Thursday, March 31, 2016

My Nintendo and Miitomo Launch

My bet for Nintendo's next generation: it will be all digital. No cartridges or discs anymore. Physical releases will have download codes inside. Nintendo is already testing this with releasing Pokémon Virtual Console games in retail or with Starfox Guard. And now they're pushing the eShop a lot more with their new My Nintendo rewards nonsense.

I liked the Club Nintendo, collecting stars and "buying" some merchandise. This sadly is now gone and the whole new My Nintendo rewards system looks like an early April Fools' joke instead of a meaningful replacement. I personally just want to get this:

A Twilight Princess Picross? Why not? However, you can't just buy it in the eShop, you can only get it through My Nintendo, where you have to jump through hoops to get enough Platinum Points for the game. I'm not interested in Miitomo, so the only way for me to get enough points is visiting Miiverse and the eShop on a weekly basis. That's not a big deal, because I do that anyway, but accumulating enough points for the Zelda Picross will take many weeks and it's all so boring.

The gold point reward system is even less exciting. You get discounts for buying games on the eShop? Too bad that the prices on the eShop usually are a lot more expansive than in retail, so it doesn't really save you any money.

Anyway... for Nintendo going all digital is very convenient and also more profitable, since they would save the costs and losses for distribution. So, I can see, why they want to push into this direction. I'm just not sure, if I'm a big fan of it. On the one hand I like having download versions of the games, because it is very practical, if you don't have to change cartridges and discs all the time. On the Wii U both physical and download versions share savegames, so sometimes I even like having both. A disc release for my collection and the download version for playing. On the Nintendo 3DS this doesn't work, because the cartridges keep the savegames on them. With all four 3DS Zelda games I own two different copies and I somewhat feel inclined to also complete them both, which I recently did with A Link Between Worlds. It would be more convenient, if the savegames worked like on the Wii U, though. It would keep my Backloggery a little bit smaller.

If Nintendo goes all digital, there still might be something left for collectors. The GB Pokémon retail versions actually come with maps and other extras, instead of just housing a download code. I always loved the NES and SNES times, where retail releases had colorful and detailed manuals full of artwork. A Link to the Past came with a map of Hyrule and so on. Today you get a recycling box with nothing but the game in it and some sheets. But Nintendo could return to the old sensation of boxed games, if they want to still sell retail versions and especially Limited Editions in an all digital era. The irony will be that these boxes will have everything, except for the game...

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