Switch EShop
Image: Damien McFerran / Nintendo Life

When it comes to refunding downloadable games, all platform holders act differently. Nintendo’s policy, unlike the one operated by the likes of Sony, Valve and Epic Games, is fairly strict: eShop games cannot be returned, and preorder cancellations are outside of the norm. While Nintendo is in the process of defending its policy in a European court, a legal battle in Russia just made the company change its tune.

Russian blogger Vladimir Vechnyi and Nintendo of Europe agreed on a settlement after the former made a court filing. Vechnyi wanted to get his money back for Dusty Raging Fist, an €8.99 eShop game, after discovering he cannot play it in a couch multiplayer with a single pair of Joy-Con. The limitation “ruined” his video stream.

“The funny thing is, when I visited a Nintendo web site from my PC – not the actual console – later, there was a footnote which stated that the game requires two complete controllers,” the plaintiff explained in the video on his YouTube channel. A plaintiff’s lawyer argued that Nintendo eShop itself did not provide the “required and correct information on goods”, as outlined in Russian consumer rights law.

In an interview with a local news outlet TverNews, Vechniy reveals the settlement awards him the full price of the game, as well as compensation for moral damages – 3800 rubles in total, or around €54. “I want to motivate people to defend their rights because digital goods are no different from other ones,” he tells a TverNews reporter.


The case is interesting for a few reasons. Notably, this might be the first case of Nintendo offering a full refund of a downloadable game, even if it’s done in a way not natural to the eShop platform. Vechnyi explained to Nintendo Life that the game is still tied to his account, and, in theory, nothing prevents him from downloading it again. “I haven’t tried to do so, though – I’m not interested,” he notes, adding that a Nintendo representative promised to de-register the game in the future.

However, the situation highlights that there is indeed no clear way to determine which accessories a player needs to play a downloadable Switch game with a friend. Since the Wii days, Nintendo tries to rectify the controller chaos by offering detailed charts and descriptions on the back of retail boxes – first in Japan only, then worldwide by the Switch’s release.

The Russian story, however, shows it’s easy to miss the note when buying games digitally, especially on the spur of the moment. It would be interesting to see Nintendo tweaking the eShop to display more information – or, at the very least, a line in legalese which would shield them from similar claims.

Nintendo RU, a local Nintendo subsidiary, could not be reached for comment.

Have you ever bought a game only to realize you can’t play it without extra accessories? Have you wished to return a Switch game you didn’t like? Share your stories in the comments below.

[source youtube.com]