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Feature: 12 Days of Christmas - A Year of Promotions from Nintendo

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Spend a little, get a bit more

While we could argue until the end of days about some aspects of Nintendo pricing, particularly with download retail games, 2013 has been another year where the company has taken positive strides to offer promotions and incentives on key games and their systems. Whether in Europe or North American there are decent odds that you've enjoyed a Nintendo-sponsored discount at some point, with these marketing efforts designed to keep gamers happy and the company's coffers full.

Early on Nintendo of Europe ran its "So Many Games" promotion, which was targeted at eager 3DS gamers that had been building their game catalogues. A list of eight games, current and on the way, presented the target for Club Nintendo members, as registering any three entitled the participant to choose one of the remaining titles as a free download. As it included the big hitters of early 2013 and — at the time — upcoming blockbusters such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf, it was the perfect opportunity to grab an anticipated game for free.

Nintendo of Europe would continue with its 3DS promotions, applying a twist where the benefit was to friends and not yourself; Nintendo would naturally profit from participants too. Two similar promotions ran for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and Animal Crossing: New Leaf — if you registered either game on Club Nintendo you would receive a Recommendation Code; if your friend or relative bought a 3DS or 3DS XL and registered it on Club Nintendo, they could then use the code to get a free copy of that game. The idea was to promote gaming together, and it served its purpose — we do wonder, though, how many "hey, I can give you a free game but, erm, buy a 3DS first" conversations led to tumbleweed blowing across assorted locations. That aside, if a friend was buying a 3DS anyway, these promotions were a neat idea.

The European arm of Nintendo was also keen to drive us towards buying our retail games on the Wii U eShop, with a neat offer where downloading Pikmin 3 on the platform entitled you to a 30% discount on the eShop version of The Wonderful 101. As both games were terrific — and still are, obviously — this was an attractive deal; some initial technical hiccups applying the discount were thankfully resolved.

Gamers in North America didn't entirely miss out, thankfully, with Reggie Fils-Aime's crew pitching in with deals of their own. A particularly enticing offer for those with lots of gaming time and skill to put to use was the opportunity to register Shin Megami Tensei IV and Fire Emblem: Awakening and receive $30 of eShop credit. The best thing was that you could still hunt out the best prices from online retailers and buy boxed copies, as it was registering the games on Club Nintendo that was the key to taking advantage. Wii U owners also had a chance for some free credit, though it wasn't quite as generous; it was a credit for cash deal that required funds to be added to your account before a fixed date — $50-$99 entitled you to a $5 voucher, $100+ a $10 voucher. With retail releases such as Pikmin 3 and The Wonderful 101 imminent at the time of the offer, it was a bonus for those with the available money that were also planning to go the download route.

In more recent times Nintendo of America has promoted big name Virtual Console titles with weekly eShop discounts, which have covered Zelda, Mario, Donkey Kong and Mega Man to date, with the themed offers currently on a hiatus.

Current promotions in Europe include a free Super Mario 3D Land offer for those that register a new 3DS or 3DS XL over the festive period; unlike offers from earlier in the year this doesn't include existing owners. Current 3DS gamers, meanwhile, can take advantage of the recently announced Nintendo Network ID promotion, however, which will gift a free download of Game Boy Color title Super Mario Bros. Deluxe to anyone that's registered a Nintendo Network ID on their 3DS up to 31st January 2014 — the codes will be distributed from the middle of February onwards.

Beyond Nintendo we're seen plenty of publishers, both big and small, offer temporary and permanent discounts on the eShop platforms. After years of frozen prices on the Wii and DSiWare stores, we now have the benefit of far more dynamic, competitive online services where publishers can offer reductions to tempt us to their games. We've been bombarded with recent discounts for games released earlier in 2013 and even last year, so those interested in a title but on the fence may be tempted to take the plunge.

Nintendo, across regions, has also been active with hardware bundles at exciting prices, with a small formal price cut also arriving for the Wii U. In a sign of what could come in other countries in the future, Nintendo UK also launched its own online retail store, which stocks some exclusives and bundles such as the Wii U Mario Mega Bundle. Other territories have Nintendo stores online that typically trade in refurbished controllers and accessories, but it'll be interesting to see whether this first-party retail approach will be adopted elsewhere.

Overall, we'd suggest its been another fairly generous year from Nintendo, either in direct promotions or through improved infrastructure to allow download publishers to discount their games. Here's to 2014 and more opportunities to save money on games we love.

