Further to the news that Wii U will arrive with an aggressive new digital policy, Nintendo has also confirmed a brand new 3DS strategy.
The headliner of this is that upcoming August release New Super Mario Bros 2 will be available to download on the same day that it is released in shops.
“We will initiate the so-called digital download sales, or the digital distribution of packaged software, in addition to the sales of packaged software through the existing distribution channels,” Nintendo president Saturo Iwata told investors last night.
“In principle, starting from this software, the company will offer the software titles that Nintendo itself publishes in both packaged and digital download formats so that our consumers can choose the way to purchase them.”
Nintendo’s slow acceptance of digital retail has been spurred by changing conditions at retail and the fact that consumers are showing an increasingly willingness to adopt new digital models.
“Since the packaged and the digital download formats both have their own merits, we would like to offer both of these options to our consumers,” he added.
“It seems that, in general, digital distribution of the software available today is mainly aiming at no involvement from retailers. On the contrary, Nintendo has decided to choose an approach in which we will ask our retailers to be proactively involved.
“Of course, for all the digital download software, we ultimately need our consumers to download them to their Nintendo 3DS system through the Nintendo eShop.”
Like rivals Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo will also allow retailers to sell download codes for digital versions of games.
“However, when it comes to how our consumers choose the candidates and make the final purchase decision, as well as how they pay for the software, we are going to enable consumers to go through these processes at both retailers and the Nintendo eShop.
“Our consumers can visit retail outlets or the retailers’ online shopping sites, look for products of interest, make a purchase decision and actually pay for the product there. The retailers then can issue the 16-digit software exchange code. As you can see on the screen now, consumers can enter the 16-digit code at the Nintendo eShop to download the software.
“Some may wonder why we are adding this kind of process, as it may seem more complicated. However, for the majority of our consumers, this is a familiar process as they are already accustomed to making payments at the retail outlets, and it can lower their psychological barrier to making online purchases. Some consumers are hesitant in purchasing digital download software because they are concerned about inputting their credit card numbers.
“Also, payments by credit cards or cell phones are unavailable to some people under a certain age. Accordingly, offering a familiar payment method should lower the hurdle for our consumers to purchase digital download software.”
Furthermore, Nintendo has also revealed that while 70 per cent of 3DS sold in Japan and the US have been connected to the internet, in Europe in Australia this figure stands at just 50 per cent – a number that Iwata describes as “not a satisfactory level yet”.