Nintendo Will Let Retailers Set Their Own Prices For Downloadable 3DS Games

By Ishaan . April 26, 2012 . 7:58pm


Starting with New Super Mario Bros. 2, you’ll be able to buy more of Nintendo’s first-party Nintendo 3DS titles either via retail stores or download them to your SD card via the Nintendo eShop. At an investor conference, Nintendo’s president broke down the three ways you’ll be able to do this:


  • Buy the game in a box from a store like you usually do.
  • Download the game directly off the Nintendo eShop using your Internet connection.
  • Buy the download version of the game from a store.


That last one is a little complicated, so let’s understand what it really means. It means that you’ll be able go to a store that sells videogames, pay them money specifically for the download version of the game you want to buy, and in exchange, they will give you a 16-digit code, which you will then have to enter into the Nintendo eShop to download your game.


There’s another catch to this process, too. Nintendo are allowing retailers to set their own individual prices for downloadable versions of their games. This means that the download version of New Super Mario Bros. 2 may not cost the same, depending on which store you buy it from. Retailers will have the option to slash the download version’s price at their own stores if they feel the need to. Effectively, this means you’ll be able to go bargain hunting for downloadable versions of games if you don’t buy them directly off the eShop in your own home.


Nintendo didn’t specify whether this would apply to both first-party and third-party games, or whether it would also apply to games that are download-only.


If you’re asking yourself why it’s being made possible to buy download games from retail stores, Nintendo say it’s being done in order to make downloadable games available to 3DS owners without credit cards, as well as to users who don’t feel comfortable inputting their credit card numbers. They also feel that allowing people to buy downloadable software at stores will help lower the psychological barrier against it.


Finally, Nintendo believe that allowing for downloadable games at retailers will also help increase exposure of digital download products on the whole, and help increase a product’s lifespan without a retailer needing to reserve shelf space for it.

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  • James Beatty

    If you’re asking yourself why it’s being made possible to buy download games from retail stores, Nintendo say it’s being done in order to make downloadable games available to 3DS owners without credit cards” 

    • MLSabre

       After what happened on PSN, this is a great alternative.

    • Auragar

      There is something called.. eShop Cards?

      • James Beatty

        Yeah, but retail games cost about 20-40 bucks, that would be at least 2 e-shop cards for one game

      • puchinri

        They’d probably still make those available (I hope so). But at times when say the card might be more expensive than just the one or even two games you want, it is more convenient to just get the games instead of the card. (Or having to buy multiple cards if you want that many games.)

        • Nyandroid

          Yes. I hope so too. I like the privacy these cards provide.
          Aaand, I agree. This is one thing I dislike about the card and why I originally disliked digital. I hate that I can’t get my change back. I still have money on my psn account from about a year ago.

          • puchinri

            Same here. I would really love the option to have both.

            Yeahhh. I mean, usually with WiiWare and VC, I probably had something else in mind to spend the points on, and I only bought a card once for PSN because I wanted a certain pair of games. But I had change left over that just sat there, and I ended up using it on icons/avatars since I couldn’t afford anything else with it. (And I still have change I think.)

          • Nyandroid

            I bought Grandia. Still had about $8 left. A year later I got Legend of Mana. Still have around $3. Kind of annoying XD

          • puchinri

            Haha, that’s mostly the case with me actually. I bought Grandia first, and then I went ahead and got Vagrant Story and I had change left over from putting money on it once before, so I got BoF as well (IV, I think?). 

            Still having change left and having it sit there is doing nothing for me. x’D

          • Nyandroid

            lol! Give us back our monies! D:

      • Nyandroid

        Yes. There are. And cards for Playstation Network as well. Nintendo gives you a 2000pts card for $20. With PSN you can get either a $20, $50 or $100 card. (At least I believe there was a $100 card. Maybe it only went to $50) They are always in the game section as far as Ive seen. And Ive also noticed Ebgames carrying them lately as well. But maybe this isn’t something that everyone has?

      • Steven Boivin

        And they’ve yet to show up in Canada (or at the very least, my province).

        • Nyandroid

          They are in Canada. And Im in Nova Scotia (in the valley at that, lol). About one of the least likely provinces to get something. At least that’s how Ive always felt.

      • Apache_Chief

        There’s also this thing called cash. You should check it out, it’s way convenient.

