how would that work, and be controlled?



scrubbyscum999 said:

Nintendo should really change this. If they want to be taken seriously they have to keep up with the times. Nintendo is extremely stubborn though. However, this was JON's mistake. It takes literally 6 minutes if that for him to find out the info for what to do in his situation. He should've looked up what to do.



LavaTwilight said:

I'm sorry but I wouldn't want to lose $400 or even $200 just like that. I can understand why they put it on the eshop but they really should have provided the full amount of credit! Even if half was on the eshop and the other half came in the form of Nintendo Points. In any case... Ouch!



GN0LAUM said:

"You could argue that Jon was stupid for returning his Wii U when Nintendo has made it clear that system transfers can only be done by them...". Yes, I can argue that Jon is stupid, and I will: Jon is stupid. Either that, or he's lying, and this was a way to try to get all of his games a second time on a new console.

My experience with Nintendo has been fantastic. When my old Wii's disc drive stopped working (I voided the warranty by trying to fix it) Nintendo told me they would transfer my VC licenses onto a new system if I so wished. I bought a new Wii, sent in the broken one and they shipped them both back to me with all my VC games ON BOTH CONSOLES! I now have two Wii's with huge VC libraries on them.



Discostew said:

While the problem is being worked on for Wii U downloads, I doubt they'll be able to integrate Wii downloads into the eShop as easily. As it is with upcoming VC, you're getting a completely new copy for a small fee that is in the Wii U format and retaining the Wii version, rather than upgrading from Wii to Wii U.



ecco6t9 said:

It's been this way for 6 years, everyone knows about it.

Secondly most electronics clearly state "DO NOT RETURN TO RETAILER".



Nintendaholic said:

if they did make it untied. wouldnt i be able to give my friend an eshop title, when im done with it?



Sean_Aaron said:

@ecco6t9: Actually most consumer electronics manufacturers will instruct you to return it to the place of purchase within the first 30 days or so; only leveraging the warranty after the point when you could normally get a refund. At least that's been my experience in the UK.



Slapshot said:

I'm really glad you guys decided to run this article. I'd read this yesterday and it really bums me out that this happen to this guy. I sold off a Wii with over $200 worth of downloadable material on it and I've not purchased much from Nintendo's online stores ever since.



retro_player_22 said:

The fact that Nintendo donate him $200 out of their own pocket to correct for his mistake is actually more generous of them. Everyone knows that if the system is faulty, the best thing to do is send it off to Nintendo. Also of the $400, $200 of them titles were probably Nintendo published/associated titles, Nintendo can't refund lost funds for games he bought which is not associated/published by them meaning values for 3rd party and indie-dev games like Final Fantasy IV: The After Years, Mega Man 9 & 10, Sonic 4: Episode I, LostWinds, the StrongBad series, etc., cannot be refunded.



mookysam said:

Nintendo's approach is utterly antiquated. As others have said, by tying purchases to a single piece of hardware, they can compel repurchase of the same games every time a new console/handheld is released. I bought Final Fantasy VII and Persona on my PSP. If I get a Vita I will be able to redownload them both free of charge. I can also redownload all my purchased PS1 classics on my PS3 free of charge.

Making the consumer jump through as many hoops as possible if their console breaks isn't a particularly persuasive defence, especially given consumer rights in the UK. Nintendo must at least match what their competitors are doing with regard to user accounts given the wider challenges they face in the console market.



StarDust4Ever said:

Nintendo needs to fix this. My house got burglerized in 2006 shortly before Wii launched, and my mom lost a lot of silver jewelery. I had my GameCube stolen as well. All this shortly before the Wii came out.

I eventually went to second-hand game stores and bought back a lot of the titles I'd lost, well at least my favorites. And Game Cubes were super cheap around the time. If that happened to us again with my Wii-U (which has boatloads of VC titles I transfered from Wii, including a few that were discontinued, like DK Country) as well as my 3DS, and I lost all my VC purchases, I would be very upset. While it's great that I still have many of the original consoles to play games on, it's convenient to play games on Wii, and some are rare, imports, or hard to find. I already bought some of them twice (once on cartridge, once on VC), and if I lost the all and had to repurchase, I'd probably say "screw it" and go back to retro gaming.



retro_player_22 said:

You probably need to go get some better security for your house though, you never could know, if it happen once it'll likely happen again. Other than that Nintendo did mention that they are trying to implement a similar approach to this at a later time this time.



