News Article

Miyamoto: Consumers Should Have Access To Their Games "For A Long Time"

Posted by Damien McFerran

What's yours should be yours

Microsoft has shot itself in the foot so many times over the past few weeks that we imagine it's running perilously short on toes right now, but one of the biggest PR disasters it has experienced has to be the Xbox One's policy regarding game ownership. When you buy a game for the forthcoming console, you're effectively purchasing the licence to play it — which can be retracted at any point, rendering the actual disc useless.

Nintendo clearly isn't going to adopt the same tactics any time soon. Speaking to Eurogamer, Shigeru Miyamoto has made it clear that the company believes consumers should have ownership of the software they purchase, and be able to revisit it in years to come:

What's really important is viewing Nintendo almost like a toy company where we're making these things for people to play with. As a consumer you want to be able to keep those things for a long time and have those things from your youth that you can go back to and experience again.

I really want to retain that product nature of the games that we create so that people can do that and have that experience. To me that's something that's very important about entertainment itself. So from the approach of continuing to create things that are entertaining for people, that's an important direction for me that I want to maintain.

While it's encouraging to hear such sensible comments, Miyamoto's words do rather fly in the face of Nintendo's current stance on digital game ownership. Purchases on both 3DS and Wii U are tied to the hardware, meaning that if you lose or break your console, you run the risk of losing access to the games you've purchased. Hopefully Miyamoto's comments suggest that Nintendo is closer than ever to rectifying this oversight by creating an account-based system, as is currently used by Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Google.

Even so, as gaming moves towards dropping physical games, can it ever be said that you truly own what you pay for, even with an account-based purchase system? We've already seen games withdrawn from the Wii Virtual Console, which effectively means that you can't download them again.

What are your thoughts on the whole Microsoft game ownership situation, and Miyamoto's reaction to it? Share your feelings by posting a comment below.


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User Comments (84)



SetupDisk said:

I was pretty sure the withdrawn games could be redownloaded if you purchased them beforehand. Not 100% on this though.



WinterWarm said:

@Damo Dude, one of the tags says 'Industy.' You might want to add a 'R.'

Also, it's 'license,' not licence. Unless that's a UK thing. . .



DrKarl said:

The Wii U has updates and patches for games. What happens in 20 years when I stick the New Super Mario Bros. U disc into a Wii U? I will have to play the original version of the game, and not the patched/updated one that I will remember from earlier years.



Rect_Pola said:

Sounds good.
Nintendo's issues with with digital medal are annoying as hell, but no big surprise. They've literally crawled their way into the digital age. They have done some great things when they did get around to it though.



Captain_Toad said:

What Microsoft is doing to their new console and how they're handling the reactions toward it is so idiotic, i'm surprised they have any brains left at this point (i'm not kidding).
Thank you nintendo for not following this practice.



ToxieDogg said:

@ Damien What are you on about? Miyamoto's comments don't fly in the face of anything. If you lose or break an old toy, you can't play with it anymore. If you lose or break one of your old game carts, you can't play it anymore. If you lose or break the system you downloaded a Nintendo game on, you can't play it anymore. Either way, as long as you still look after them all, you can play with them (potentially) forever without the need for internet verification



Fazermint said:

Miyamoto knows where it's at. I don't want to rent games, I want to own them, and I want to be able to play them in 10 years. And when the time comes, by kids can enjoy them



Aviator said:

Unless I'm mistaken, the Xbox One doesn't take away a game from you once you've played it. When you buy it, it's yours.



Whopper744 said:

I've said it many times before, this is one reason I stick with Nintendo. Miyamoto has always impressed me with his games, and just the way he looks at things. I wish he would come to WV sometime, because I'd like to meet the guy.



SetupDisk said:

Oh I guess you mean if your system gets stolen or broke. But I thought if you sent it in for repair it would retain the games linked to the system.



ted-k said:

Good point. And it's rare you hear of Nintendo products breaking or suddenly not working. It's never happened to me or anyone I know anyway, even people who don't really look after their stuff.

Gotta love Miyamoto! He seems to have a genuine passion for making games.



GraveLordXD said:

Miyamoto one of the only people in the gaming industry who actually get it
Much respect to you for that brother



Kirk said:

Totally agree.