  • great news, only downside I can think of is digital retail games not dropping in price. 

    • James Beatty

      Well, not you won’t be able to buy a “used” digital game. But the price is up to the retailer. So i assume they can lower the price when they want

      •  I believe the article says as much.

  • Nyandroid

    This is fantastic news! Being one of those people without a credit card, I love this idea! Allthough all you had to do to buy off eshop, psn or whatever was buy a points card XD Ive ALWAYS felt that online games should do this. Make it so you can go to the game specific store and pay off your monthly bill. They really, really, really, really need to do this.
    Also, I love the possibility of getting cheaper digital versions. Digital versions always felt like fixed prices.

  • MrRobbyM

    Smart move, Nintendo. I’m curious to see how retailers will handle this.

  • thaKingRocka

    I hope this means some competitive pricing on downloadable games. I’m glad to see Nintendo trying this out.

  • Hearing the last option sounds like a double-edge sword… but it’s good to have an another option anyway….

  • darkfox1

    Wow…. Nintendo with the caring. It’s almost crazy how much they are thinking about everybody and like every possible situation. Didn’t know gaming companies cared like this anymore (don’t take to seriously lol)

    • Nintendo always tries to innovate. But people have always pin them down in the past when it comes to graphics and other aesthetics. They don’t see that without their risk-and-return strategies, we would never have Sony and Microsoft make the Move and the Kinect, respectively.

      Then again… anyone here knows about the Philips CD-i’s true backstory?

      • lol, if you count innovation as doing what their competitors have been doing for years.

        • James Beatty

          What are you talking about? They are focusing more on online now since that’s what people want. They have had online features in previous systems and i believe the famicom was even able to do DLC. They also implemented analog sticks, shoulder buttons, d-pads, motion controls, etc successfully with video games. 

          • Um, look up the definition of innovation and tell me how I’m wrong for saying Nintendo isn’t being remotely innovative in any of this. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be going in this direction, but to give them mad props for something they should have been aiming for five years ago? I hate to use this ugly word, but only a fanboy would do that.

          • James Beatty

            They made a system that wasn’t able to do these things and for the most part they didn’t need it. They didn’t innovate with online (although they where one of the first/earliest to use it in the famicom days) but they seem to be handling it well. 

        • Suicunesol

          I guess hitting Nintendo is fair game no matter what Nintendo does. If they adopt competitor strategies, they’ll be slammed for not innovating. If they don’t, they’ll be slammed for being behind. Isn’t that right, Mick?

          •  I think Nintendo should and needs to adopt their competitors strategies regarding most things online. But to praise them as innovators for doing so? Ridiculous, which is clearly all I was saying.

            And somehow I’M the hypocrite.

          • Suicunesol

            DLC is nothing new of course. I agree with you that it’s nothing Nintendo should be praised for.

            However, konpon568, when he was saying that Nintendo was “innovating” was actually referring to the new method of paying for downloadable games at retail stores, which is a step ahead of Sony and Microsoft even if it’s a small one.

      • thebanditking

        I personally could do without the Move or Kinect, but thats not the point lol. Yes the CD-i tale is interesting for sure, had Nintendo not backed out of the deal with Sony for the PS drive for the SNES the PlayStation as we know it would not exist and those horrible Zelda games Phillips made would not either. Truth be told the industry would be a much different place right now, who knows maybe Sega would still be making consoles and Microsoft would have stayed out of gaming.

  • puchinri

    That sounds smart to me, and convenient for when I would want a digital vesion and yet don’t feel like getting a credit card myself (or using someone else’s).

    I’m really glad for this~. That’s really convenient. >u<

  • Guest

    Well done, Nintendo! You know, not everyone wants to use a credit card or even have Wifi so this is truly helpful! Thank you, people in Nintendo. You have my (and many others’) appreciation.
    See? They can be so intelligent sometimes. This is one great reason why I let them continuously take my money, body parts, and internal organs. (◉◡◉)

    EDIT: Fixed very noticeable errors.

    • Huh? Free Wifi is everywhere. If you can go to a store to buy the code, you can go to a Starbucks or McDonalds to use their Wifi. Besides, you sort of need Wifi to get to eShop to input the code in the first place…

      Also, there is still 3DS points that are at stores that you don’t need a credit card for either. Although it’s the usual go to Gamestop to buy just the DLC, not the whole card amount deal.