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User Comments (19)

Falchion

#1

Falchion said:

I took advantage of the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem deal. Not only did i get $30 credit but i also found a great series! I hope they do similar promotions in the future!

sinalefa

#2

sinalefa said:

I hope they keep these promotions and improve upon them. I took advantage of the SMTIV promo, and the character based ones, getting Link's Awakening and Megaman 2.

Also kudos to Capcom for their discounts. Revelations for $10 was particularly sweet, as was the recent $2 Megaman X promo.

Edit: it is not mentioned here, but I love the Deluxe Digital Promotion for Wii U owners.

Warruz

#3

Warruz said:

@sinalefa Capcom has been quite good with their discounts, Nintendo games on the other hand have been scarce to see a discount. Been waiting for see Luigi's Mansion go on sale FOREVER.

GuitarAnthony

#4

GuitarAnthony said:

I just wish they would offer better games and more choices for Club Nintendo. I had around 2200 points (until that Luigi figure showed up for 1500) and rarely does anything show up worth getting. Mario Picross? No. It's worse when they offer games that I got for free already from the ambassador program.

Undead_terror

#5

Undead_terror said:

No talk about Donkey kong original edition? that promotion lasted until January 6th of this year.

datamonkey

#6

datamonkey said:

Their free game promo's have been good however Nintendo's retail game pricing is mostly horrendous...

3dcaleb

#8

3dcaleb said:

is that super mario deluxe free code for europe only? i registered before i heard about it, i hope we get it in usa. ive never played deluxe before. has anyone played it? is it as fun as it sounds?

Goginho

#9

Goginho said:

@3dcaleb Yea its definitely pretty fun. I always used to borrow my friend's cartridge back in the day, as well as his GameBoy Color :P since I only had the GameBoy, and boy, I really enjoyed the game. It's basically the original Super Mario Bros. but with added extras. You should def check it out on YT. Now, I'm not sure if it's EU exclusive, but I doubt it ..would be a pretty low move if it was.

element187

#12

element187 said:

Nintendo would be crazy to change their retail pricing policy to that of other publishers...if it became customary for Nintendo to drop their price of titles after 2 months in the market then it would condition Nintendo gamers to wait for the price drop before buying. I know that's what I do when I want a third party game. Why buy at launch? Two months later it will be half price.

I understand completely why Nintendo sells their games as evergreen. There is a ton of consumers that wait until the end of the generation to buy Nintendo hardware and software to get it as cheap as possible. By keeping their big games full retail price all throughout the generation, it drags in these penny pincher's wallets in on the games since they couldn't get them to bite on the console earlier.

Crazy4WiiU

#13

Crazy4WiiU said:

FYI: Wii U sales (source vgchartz.com):

187,369 units in October 2013
*** 550,812 units in November 2013 ***

2.2 Million units for 2013 to date
4.5 Million units since launch in 2012 to date

Kaine_Morrison

#14

Kaine_Morrison said:

Whatever, the point is, that once again, North America is once again, NOT getting a Free Game Promotion!

Pokefanmum82

#15

Pokefanmum82 said:

I only took advantage of the SMT IV & Fire Emblem one & the one where you got a choice of five games if you bought an XL and either Luigi's Mansion Dark Moon or PMD Gates to Infinity. I would have loved that so many games promotion though.

GreatPlayer

#16

GreatPlayer said:

I'll definitely buy a 3DS for Christmas if there is a promotion of buy one game get one free elsewhere in the world. Unfortunately, there isn't...

Kolzig

#17

Kolzig said:

Shame that most of the promotions are only restricted to a few select European countries. For example the ongoing Super Mario 3D Land promotion. It's only available in a few countries.

Hopefully Super Mario Bros Deluxe will be available to all European countries and no insane restrictions are in use since Europe is such a mess for Nintendo of Europe.

Main problem is Club Nintendo, which is absolutely stupidly still not available to all European countries, only in a few select countries can fans apply to make a Club Nintendo account.

It's just weird that not all European customers are treated as equals. Some like the whole of North Europe is treated like second rate fans. Most likely that is because Nintendo themselves don't have a presence here and instead give all the publishing rights to a 3rd party company which has been doing a bad job at it since the NES days.

FJOJR

#18

FJOJR said:

Didn't really partake in any of these promotions seeing as how the backlog never seems to dwindle fast enough. But got Links Awakening as a Club Nintendo platinum reward and that was indeed fun.

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