These consoles and games should be like toys in the sense that once you buy them they are yours forever to do with as you please.

If I want to store my console in a cupboard and bring it out ten years in the future to play a specific game then I should be able to do that.

If I want to pass down my console or any particular game to my little brother at some point in the future I should be able to do that.

If I want to trade in my games for a little cash so I can afford to buy a new game I'm excited about I should be able to do that.

If I want to access and play my games when I don't have an Internet connection I should be able to do that (assuming it's not the online part of the game I'm trying to play obviously).

I want to feel like I actually own the things I buy and I can enjoy them as and how I please and do with them whatever I like.

That's a huge part of what defines a satisfying product.



SteveW said:

so basically all Xbox One games are rental only... it's funny that a large company like Microsoft can be so stupid at times...



marck13 said:

I agree with Nintendo. It's the way to go when you are committed to deliver quality products. Microsoft at the other hand.. well just think about it, how are your experiences with their games and products like Windows etc?
Iwata seems to be bowing and apologize a lot lately, but imagine Bill Gates and how often he should have appeared to apologize!



Shambo said:

as a collector, i need my physical copies. and those worthy i keep, others i sell. all options that are unavailable or never 100% guaranteed with digital copies.
if i go to a friend, i want to be able to take my games along without redownloading, limiting the number of consoles left to possibly play them on, or paying fees.
and indeed, i want to be able to replay them in twenty years.
should i ever have kids, i want them to play my old games as they can play with my old lego's. therefore the toy analogy is sublime in my opinion.



th3r3ds0x said:

@DrKarl well unless they are still selling Wii U systems in 20 years your existing Wii U should have the software updates. Understandably you may delete this at some point to make room for something but at the same time Nintendo isn't going to be dropping support for Wii U without you having an opportunity to download any updates you need beforehand.



hypercoyote said:

On the topic of taking away things, I still remember my PS3 I purchased that had the ability to run Linux.....until Sony decided it was a security hole and took the entire feature away rather than patching the hole. I'm still baffled as to how that was not illegal (yes, I know it was in the TOS, but even things in TOS have to abide by existing laws to be legally binding).

And yea, the toy comparison is on point. I guess that's why I've always liked Nintendo, it's like throughout the years, they still have the same philosophy about making great games. Nintendo succeeds because they make great games. I feel like most mainstream games succeed not because they're great games but because they feed the majority of non-core gamers' desire for violence, sex, whatever, thus boosting their sales enough to turn a profit.



DrKarl said:

@th3r3ds0x True. However, that is still FAR different from previous Nintendo consoles. If I buy a N64 at a rummage sale, it doesn't matter what games had been played on it previously.

What Miyamoto is saying sounds good at first, but it doesn't hold water given the Wii U. I find it to be a disingenuous statement, made only to kick Microsoft while they are down.



th3r3ds0x said:

@DrKarl well in their defense you can still play the game. If there are fixes you'd be missing those in the worst case but you still have the option to play the game. Keep in mind that the Wii U does not require an Internet connect in the first place. I don't think Nintendo has put out any games that won't function without an update.



Einherjar said:

There is a reason for mario to be recognized by almost everyone. Its because he never vanished into obscurity. Almost any mario game was made available to future genrations any different shapes or forms. I knew a few people who only knew newer mario titles, got the old ones via the VC and suddelny got interested in old game systems and their library. Most nintendo games arent made for their current generation, they are made for eternaty it seems. Talk to a "hardcore gamer" if he cares about, say, the first call of duty and youll most likely get a funny look. Talk to someone who likes nintendo games if he cares about the first super mario game and youll most likely hear what a great game it is and that he / she enjoys it even today every now and then.
If games get entirely server dependend and these servers are shut down sooner or later down the road, these games are lost forever.

@DrKarl To be honest, for the stuff microsoft is planning (and tempting others to follow in their footsteps) they deserve every kick the gaming community can dish out.



dumedum said:

Nintendo's stance on the digital games is to prevent abuse. Other systems just don't work. I downloaded a game on my smartphone, then later on someone's else Galaxy Tab, and now we both own the game, and he never paid it.

If someone can suggest a working system to Nintendo I'm sure they'll listen.

