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Thursday, November 13, 2014

eShop Preloading and Website Code Buying

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - One by one, removing the advantages physical copies bring.

If you don't know already, Nintendo has launched two key eShop initiatives:
  1. You can buy download codes for games off their website. (This effectively brings "gifting" back from the Wii for a limited selection of titles, something we at KoopaTV missed. See the below video, too.)
  2. You can pre-purchase and pre-load games before they come out. Doing this basically makes your load bar go to 99% nights before the game is released, and then on release day, it downloads that extra 1% and you're on your merry way. Masahiro Sakurai advocated this for digital downloaders of Super Smash Bros. For Wii U.
The goal is to make people go on the eShop more, what else? Nintendo wants to sell directly to you without middlemen like GameStop, which makes Shulk a weirdo. It appears to be working rather well, with Super Smash Bros. For 3DS having 20% of its sales in North America through the eShop, higher than the industry average of between 10 and 20%. How much % is the goal? 50%? 100%? According to Reggie Fils-Aime, some people were too lazy to get into a store and buy the game. While I went to Best Buy and got the physical 3DS game, my colleague RawkHawk2010 is on record stating that he is not only too lazy to go to a store, but he is too lazy to swap discs. (And if you ask him to, he may write an article describing how he is even lazier than that...!) So accessibility is definitely a plus for digital, and Nintendo is making it even easier because you can do all the download work on relatively strainless server times now.

Still, one disadvantage that Reggie notes is that all of the memory for the game has to be stored on the system, rather than some of it on the disc. (Or all of it on a cartridge.) Having to buy external hard-drives or whatever is a major reason why I like physical games more. And I can wait and be patient enough to go to the store. You know, actually having physical interaction with people in a brick-and-mortar environment is a bit more fulfilling than sitting and waiting for the download bar to get to 100%. PLUS, game stores usually have StreetPass opportunities within them!

Game gifting is a significant development. Speaking of which, someone please take this Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire demo code off my hands:

A screenshot of a usable Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire special demo code.
I tried to get rid of this before. Please comment if you use it.

With gifting, you can show your generosity to people without mailing things to them or giving them your credit card number. No personal identification is exchanged in the process, so you can stay nice and as anonymous as you please. Very helpful for things like giveaways or trying to solicit donations from people so you will Let's Play for them. (See video above.) We are now in the evolution of gifting, though. Before you had to be Wii friends with someone, and now? You can give a code out to anyone in the world, like I'm trying to do with that demo code.

I don't know why there would be any other reason why buying codes off Nintendo's website would be a big deal. You pre-purchase things from the eShop. You have to put the code in the eShop. You download it from the eShop. So why not just do everything from the eShop to begin with? Or do you hate the eShop navigation that much?

The pre-loading basically allows you to play the game immediately, just like if you were playing a physical copy. It really is pretty innovative and impressive, though I can see people being confused about why they can't start playing the game when they preloaded it. Or they are demanding that the game be released upon the first day it's available for preload. After all, 99% of the game is "done" at that point! What are they holding on to the rest of it for? Come on guys, I want the game now! (People really will think this way. As I said, digital download people are impatient.)

By the way, Super Smash Bros. For Wii U is the most pre-ordered Wii U game ever. All of those sales are from physical copies. Probably from people getting that GameCube bundle with it, like me. You can't do any hardware bundles with digital downloads, you know. But with pre-loading, Nintendo finally can have a way to track pre-release interest with games for digital-only buyers. Because the eShop wish list sure isn't going to cut it.

Ludwig is an energetic and prolific gamer, and you can Follow him at NNID PrinceOfKoopas on Miiverse. Meanwhile, his colleagues are a bit more lazy. You can Follow Kamek at NNID Ultralink1000 and hopes he gifts you something like he gifted Ludwig Sexy Poker, and you can Follow RawkHawk2010 at... NNID RawkHawk2010, and also comment here if you wish to hear his thoughts on his laziness for gaming. He might be too lazy to write about it, though.

Despite Ludwig advocating for physical copies, he still found time to make fun of physical-only people.
Ludwig actually did receive a gift this way. He encourages you to give gifts too.
There is no more gifting after April 2016 on Nintendo's site.
Will gifting ever come back? ...Dubious.


  1. This dude claims to have used the code:

  2. *drums fingers* Why isn't Dual Destinies available to buy from the site yet?

    1. All of the games on the site are 1st and 2nd party.

      I dunno if that's a coincidence or a requirement.

    2. Hmm, I see. :/ I guess that would explain PL vs PW, since Level-5 is 2nd party?

    3. It's more that the publishers for all of these are Nintendo.

  3. Do you know if the preloading feature also apply’s to switch games, or is this ‘new’ feature entirely outmoded now that the 3DS and WiiU are “Dead”. A blast from the past at last!

    1. Uh... I dunno. But according to right now...
      If you pre-order this, it says, "This lets you pre-load the game, so you’ll be able to play as soon as the game is released." yeah, pre-loading is a thing for the digital games if you pre-order.


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