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Friday, June 12, 2015

The Deluxe Digital Promotion DISASTER!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - KoopaTV's first scandal, and Nintendo doesn't help.

I hope you remember Nintendo's Deluxe Digital Promotion. I went over its details before it ended, here. ...And it's just now occurred to me that after calling it the "Digital Deluxe Promotion" since 2012, that it's really the "Deluxe Digital Promotion".

Nintendo Wii U Digital Deluxe Promotion
This is what's left of I doubt that sub-domain will be up much longer.

So, now then. What's the disaster? Well, I put the two DDP codes I earned as prizes for the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program. I got the points before December 31, 2014. I converted the points to codes before March 31, 2015. And now I was going to give the codes to the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program winners before June 30, 2015. Everything was on schedule.

There was... a problem, though. A big problem. A big enough problem that I'm doing something very drastic this E3 in protest.

The website, which used to have a sign-in where you could view your points, games, and subsequent codes, abandoned its format sometime after March 31. It was replaced with the above screenshot which features no interactivity.

For whatever reason, I did not print out the two DDP codes. Or maybe I did but I lost them. Whatever, the point is that I no longer had access to the codes because the code history no longer existed. However, the codes themselves did exist somewhere, out in the netherworld. Nintendo now acknowledges this fact (after this incident ended). Well, I had a problem, and what do you do then? You ask customer service.

I sent this May 31, 2015 through Nintendo's customer web form:

My NNID is PrinceOfKoopas.
Before March 31, I redeemed enough points for the Digital Deluxe Promotion amounting to two different codes for $5.

However, I don't have the codes printed out or saved for whatever reason, and right now the Digital Deluxe Promotion site is inaccessible besides a page saying you can't redeem points anymore.

Could you please retrieve the two codes I won (I haven't redeemed either of them) so I may redeem them before June 30?
Thank you."
The answer was essentially that they can't do this over the Internet and I'd need to call them. Well, that makes sense, seeing as how anyone could claim they're PrinceOfKoopas and ask for codes.

So I called them June 1 (Monday). After navigating through Nintendo's complicated "Press # to talk about ___." system, I was put on hold. The hold music was... a truncated loop of this:

So after a few minutes of that, I got to talk to customer service representative "Carla". Told her my e-mail address. She asked my name, and I said "Ludwig". I... spelled out each letter of my e-mail and my name. So I told her I had an issue with the "Digital Deluxe Promotion" and she said she never heard of it. (I wonder if I called it by its proper name, "Deluxe Digital Promotion", she'd recognise it?) So she said she would look it up in some "article". (Probably Nintendo's internal database of info, but I like to think she Googled it. Maybe if KoopaTV wrote an article specifically on DDP and put effort into PageRank, she'd look up our site and we'd go full circle.)

So she put me on hold again (this time without it being music from a Nintendo game) and then she said she never encountered this problem before and didn't really know what to do. So she would redirect me to specialised people who had to be prepped in advance, so I would need to supply her information. She said she would then give me a reference number.

She asked for my Wii U's serial number (since DDP is a Wii U program), and I... ran and gave it. Then she asked for my NNID. I said, "PrinceOfKoopas." And then went through every letter, even saying if a letter is capitalised or not. (I don't think capital letters matter though.) At the end, she...  still didn't understand my NNID and asked if it was "BrinceOfKoofas". Nope. She also didn't know how to pronounce "Ludwig", but that's okay. No one does. Not even me (apparently), and it's my name!

Throughout this process, I had to repeatedly explain to her what the Deluxe Digital Promotion was. I guess my command of the facts (besides, you know, the actual name of the program) gave credence to "customer is always right" since I know what I'm talking about. Carla was confused by DDP's multiple currencies. There are the dollars spent on eShop games. Which are then recorded as points on DDP's now non-existent website. You convert those to codes. And then those are redeemed into dollars not-yet-spent.

So yeah, I give her my call-back number and she told me I'd wait 4-5 days for a call back. She asked if there was anything else she could do for me. I said yes... She promised me the reference number! She apologised for forgetting about it, and then she gave it to me. I'd like to note that the reference number on my web form was "XXXX-YYYY-0942" and the reference number she gave me was "XXXX-YYYY-2176". Conclusion? Nintendo counts up and they get over a thousand problems a day. (The Xs and Ys are the same across codes.)