The problem is that Nintendo is suffering so much from piracy - it doesn't' want to tempt the good guys too. Having said that, one could say that it lost so much due to piracy already, that it can LIVE with this abuse. But frankly I don't see whey they must,

Regardless, the point here that Miyamoto is making has nothing to do with that. You own the console with the games for the rest of your life. It makes sense.



SetupDisk said:

Sony didn't screw Microsoft, Microsoft screwed Microsoft.
Sony just helped
That could be a good meme if people put some thought behind the photos.



stephenmunn said:

@SetupDisk Yeah, if you bought them while they were available, you can redownload them in the future. However, under some circumstances, people who lost their consoles and called Nintendo were credited currency in the Wii Shop Channel instead of the games themselves, which meant they couldn't get the now unavailable games again.



SetupDisk said:

Never mind, right over your head. I was referring to Sony's conference in which they listed the things they will not do that Xbox One does. No need for hostility though.



SuperCharlie78 said:

@Damien: "We've already seen games withdrawn from the Wii Virtual Console, which effectively means that you can't download them again."
I think this is incorrect.
Actually, if you managed to download those games while they were available, I'm pretty sure you could delete them from your console and still be able to download them again, at least until, you know, your system got broken or stolen or whatever.



hYdeks said:

Microsoft sucks, I hope the xbox brand is gone after this generation. Sony's press conference was basicly "hey look, we got Microsoft's indie people supporting us" and "DRM, why is this even a question? DRM is dumb, and so is Microsoft" and than to top it all off "hey look, Bungie favours us over Microsoft now, and we get additional content". Sony was content to make sure Xbox was seen as a joke.

Then there was Nintendo. Their Direct was new and refreshing, and they showed enough first party games to make people want a Wii U, and to basicly show "Nintendo is just fine, even if the third party people are counting us out constantly". Great E3 all and all.



bofis said:

GOOD, I'm annoyed that things I've bought, even this year on the 360 wouldn't carry over, but yet Bit Trip Runner or older VC titles I had on my Wii are totally accessible on the WiiU. And between NES, GBA, and VC GB games on the 3DS I have quite a collection of old games on there too, all of which I'd rather to having nothing



3Daniel said:

Love me some Myamoto but he's delusional if he thinks Nintendo's goals are to keep games in gamers hands when their own method of digital distribution prevents me from maintaining my games if something happens to say my 3ds. Even sending in for repairs to Nintendo may cause permanent loss of games. Sigh. I was hoping theyd touch on the issue at E3 but whatever, ride the Microsoft bashing bandwagon.
I'm speaking from experience.



GraveLordXD said:

@Aviator you are mistaken, and you're not buying xbox1 games because it's impossible to do so, you are basically renting the system and the games and you don't own either considering you have to constantly rely on internet connection



Araknie said:

He means that Nintendo plans of having fully digital downloads for all games alongside retail, they are not far from that already.
Really good Miyamoto i appreciate that you thought it was a fear to calm down about Nintendo's future.



DASchenk said:

i recently found out that nintendo is getting ready to move away from their hardware-tied downloads to move towards an account-based system



ungibbed said:

This is the one single reason I like the Wii. The original Wii Virtual Console I am nearly afraid to transfer to my Wii U as I have over $800 invested all in virtual console games and WiiWare. The older systems are emulated perfectly on the Wii and I've never had a single problem with the system. As for pulled games from the VC, what titles were these? I've never seen any mention of such action at least on the NTSC/US systems and accounts. I've sorted all my games by system and such just like a physical collection (and backed them all up on a separate SD card)

If I ever lost access to these classics or had something gone wrong, a part of me would feel lost forever as many of these old classics I had my days in junior high with. I can say with a badge of honor that I completed Ghosts & Goblins on the NES along with many other games. My only recent loss was Metroid Prime Trilogy and sadly without donating a kidney or otherwise I have no chance of ever revisiting such a wonderful collection.

The beauty part is that by the option with these older games, I can play another's copy without entering a activation code etc. That's the beauty of classic games. Be they digital such as my loved collection on my old GameCube compatible Wii and even the physical games for the system. I know I will always return to them despite the SD visuals. I played Metroid Prime 3 (100%) and sometimes just revisit the old areas as they were a true work of art despite the age.

Well done Nintendo, just don't let me down in the future.



