Nintendo has decided to scrap the sale of digital download codes for its games at European retailers, effective from 1st July, 2020.
For years now, Nintendo fans have had a number of different ways to purchase their favourite games. You can grab a boxed copy of your chosen game from physical retailers or online, download a new title from Nintendo's own eShop, or even buy a download code for certain games from your favourite - and often cheaper - retailers.
That latter choice will sadly no longer be available in Europe. Nintendo has confirmed the decision to end the availability of download codes for its own-published titles in a statement provided to Nintendo Life:
After careful examination of the evolving European marketplace in recent years, Nintendo has decided to end the availability of download codes for its own-published software via retailers, effective 1st July 2020.
Customers will still be able to purchase Nintendo eShop funds, Nintendo Switch Online memberships, and add-on content such as the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass, at retailers across Europe. Download codes for Nintendo Switch software from other publishers will also still be available.
We’re always investigating new avenues, and will continue to work on new methods to bring Nintendo eShop content to as many players as possible.
As you can see, download codes for third-party games and other products such as DLC and Nintendo Switch Online memberships will still be available, but you'll no longer be able to pick up cheap codes for full games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
UK-based retailer ShopTo has already informed buyers of the change on social media, noting that it will continue to sell codes for DLC as explained in Nintendo's statement while also urging fans to pick up any full games before they have to be taken down later this evening.
Buying digital codes from retailers has reliably been one of the more affordable ways to buy new Nintendo games in recent years, so we're sad to see the option disappear. Going forward, digital fans might want to consider making use of Nintendo's own Game Voucher Programme.