The lights are on
Nintendo appears to be embracing digital distribution in a big way, with the announcement that future 3DS and Wii U games will be available for download the same day they hit store shelves. Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata revealed the strategy in the company's presentation to investors. The first game released under this digital initiative will be the 3DS game New Super Mario Bros. 2, which launches this August.
Iwata says that customers will have a choice in how they purchase future first-party Nintendo releases on both the Wii U and 3DS. Players who opt for the digital route can download games directly onto their system's SD memory card through either the Nintendo online shop or by inputting a 16-digit code that can be purchased at retail. Iwata says that physically and digitally distributed formats have their own advantages, and that Nintendo wants to give players a choice. It may be more convenient for players to acquire the digital versions of games, but they're locked to the system that they're downloaded onto. Players who do a lot of game swapping with friends will have to stick with physical copies of their games.
Nintendo is also allowing sellers of those download vouchers to set their own prices. Iwata points out that so far, games on Nintendo's eShop have fixed prices, which is something that doesn't necessarily work in a retail environment. Instead, players can expect to see vouchers for specific games to get price reductions after they've been available for a while.
What do you think? Are you surprised to see Nintendo going in this direction? Do you think Microsoft and Sony will fully embrace similar strategies as we move into the next generation of hardware?
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