I'd also like to note the irony that my problem was that I lost/forgot my DDP codes/numbers, and the Nintendo customer service rep forgot to give me the reference number.

So I waited... one day. That's right, time moves four to five times faster in Nintendo's world. June 2 (Tuesday). This is the "specialist" or something. She asked if Ludwig was there. I said this is him. Basically, the specialist was a lot more... aggressive than Carla was, to the point where I didn't even get her name. She was asking me why I waited until now to contact Nintendo. I said I didn't have a problem with anything until now!

Again, I explained what the DDP was and what my actions were: I bought enough games to get two codes. I obtained those codes before March 31. I did not redeem them and I lost access to what they were. I did not miss the deadline to redeem them because that deadline hasn't happened yet. I told her that I thought the DDP site would remain open during this time just like Club Nintendo's is still open. Club Nintendo discontinued, but its site is still open and you can still see download codes for things from years ago.

Club Nintendo Reward Order Inquiry download game code activity list
Recognise some KoopaTV prizes here?

The specialist said there was nothing she could do. I asked, "Why don't you just generate some codes for me?" The specialist insisted I missed the deadline, and I insisted I did not miss the deadline and I could not have missed the deadlines because I DID get the codes. I said I was hoping that somewhere in Nintendo's database of NNIDs and eShop-tracking, it would say what the codes were or they could make new ones.

So we went over the timeline and what DDP was again. "What did you do after you purchased your Wii U?" She asked me. 

"...Uh... how am I supposed to answer this? Well, I... bought $100 worth of eShop games over the time period where Digital Deluxe Promotion was active." 

"What did you do after you bought the games?"

"Uh.... I... played... some of them?" Yeah, I haven't played every game I got. Games I haven't played include The Letter and Shantae: The Pirate's Curse, the latter of which I bought specifically to get me the second DDP code. "Oh, and I went to the DDP site and converted my points to two codes before March 31."

I was seriously concerned that if the specialist was having so much trouble and had to be carried by the consumer, how would this conversation go if I was the average consumer (think: comments section of this article) and not a guy who spends hours a day blogging about the videogame industry? They would be totally lost and clueless.

So... the specialist also has to do more research. So she would leave and I would get another phone call sometime in the future. She asked if I had my reference number, and I repeated what Carla told me the day before. (Is forgetting to provide reference numbers a reoccurring issue at Nintendo of America?)

...By this time, I should've already given the winners of Round 1 of the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program their codes. After all, they asked for them, and I wanted to be timely and trustworthy about it. But I didn't have codes to give. So... I had to keep stalling.

It wasn't until June 8 (Monday of this week) that I got a phone call late in the day. Earlier that day, I asked Rawk what my chances of hearing from Nintendo again. He deemed it a "lost cause." So this guy was "Charles". The conversation went something like this:

"Hello, this is Charles from Nintendo. Is this Ludwig?"

"..........Oh, yeah! Hi!"

"Is this a good time to talk?"

"Well... no, maybe call me in a few minutes?" (I was in the middle of uploading screenshots for something else and I needed to do that in a timely and accurate fashion.)

Charles continued to talk despite me just saying no. "Oh, well, I just wanted to let you know that we've [unintelligible] 10 dollars to your eShop account."

"Oh, okay. ...Wait, what? Could you repeat that?"

"We added $10 to your eShop account."

I was... taken aback. "Wait, do I have to do anything?"

"Nope! It's there now. Have a good day."

".............." I realised perfectly well that this was terrible news. The entire reason I did not use the DDP codes immediately to begin with two months ago was so I could give the codes away. How can I give the codes away now if they are added to my non-transferable Nintendo eShop balance?! But I realised I needed to act like a normal person. "Oh! Thank you so much!"

"You're welcome! Bye!" And Charles left.

Charles must've thought that he was the bearer of great news: Another Nintendo customer service success story! The customer is always right, so just believe his story (well, IT'S TRUE) and give him the $10 without asking any more questions. And that's how you keep your customers happy and loyal to you, Nintendo would say.

But the reality? I am not happy one bit, because this means the codes are forever lost and the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program prizes are... in a bit of a snag. We basically promised prizes that we couldn't deliver on. Woops.