      • Guest

        ……Yes, but what I’m saying is not everyone has Wifi for themselves. Not everyone wants to…um…here’s an example what I’m talking about.

        Let’s say that the third option didn’t exist. Scratch it off for a second. Now then, I got my credit card to buy an eShop game, but I just realized that I don’t have any non-encrypted Wifi at or near my home. Because of that, I have to go to places such as, like you said, McDonalds, sit outside in the car (or inside McDonalds, whichever you prefer), and input my credit card information in order to buy the game I’m looking for. Not only does that take a while because of processing, but I feel very unsafe sitting outside (or inside) McDonalds inputting my information, as anyone passing by can just look and steal my information without me noticing at all (unless you uh…..have some type of weapon or something. lol I don’t know). Now with this new third option, not only am I more secured, but I can simply put in the code without any worry of people stealing my credit information. As a plus, I don’t have to spend more then I need to just to get the game (unlike those, for example, DSiware cards where you HAVE to spend $20.00 in order to get, let’s say, a $14.99 game, as those are the only type of cards available). BTW, not all Wifi is free everywhere. Some McDonalds and Starbucks places make you pay for Wifi or you have to be in the restaurant and order something or they will count that as you loitering and force you to leave. This I know because a couple McDonalds at where I live does this.

        …….I’m sorry about the text wall, but I hope this makes sense and helps you understand what I’m implying. :)

        • malek86

          Uhm. I’m pretty sure you can just input credit card data once, and it will be saved for any future purchases, whether you’re connected to wi-fi or not.

          Also, I’ve been told that on the eShop you can choose to buy whatever amount you wish, instead of just fixed amounts like in the DSi.

          • Guest

            …..oh. I don’t go on eShop that much, so I never knew these. ._.

          • malek86

            Well actually I’m not sure myself, as I haven’t tried personally. But a friend told me that he managed to add just the 1€ he needed to get a game, so I guess it can be done.

            In fact, if that were the case, it would be even better than the PSN, where you can add any amount only if it’s higher than 5€.

          • thebanditking

            I don’t believe the eshop lets you store your credit card info, at least not that I remember. Also Malek is right you can indeed add your items to the cart and then charge the exact amount without buying extra points.

        • thebanditking

           Oh I absolutely understand but this is why we are not ready for digital distrubution, because there are people who simply do not have a high speed connection or Wifi at home. Honestly going to a store buying a code then driving to another location to activate and download that game is ludicrous to me, simply buy the retail copy and be done with it.

      • Monsley

        “Free Wifi is everywhere”
        Not really, no. Depends on where you live. We don’t even have Starbucks over here and the nearest place with free wi-fi (excluding hotels) that I can think of is 1 hour far from my home by bus.

        I don’t care for digital downloads, since I prefer owning physical copies anyway, but I think this is a great idea indeed for those who want to purchase digital but can’t/don’t want to use wi-fi or credit cards! :)

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    I just hope the digital games in-store don’t jack the price higher than it normally is…
    I know there’s no way around it, but I’m annoyed by the fact that you have to buy these digital points or whatnot then buy a game (sometimes with money or points left over…). Though wouldn’t it be totally rad to get a digital copy with your physical copy? lol
    If Wii U games are going to be available as a download, then Wiiware and Virtual Console/Arcade games will probably not have the filesize limit restriction anymore?
    Thanks for the news

    • Nyandroid

      Digital copy with physical copy? I don’t see the point?

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        I dunno, I feel like hoarding both lol.
        Feels more practical for a portable though.  I don’t live in Europe, but I think a company named Ghostlight bundled Persona 3 Portable and LoH Trails in the Sky with a digital copy, but at a higher price. I think Siliconera covered that.

        • Nyandroid

          I don’t know if they have or not. I’ve only been on siliconera recently. But. I do have physical copies of both P3P and Trails in the Sky. ^_^ Don’t feel the need for a digital. Itd be convenient to switch between both without changing UMD’s but. I usually finish through with one game before going on to the other anyway. XD

          Still waiting and hoping for the Second Chapter to come out.

  • RmanX1000

    Im a little skeptical about allowing retailers to set the price for DL codes. But i am rather pleased with the direction this is taking.

