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Satoru Iwata Outlines Retail Download Strategies and a Future of NFC

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"Nintendo platforms’ digital business still has room to grow"

If you're a traditionalist that doesn't like the idea of retail downloads, DLC and additional paid extras for games, look away now. As Nintendo seeks to maximise revenues and hit its 100 billion Yen operating profit target, it's going to offer us more games content to buy for both retail and download-only titles. We can also expect to see more varied ways to buy downloadable content, with the imminent arrival of retail download code cards in Europe — and surely in North America at some point — Nintendo is also planning to expand its use of the NFC (near field communication) technology in the Wii U GamePad.

In terms of the value of selling download codes within stores, Satoru Iwata has highlighted that while a quarter of Animal Crossing: New Leaf sales in Japan and South Korea — which is from a total of 3.86 million units — are downloads, 68% of those downloads have come from retail codes and cards purchased from retailers. So by our maths, around 965,000 download copies of this title have been sold, and roughly 656,200 of those copies have been from retailers rather than directly through the eShop. Iwata-san explained how gamers in the region were clearly more comfortable picking up downloads from familiar retailers, but pointed out that the very act of then logging into the eShop to redeem the code will increase their awareness of the platform. The Nintendo President also demonstrated how a solid percentage of those that downloaded Animal Crossing: New Leaf — from Club Nintendo respondents — went on to choose the download option for Tomodachi Collection, another title well suited to regular, short bursts of play.

Addressing Wii U, Satoru Iwata expanded on comments earlier on the year with firmer plans to utilise NFC on the Wii U, using the scanner built into the GamePad. The NFC figurines for Wii U eShop title Pokèmon Scramble U were mentioned, and it was also confirmed that the company is working on an e-money card that can be used on the system. This will use the "Suica" card commonly used to pay for public transport in Japan, though NFC cards like this are common for transportation around the world. By using an NFC fund card, Nintendo would aim to make buying downloads more convenient and quick to complete than manually entering credit card details or saving that information on the console.

We can in all likelihood expect the NFC initiative, in particular, to have a trial run in Japan before coming West, though as we've seen with download code retail cards successful ideas are likely to be localised to the West. After a number of years of Nintendo being considered as a back-marker in the race to modern online connectivity, it should be noted that the NFC cards will be a first for any home console. If you don't like downloads you should be fine with physical games in the immediate future, but those embracing the digital era look to have more choices and convenience on the way.


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User Comments (21)



Ernest_The_Crab said:

So is this sort of like PayPass? If so it could still have some security issues, namely any random person goes near you and reads the card information. They better have a good system in place to deal with that.



hiptanaka said:


It's basically cash, but on a card. Anyone can walk up to you and steal your money if you leave it on the table, right? The distance for NFC is only like an inch.



ravj17 said:

This is good, but here in Colombia and many others countries in Latin America do not have E shop service... so we cannot buy anything from there.



SCAR said:

I knew they were gonna let you add funds using the NFC... All they got to do is add a 'scan card' option in the add funds area, and no more scrathing or reading.
I didn't even know what that symbol was below the D pad was until the Pokemon video honestly.



Wilford111 said:

Nintendo's being very careful with their add-on content and dlc. I'd better savor the moment though - there's nothing but more in the future. It's entirely possible there will be no more video games at retail in the future.



DerpSandwich said:

Nintendo, I don't normally like blatant ripoffs, but due to the sheer perfectness of the idea I'm giving you my full permission to completely rip off Skylanders with a Pokemon game. This game with the cheap figures is a good start, but we need a huge adventure with awesome collectible figurines, and we need it now. And that leveling system is genius!



SanderEvers said:

So soon I'd be able to buy games with my Dutch OV-Chipkaart (NFC based public transportation card)

One can dream, right?

@SCAR392 You didn't read the manual then?



Kyoto said:

Would be awesome if you could use your OV-Chipkaart indeed XD I think that's never gonna happen. Nevertheless, NFC is convenient and can be fun.



ULTRA-64 said:

My phone has nfc.....wonder if they could let me connect my miiverse account with my phone to update/ log in/ maybe even out of house edit characters....would be very convenient and I guess pretty secure!?! fact, while I'm dreaming how about this- the update will allow standby downloads, in theory I could choose(on my phone) a download/update and simply tap my phone on the game pad on the way out/in the house to confirm/start the process???



ACK said:

Although I much prefer physical copies with all the content on the card/disc... I'm not offended. My vast experiences with expensive, hard-to-find/out-of-print games gives me an appreciation for the persistent availability of downloadable titles.

DLC is OK, as well, when done properly... But it will take me awhile to get over the precedent set by the Limit Breaker skill for Fire Emblem: Awakening... I understand it's utility (TSON), but it really diminishes some of the inherent strategy and balance within the game design. It's probably the only skill in the game that enhances any unit over any other available option, regardless of it's cohesion within a skill set. Even worse, it's encouraged for tackling the most difficult (currently unavailable) DLC, which simply shouldn't be necessary.



FineLerv said:

Most DLC is garbage and overpriced. I can count on one hand the amount of DLC that I've paid for and haven't felt ripped-off.



Captain_Gonru said:

I'm not looking forward to digital-only, as I prefer buying my hardware in a store vs. online. "What do you mean, Captain?" you may be saying to yourself. It's simple. Retailers make very little off of hardware. Most of the profits come from software. So, if there is no software to sell, why waste valuable floor space on hardware? And I'm not just talking about Gamestop here. This applies to the Targets and Wal-Marts of the world, too.
So, no thanks, I'll keep my cartridges, thank you.



ACK said:

@Captain_Gonru: Interestingly, my wife works as essentially the head of our local Target's electronics. Being a massive 3DS fan herself, she made a stink to Target corporate that they only have 3 3DSs combined (2 red, 1 purple XL). Their response was that no more are coming anytime soon.

Either Nintendo has something up it's sleeve (I worry about the XL screen durability and Nintendo's customer service policies), or they are seriously cutting stock. This is the most profitable Target in the district with a high traffic electronics department.



Captain_Gonru said:

@ACK I know that my local Target has had no issues getting replenished on their 3DS stock (besides the Pikachu XLs, of course), but has been routinely short on software. When asked, the Nintendo rep quickly chirps back about the prepaid money cards and downloading from the eShop. There's your "something up (their) sleeve".



SCAR said:

I hardly ever read any manuals. I only looked through the Wii U manual for the Wii transfer, but nothing else.



MrKoopa said:

Nintendo has to make an account-based system before I download any retail games. It's just stupid that the downloaded software is tied to the system.

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