GiftedGimp said:

If your system is stolen and you supply a crime number, account details, and a new system to Nintendo they will transfer purchases to the new system.. this does not apply to lost systems according to email I've saved from uk support when I asked specifically what I needed to do to retain my purchases should my system break or get stolen.
By sending faulty Systems to Nintendo if the system can't be repaired then they will transfer purchases to a new system. If not in waranty then a new system would need to be paid for. Verified in that sane email.
Games can be re-downoaded if purchased prior to removal from eStore, but you need to find the game via your purchase history, not directly the store front... again verfied by Nintendo UK in the saved email
This may be different depending on region, some of it may be down to consumer law.
I've also saved that email, in case of any issues and I need to draw upon it.



Buduski said:

I realy hope Nintendo moves to an account base purchase system because just like myself I know that there are gamers that are a little bit hesitant as to go crazy downloading games on the 3DS just because of the fact that if your 3DS breaks or is stolen your poopiedoodledingdongles out of luck because your gonna have to pay for all those games you downloaded a 2nd time if you want them again considering you buy a new 3DS



JGMR said:

"Even so, as gaming moves towards dropping physical games, can it ever be said that you truly own what you pay for, even with an account-based purchase system?"

Nope. And I refuse to buy games digitally. Death of retail = death of gaming. End of story.



UnseatingKDawg said:

And that's why I respect this man more than any other person in the gaming industry. But I am hoping that Nintendo is getting much closer to the account-based system - that's still a glaring flaw.



KnightRider666 said:

And Microsoft keeps digging themselves a deeper grave... They really are clueless to what the consumer wants.



takyon98 said:

im gonna sound mean when i say that there just doing this cause sony did it but nintendo and sony are right! games are like toys. anyone should be able to play with them whenever they want.



Bluezealand said:

"We've already seen games withdrawn from the Wii Virtual Console, which effectively means that you can't download them again."

That's wrong. As long as you purchased them, you can still download all of them.



RestlessPoon said:

Nintendo states all this positive stuff about used games and no DRM, and meanwhile. Sony gets treated as gods because they say used games are up to the publishers. Pathetic.



ACK said:

To be clear, any VC or WiiWare games you have purchased that have since been taken off the service can be re-downloaded any time. I have done so myself several times (with the likes of R-Type, DKC 2 , and The Magic Obelisk, among others).

@GiftedGimp: From my experience all that info is correct here in the US as well.

@3Daniel: I believe permanent loss when sending for repairs stems from faulty labeling or something that would otherwise cause the system to become lost in transit to Nintendo where they wouldn't be able to verify whether it was sent.



Funny_Moblin said:

If a 3DS stops working and you send it in for repair, are the digital games still saved? With their save data you progressed too?



Tsukun said:

@Funny_Moblin It varies. I accidentally dropped my 3DS, and had to send it in because something got messed up inside, when I got it back, all of my downloaded games were fine, the only thing that didn't get saved was my friend's list/friend code, and my Streetpass Mii Plaza data.



AyatollaofRock said:

I highly doubt Microsoft is going to brick the Xbox One or turn people discs into coasters in a time-frame that is going to bother most people. I think Microsoft is orientating themselves to a games as a service model. I don't think their stupid either.

Frankly as long as I can play and enjoy good games I'm not going to get all sentimental about whether or not the my disc will still work in ten years.



DaveC said:

@ToxieDogg "Damien What are you on about? Miyamoto's comments don't fly in the face of anything. If you lose or break an old toy, you can't play with it anymore. If you lose or break one of your old game carts, you can't play it anymore. If you lose or break the system you downloaded a Nintendo game on, you can't play it anymore. Either way, as long as you still look after them all, you can play with them (potentially) forever without the need for internet verification"

Yes but if you lose a 3DS full of hundreds of dollars/pounds etc of games you lose them ALL. If you break or lose a cartridge, you lose ONE. Big difference.

Also you can't transfer or move any 3DS digital titles without an internet connection. So you DO need an internet connection to move a game. So in the future if your 3DS develops an issue like the controls going bad etc you DO still need an internet verification as permission to move the stuff to a new unit. With a physical cart, you just take it out of the bad unit, and put it into the new one.