Nintendo eShop balance adjustment screenshot picture money funds
Question: Why did I only get the "good news" phone call a week after the balance adjustment from Nintendo?

Well, now Nintendo has a help file with the situation I had. The file is basically, "Go contact Nintendo by phone if you need help retrieving a download code." Of course, Nintendo didn't retrieve the code... they just gave the money.

Well, lessons to be learned? Nintendo had no idea how the Deluxe Digital Promotion worked. That likely means consumers had no idea how it worked, either. Which is probably the reason that they ended it. It was a BIG incentive for Nintendo to promote eShop purchases over physical purchases, and it was a big incentive to get a Wii U Deluxe (32 GB) in general: 10% of your purchases back! Wow! If Nintendo's marketing was competent, they would've hit that point hard. But I doubt Nintendo's marketing department understood the DDP either. It was just too complicated for people.

You can now buy download codes for games off Nintendo's website. You sign in with your Nintendo Network ID to complete the purchase. However, even though the website purchases are integrated with your NNID, and your NNID is integrated with your Nintendo eShop balance, the website has no connection with your eShop balance.

Nintendo eShop purchases FAQ credit card can I use eShop funds
"How can I pay for my game?" Credit card only. eShop funds? UNACCEPTABLE.

So, yeah, guess I'll have to use my new-found eShop funds for something else. Lucas DLC? Well, we'll hear more about that at Nintendo's E3 events, which we'll post a schedule of on Saturday. Those events begin Sunday.

With that, I would like to leave a very important proclamation: I am boycotting Nintendo's Digital Event. Yes, I'll watch it, but I won't be participating in it live. So you may get a live reaction log from the other staff members, or you might not. But I'm boycotting it. Why? Nintendo tarnished my reputation among my readers! That's bad! They gave no damn warning their DDP site would suddenly close, and it's a failure on their part to not fully integrate everything.

Yes, I'm boycotting Nintendo's conference over this. No, I didn't boycott Electronic Arts's E3 presentations even after they killed Elizabeth Brett, and, of course, after I've had a long-standing boycott of their products in general. Two reasons: One, this is now a matter of personal honour. Two, if I skipped EA's live conference then I would never watch it later and that's terrible in terms of being an informed blogger. Obviously I'd be interested in watching Nintendo's conference after it's shown live because I need to know what happened in order for this site to even be relevant and I'm actually interested in it. (We almost slept during EA's conference last year.) Not watching the conference means Nintendo will have one less viewer to brag about! It'll devastate them.

So yeah, check out the KoopaTV Rewards Program page for the latest set of rewards. We apologise for the inconveniences, everyone!

Stay tuned to KoopaTV for the latest E3 coverage. Future KoopaTV Rewards will be eShop codes that cannot be lost because they are physical cards, but for now, if you comment on articles, write guest articles, request articles, and refer people, you can win Club Nintendo games!

This isn't the first time Ludwig has had extensive conversations with Nintendo customer service. He interviewed one about changing your age to bypass Nintendo eShop ESRB restrictions, and about Miiverse admins.
KoopaTV's non-Ludwig staff covered Nintendo's conference live.
Ludwig later did watch and react to Nintendo's conference, but not live. See it here.
This is considered an "ugly" example of customer service.
Ludwig didn't have to call Nintendo again for a long time, but eventually the day came in December 2017.


  1. Ahh, so that's what happened.

    I wish the DDP had continued, but I suppose if Nintendo's own people didn't really know what it was... XD

    1. Yeah, they didn't know what it was.

      So... it wasn't meant to be. :(

  2. Replies
    1. Now imagine it in reduced quality 'cause it's over the phone.

    2. Still a great song because it's Zelda. :]

    3. "So she put me on hold again (this time without it being music from a Nintendo game)"

      I actually liked that hold music better than the Hyrule Field song.

      My notes said it somehow reminded me of Aquatic Ambiance and that David Wise should compose elevator music.


  3. Nintendo customer service is MUCH WORSE now. I tried to get $3.75 worth of rewards points from Nintendo after some confusion as to how a x4 Gold Points offer worked (they only listed the terms in small print at the bottom of one page on the website and not on the eShop itself), and long story short, after talking to three different people, I got nothing, and the last representative was very condescending and rude to boot.

    1. I totally believe it. Though I'm surprised they'd have you talk to so many people over such a small dollar amount at stake.


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