  • Well looks like I am only buying the physical copy or through the eShop because Gamestop is silly.

  • Covnam

    I like the sound of this since a retail copy is almost always cheaper then the digital copy (excluding steam for instance). This way people will (hopefully) still be able to take advantage of sales, like the popular buy 2 get 1 free sales around the holidays, but not have tons of games to carry around.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love having a physical product over a digital one, but for portable systems, not having to carry around dozens of game cards is worth the sacrifice of a physical product in my opinion.

    • malek86

      “(excluding steam for instance)”

      I wonder if other publishers will eventually realize that Steam is successful exactly because of this. And maybe one day, I hope, they could start doing sales just like them, instead of leaving retailers to set up the prices.

  • malek86

    Interesting idea, but I’d like to still be able to connect my purchase to my account rather than my console. Ergo, this will be pretty much useless to me until Nintendo finally decides how to make their unified account system (and they sure are taking their sweet time).

    Still, this is not entirely unheard of. I do remember seeing some XBLA/PSN games being sold at retail, in very thin boxes that contained only a digital code. I guess it will be the first time someone does it for a full game though.

    • Relytgninroht

      They’re supposed to be making an account system for the Wii U with achievements, etc. Hopefully it bleeds over into the 3DS too. Nintendo did promise big changes to their online infrastructure in the future- though I wouldn’t get my hopes up because this is Nintendo we’re talking about.

  • Apache_Chief

    This seems like a brilliant way to keep retailers alive while also phasing out used sales (which seemingly every publisher wants to have happen). If there’s a good digital service backing it up, I won’t even care if physical copies go away. I basically only buy games from Steam nowadays anyway, and that’s because of their amazing sales. Retailers setting their own price makes that a possibility, now it’s just up to Nintendo to make the service. It’s really important for Nintendo to get that right; they can’t afford to be behind on the internet front anymore. 

  • “If you’re asking yourself why it’s being made possible to buy download
    games from retail stores, Nintendo say it’s being done in order to make
    downloadable games available to 3DS owners without credit cards, as well
    as to users who don’t feel comfortable inputting their credit card
    numbers. They also feel that allowing people to buy downloadable
    software at stores will help lower the psychological barrier against it.”

    This. After the PSN hacking fiasco, I think Nintendo is being wise by allowing consumers more buying options, especially for those who are a bit more… paranoid/guarded about their online purchases and information.

  • thebanditking

    Ugh et tu brute? Just when I thought Nintendo would avoid this digital crap they go and do this. Hopefully this does not mean they will use the digital release method as a cheap cop out for niche titles like some people are doing. Also not encouraging that they are doing this with full retail games like NSMB2, I would not have an issue if this was simply for the digital games like Rolling Western but I am completely against digital releases of full current gen retail games.

    • Exkaiser


    • meat0bun


  • neo_firenze

    “That last one is a little complicated, so let’s understand what it
    really means. It means that you’ll be able go to a store that sells
    videogames, pay them money specifically for the download
    version of the game you want to buy, and in exchange, they will give you
    a 16-digit code, which you will then have to enter into the Nintendo
    eShop to download your game.”

    Gamestop already does this in the US with 3DS Shop titles, exactly the same way.

    I actually got Pushmo for free this way about a month ago, they had a promotion where you could cash in “points” on their rewards card and one of the rewards was a copy of Pushmo.  They also had a deal where if you purchased the download codes for both Pushmo and Super Mario Land (Virtual Console), you got some discount.  Anyway, I redeemed my Gamestop points on their website and expected they would give me a download code immediately, but they actually just gave me a coupon that I had to bring to a physical Gamestop store.  At the store, they just gave me a receipt with a code on it that I input into the 3DS Shop to get the game.  A bit of a hassle, but I can’t complain about getting a game for free. 

    Kind of a weird solution for downloadable games though.  I have a credit card and I’m not paranoid about online commerce, so if I want a downloadable game I’ll just buy it at my convenience (one of the biggest benefits of the sales model, really).  Going to a retail store to add steps and make the process more complicated is a little bizarre to me. 

  • Ni_Go_Zero_Ichi

    I think I like this. I (think I) remember back in the day when video game prices were less rigidly fixed across all retailers and bargain hunting was a thing.

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