The whole problem with any of this online required DRM is that you need to rely on a third party to get your stuff back. You are at someone elses mercy. What if the unthinkable happens and the WiiU bombs so bad that Nintendo goes under? How then will you log on and transfer games from one 3DS to another?



GreenDream said:

One of the best anti-DRM policies I've ever come across is on

Once you buy a product, (they have sales and promos very often), you can download them as often as you like, and you don't have to be logged onto the internet to use them. You can back up or even burn the DL'ed games to drives/discs/carts/cards as many times as you want. You also get lots of extra goodies, depending on the product! You can't sell the product, but many of them are so cheap from sales, that you don't really need to do that!

The only catch is, most of their products are older.... They do have an increasing amount of new titles for fair prices, though!



GreenDream said:

Also, has it's own account system, there are no special requirements, just standard email and logon password. And you don't need broadband, either!



GreenDream said:

The problem with Microsoft is that they are moving onto the "cloud server mentality" without evolving their DRM strategies beforehand. We're going to be seeing massive problems with XB1 single player games.



mikeyman64 said:

This is one of the major reasons I still have all of my games.

Being somewhat of a collector (nothing impressive, just my stuff and some), and a nostalgia nerd, it's honestly hard for me to even buy VC games just because I would rather be playing it on the original.

Call me old fashioned, but there's something about reaching for that dusty cartridge or popping open that DVD case to play a favorite, and knowing that you won't be unable to play it if for some reason the game company server goes down.



Pod said:

In regards to games taken off the Wii's online store, if you've purchased it previously, you still have access to it.

Only new customers can't see it on the store anymore.



thatguyEZ said:

@Aviator as it said in the article, the way Micro$oft is doing it is that you aren't actually buying the game, only the license to play it. So if for whatever reason microsoft decides to void the contract you made when purchasing the license, then you can no longer play the game, even if you have a physical disc, the DRM will prevent you from being able to access the contents of the disc. So basically you're paying $60+ dollars to rent the game. I mean, you can't even take the game over to your friends house to play it. I mean come on that was like, a staple of my childhood, bringing halo 1 over to a friends house so we could play against each other. with the Xbox One that will be a thing of the past. Thank god for Sony and Nintendo keeping it real! <3



Lyndexer said:

@SetupDisk, wasn't acting hostile. I think it was you in the first place, "Sony didn't screw Microsoft, Microsoft screwed Microsoft." You just assumed I was trash talking Sony, based on your logic. Though, not going to argue.



Joygame51 said:

Hey I was able to Keep 99,9 % of my dsiware stash of games and reload most.
I don't at all feel robbed (except of my PINBALL PULSE ) Oh well ) But I got to keep my 25th Zelda 4Swords, and most of my other stuff....Sooooooo. Yes I know that I am using them on license but to me I get to play them and reload what ever I like except for Z4Swords which must stay on my shiny new Blue 3dsxl or go POOF.... lol Others I can reload whenever I like....GO NINTENDO!



Joygame51 said:

Bye the Bye I do not own an XBOX and really could care less what they do except I feel a bit let down for the folks who do own one.... rotten turn of events I think!



ZeroxGT said:

And just like toys, if you maintain them, they will last longer. Just keep your stuff safe and you wont have t worry about anything. I have plenty of games on my 3DS Cart and Digital that i take care of... I dont leave my 3DS anywhere and i alway put it somewhere safe out of any harm unless a storm comes through and destroys the whole house or some other mishap. I do travel with mine but usualy stays in case and I also have a wrist strap as well . Plain and simple... take of it and it will take care of you( mostly your gaming needs)



Henmii said:

"When you buy a game for the forthcoming console, you're effectively purchasing the licence to play it — which can be retracted at any point, rendering the actual disc useless"

Oh that's bad! I guess the people who predicted that the upcoming console (now called Xbox One) would be the last one might be true: Xbox One will fail HARD, and Microsoft takes Rareware with them in their grave! 500 Dollar is far to much in economic bad times like these, and the console is very consumer unfriendly!

The future will be about the Japanese companies (Nintendo and Sony) as it should be!

But I must say: Can't Miyamoto force Nintendo to finally update their downloaded content policy?! It's about time!!!



SkywardLink98 said:

Legally speaking, you never buy a game, just license it. At least that's what I've read in the back of game manuals.

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