Shane904 said:

They need to do this already. If you have an in-store warranty, a lot of times they ship your 3DS off before you get your new one - you can't do a transfer.



Peppy_Hare said:

One of the reasons I've for-goed VC collecting (after purchasing 40+ games) for the original titles. It costs more but so worth it in the end.



Lin1876 said:

This is my problem with Nintendo. I still love the games, but stupid things like this simply should not happen in 2013. D -, must try harder!



SCAR said:

It was actually quite the opposite with me. I sold alot of my old cartridges to go digital. I just can't stand a cartridge anymore.
His case would be laughed at, because it tells you in the eShop, and the system setting to not do exactly this. We would have seen more cases against Nintendo, or any company for that matter if everyone sued. Even McDonalds lost millions to a lady who got 3rd degree burns from spilling coffee on herself, just because the coffee cup didn't say 'CAUTION: CONTENTS MAY BE HOT'. That's not the case here, because Nintendo tells you not to do exactly what Jon did.



jayblue said:

putting eshop games on memory card is safest for this guy losing money on eshop most of us have been caught out losing some games chance you take buying downloads long live the disc.



kyuubikid213 said:

Poor decision on the guy's part. However, I will say that Nintendo should have the accounts like PSN and XBL.

I, personally, don't have a problem with the single-system approach since it prevents piracy. I welcome the change, but it won't bug me if they don't change...



AlGator said:

Nintendo's backwards thinking on this dramatically impacts the money I spend on the eShop. In fact, at this point I've just about stopped spending money on it, except for an occasional very cheap game. I'm not going to take the risk of losing those games if my 3DS is lost or stolen. The lack of an account system is a major part of my decision not to buy a Wii U. Wake up, Nintendo!

@jayblue, putting the games on a memory card won't help you, because you can't put that card into another system and play those games.



Shanksta said:

Granted not calling Nintendo is stupid, but you can't blame the guy. If that happened to me I would literally cry. At least they credited him some money but 200 bucks is alot.



Neram said:

This is why I've been hesitant to make the switch to downloadable games. There's just no assurance that your purchases are yours. You're just leaving it in the hands of whichever service you're buying from. Sure, with physical media it can get stolen or become broken, but at least it's left to your responsibility.



RoboConker said:

I really wish it was tied to the account, but i understandb what Nintendo is saying, because there is a easy way to get free games on xbox live you will need a friend to do it, but im not going to say it, i dont want to get ban from this website.



V8_Ninja said:

Yeah...Nintendo really, really, really needs to get a multi-platform, universal account system together.



LztheQuack said:

@DrSlump It also depends on the "Terms and conditions" that no one reads. If this was part of those conditions, then his case will be tossed out.



Burning_Spear said:

Really? Sue for $200? And give 66 to the lawyer. His purchase only guaranteed use on the Wii console onto which it was downloaded. It was his mistake. Whether the policy is a good one or not, it was his mistake.

Just another case of twisted thinking. Most companies would have given him zilch. Nintendo gives him 200 dollars and it's a tragedy.



Eien1239 said:

It's not tied to the hardware really. It's just that nintendo has to do the transfer for you for RIGHT NOW .They have to perfect the security of this account system they really can't afford a major hack like the PSN debacle. Sony fans easily forgave them, Nintendo fans will not seeing these comments atm.
The word TRAGIC is an example of the poison being placed in these sites. did he lose his damn family,home ...... NO the word to use is unfortunate, or dumb on his part.



MagicEmperor said:

Is it really difficult to have a universal account? I'll never understand Nintendo's logic here. But, honestly, I think both Nintendo and Jon are at fault here. Jon should have contacted Nintendo, and Nintendo needs to wise up.



