Club Nintendo has been a consistent part of the dedicated Nintendo fan's world since the Wii / DS era, with purchases registered for coins and stars - depending on region - to be traded for extras. At times the programme has been criticised for slowly updated catalogues, but it's been relatively important nevertheless; Nintendo's now confirmed, however, that it's discontinuing the service and replacing it with an alternative loyalty programme later in 2015.
This has been announced by both Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe, with slightly different timelines. In both cases users have until a certain period to use stars and coins - with the catalogues due to be expanded to give more options - before set dates. Timelines are below.
- Earn coins through to the end of March
- Ability to create an account closes at the end of March
- Redeem coins until the end of June
- April 1st 2015: From this date, Nintendo will no longer include product registration cards with its packaged games, so such products cannot be registered in Club Nintendo. You may still find product registration cards in games that were in stock before this date, however.
- April 20th 2015: Termination of the registration of digital products downloaded from Nintendo eShop. Digital products obtained from Nintendo eShop after this date will no longer appear in the My Registered Games & Systems page in Club Nintendo. In addition, surveys for download software titles will no longer be available.
- September 30th 2015: End of Club Nintendo programme. All Club Nintendo features, such as signing up as a new member, logging in as a registered member, earning Stars, and exchanging Stars for items from the Stars Catalogue will no longer be possible from this date.
Beyond promising more downloads and physical rewards to wrap up balances in the coming months, Nintendo's also confirmed that the long-delayed Flipnote Studio 3D will be free to those that are signed up to Club Nintendo. It'll be gifted to those in North America in February, while in Europe the app will be free to those "who sign up to the new programme during the launch period"; in the latter case that could be some time away, with no dates given for the new service as yet. It should also be noted that Nintendo of America only mentions local exchanges of animations, so it seems that the issues with online distribution that held it back will go unresolved.
It's fairly sudden news that Club Nintendo is being discontinued, though we're certainly pleased to hear that a new loyalty programme is on the way. It's something that Nintendo began talking about in January 2014, and is full of potential; it'll possibly bring an end to the era of hoarding coins / stars and answering rather hefty surveys.
Let us know what you think of this news. Would you have preferred a Club Nintendo revamp, or to have kept that program and also had an eShop-only scheme alongside it - along the lines of the Wii U Deluxe / Premium Nintendo Network Promotion? Sound off in the comments below.