Wheels2050 said:

I can't believe people are seriously defending Nintendo here.

This is a simple, basic system that should have been implemented years ago. Nintendo needs to pull their finger out and implement an account-based system.



Chomposaur said:

Personally i cannot see a Universal Nintendo account system that would mean getting the 3DS VC titles for free if you already own them on your Wii U, because its Nintendo they want you to pay for the games all over again like the Wii to the Wii U VC

like i said before as long as iwata is in charge us nintendo fans will never see an Account-based system



Zombie_Barioth said:

Marching to the beat of your own drum is perfectly fine, but when its something that makes YOU look bad then you have a problem on your hands. Its so common place that people have just come to except it as a thing so not having it and their attitude towards it makes them look really ignorant. They would be much better off using an actual account system and limiting the number of consoles you can be logged into at one time.

As for Jon being foolish its very common (and even encouraged) to return your faulty products to the store rather than send it in for repair, and you can't blame the guy for assuming his NNID is transferable like with every other device.



SPEtheridge said:

Nintendo need to fix this, i used to buy loads on my Wii until i couldn't get back my downloads, (I bought a black Wii when they came out n gave the old one to my Brother) Now i won't even go for downloads any more since its a mess to sort if something does happen where you lose them.



gazamataz said:

so john spent 400 hundred on games that he played and enjoyed or hated.then he lost the games and he got 200 back to spend on new games that he has'nt played.sounds sweet to me.



Grodus said:

Ok. The problem here is the max is $200, unless I'm insane and that's just the 3DS max. Anyway, what nintendo should've done is give him 200,000 points too, then all would be fine. As @Cipher (3) said, that one guy even got compensation, too, but Jon had the max they can give him (unless they want to include 3DS if he has one).

EDIT: Also, you can very simply just make so each account can only be locked into one Wii U at a time, so only one copy is floating around, like a retail game.



Grodus said:

@Burning_Spear The problem is, with "most companies," there would be an account-based system to prevent this. But I do agree nintendo is a lot better for compensation.



nilcam said:

It's an asinine approach especially considering how frequently Nintendo iterates on its systems. I recently had my PS3 laser go out and it was cheaper to trade in the old console and get a new, improved console than to have the older system fixed. I traded in the broken system and a few hours later, my entire library was available on the new system and I was back in business.



DaveC said:

Stuff like this is why I avoid the e-shop at all costs. I never download something if I can get a real physical copy. If it is download only I have to want it really bad to buy it.

The DRM is just too restrictive and a hassle. Will I still be able to transfer a game or re-download free in 5 years if my 3DS breaks? Probably not. It is at the whims of a 3rd party as to if i can get my games back. You just never know. I say don't download something if you want to keep it. Think of download titles as rentals.



Ichiban said:

Seriously, get your poo together Nintendo!!
I'm glad I don't download games myself, but the fact that this system is in place baffles me. Even worse is that there are people here actually defending it!
One of Nintendo's stupidest decisions ever, they seem to have a real knack for them lately too!



SCAR said:

I don't really think anyone's defending it, as much as they are saying it's not that big of a deal. This didn't need to happen. I have way more games on my account than this kid, and I'm not worried. If my console breaks(by spilling water on it to test it's short circuit limit), it's in warranty, and will be $80 to fix if it's not. Has anyone done 'torture' tests on the Wii U yet? We should be more concerned about that IMO.



brooks83 said:

Does Nintendo even care anymore? It seems they have just given up. Wake up Nintendo! The success of the Wii U depends on it.



gaDronilDdos said:

How can you spend 400$ on eshop ?
I cant come up with games worth even 100$ that are worth getting.



CharbroiledEwok said:

I had the exact same problem as THIS guy (, but Nintendo didn't charge me a dime to fix it - they said I'd been a loyal customer too long to do otherwise.

However, I neglected to back up my game save data (long story...), so I lost all my progress. BUT! At least all my games were (eventually) transferred over...



SuperCharlie78 said:

This bullcrap from Nintendo means less purchases, and less third party support.
And this is the very reason I only bought (or I should say "rent") just e few Wiiwares.
This is so incredibly stupid I just don't know what to say anymore.



Rerun said:

This is showy I only go digital if I absolutely have to. I prefer hardcopies. The only stuff I ever bought digital are the digital only releases.

IMHO, digital is just tough to manage. I remember when a friend of mine moved away from the US, he had issues with his iTunes purchases because he had to switch stores.



Kage_88 said:

I'm happy to defend Nintendo on many matters, but I simply can't do it here.

I recently said that Nintendo shouldn't copy/paste competitors' online services; that they should create their own, unique experiences. I stand by that statement...but come on, having a unified account for all systems is...







Bass_X0 said:

Yes its wrong that Nintendo are behind the times. But they haven't decieved anyone. If you've spent $400 on downloadable games, you're going to want to know exactly whats going to happen to your downloads if there's a fault. It is stupid to act on assumptions, not knowing the full facts. I would be extra careful to research all that I need to know before doing anything with a faulty system. Thats common sense.



Shworange said:

Honestly, this kids of story is why I haven't purchased a retail title via download. I've been tempted to, but then I remember that it could all go away with one little accident. Come on Nintendo. I know you don't want to lose money, but this isn't the way!



uximal said:

This is a sad story, Really Nintendo... In this day an age...come on, Very poor infrastructure but I know it will improve in the future.



FantasiaWHT said:

This is more of a problem with the unnecessary divide between Wii and WiiU than it is with tying downloads to one machine.

Nintendo has a point that people could easily be scamming the system and trying to get free downloads.



jboy1807 said:

Jon is a TOTAL IDIOT..

Nintendo have certainly got the right idea! Unlike both Microsoft and Sony who rip users off!!
I recently sold my 360 with a tonne of downloaded games, could I sell the downloaded games with my console? NO ... They are tied to an account in my name which i no longer use!!!! Resulting in a total waste of MY MONEY!
When I come to sell my WiiU, will I be able to sell the downloaded games with it? YES!!!!!
Nintendo have done us proud!!



Mike1 said:

I honestly don't care either way. First off, why get rid of the Wii anyway. Someday when I buy the Wii U, I sure as hell am not getting rid of my Wii. It's the same reason that my Gamecube is hooked up right next to my Wii, I never get rid of systems.



mastersworddude said:

If there is one thing I hate about Nintendo Life it's the countless Nintendrones who defend Nintendo no matter what and will never admit Nintendo could make a mistake.

Tying it to the console is really an archaic system for full retail downloads.



Henmii said:

I voted no, as most people! It's a big fear from me: The more games I download, the more I fear I will lose them someday!

Nintendo, just make this stop! By the way: I can imagine allllll the people who Nintendo lost because they where pissed of losing their games! Those people are probably lost forever! Do you even realize that, Nintendo?!



CaPPa said:

If your Wii U broke then Nintendo would replace it and transfer all your games/saves to the new system. They did it for my Wii (for free too) and it only took 4 dys to return (unlike Microsoft who take up to 3 months). If 'Jon' had done that then he wouldn't have had a problem.

Likewise if it was stolen then they may reimburse you (I've heard it happen before), but that is probably more of a friendly gesture on a case by case basis (you'd need a Police report for a start).

There are obviously problems with purchases being tied to a system, but hopefully this will be rectified in the future (maybe when we get Miiverse on 3DS we'll get unified accounts too).



Ridien said:

Why don't you guys link the other Kotaku story? You know, the one where the guy did the proper thing, and Nintendo gave him 57,000 Wii points and an extra $50 in eshop credit for the inconvenience?



rayword45 said:

@jboy1807 That is a wrong opinion and you should feel bad.

Jerkish comments aside, seriously, how can you protect this? YOu could just as easily sell your damn account.



GamerFromJump said:

Nintendo can track every purchase you make via Club Nintendo. They know darn well that you have bought a game, and you should be able to get it on your console if you replace it, as is industry-standard practice.

There is no excuse for this system, Nintendo. None.

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