Nintendo Pushes Downloads With Wii U Games Cheaper On eShop Than Retail

By Spencer . July 3, 2013 . 12:25am


Nintendo announced a promotion in Japan that makes upcoming Wii U games like Pikmin 3 cheaper if you don’t mind a digital copy. The summer early purchase campaign drops the price of three Wii U titles by 10% if you buy them during their launch week. Pikmin 3 which comes out next week in Japan will kick the campaign off. Lego City Undercover and The Wonderful 101 are also part of the promotion.


Wii U Deluxe Set owners should be able to double dip on this promotion since the Digital Deluxe promotion gives members points which can be redeemed for eShop credit. No word if Nintendo of America will have a similar sale, but after adjusting for currency differences these games are actually cheaper in North America even with the sale.

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  • landlock

    Pikmin 3 is only £32.99 on in the UK. I don’t see it being cheaper then that on the Eshop.

    • Stranger On The Road

      And if you wait for sometime, then the physical copy will be far cheaper than the download copy :-)

      the eShop, XBLA and SEN/PSN really need to adjust the prices on their stores every few months. Otherwise they are missing out.

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        That’s one of the reasons I don’t download games often… (besides in fear of being banned again by Sony).
        I mainly get download only games or DLC on digital stores… There hasn’t been a single game this generation I’ve downloaded that has also been released at retail. Although it also has to do with the fact that I have no job.

  • leeorv

    This is exactly what Sony is already doing on Vita, and will probably take with them to the PS4. they’re not really re-inventing the concept…

    • Stranger On The Road

      It is a business decision, anyone is allowed to make use of a working business decision that someone else came up with. If not, then no one but the first company that made use of “point cards” or “coupons” will be able to use that marketing strategy.

      • leeorv

        I didn’t say they’re not allowed to do this or shouldn’t do this, quite the opposite actually.

        I just said that they’re not really doing anything new…

        • idrawrobots

          New to them.

  • CirnoLakes


    This is how you’re supposed to do digital. Digital should never be the same price as physical.

    • serverny

      As long as they refuse to implement a proper account system i refuse to buy a single game in eShop regardless of price.

      And i buy a lot of games in PSN, so im ok with digital content in general…

      • WellWisher

        Steam is the only game download service I trust as the hardware will never go out of date. My understanding is that even if you own games on a PSN account or Xbox Live, you can’t play those games on consoles that they weren’t made for (like PS4 and Xbox One). PC services like Steam don’t have this problem as the hardware is never out-of-date.

        • mirumu

          Some games bought on the PSN will work on multiple systems. PS1 classics usually work on the PS3, PSP and Vita. I expect they’ll work on the PS4 too. Sony has also been pushing the idea of cross buy so if you buy a game on PS3 you get the Vita version free. Quite a few games now support cross buy.

          It’s nowhere near as good as what you can do on Steam, but it’s a start at least.

      • Auvers

        I thought the Wii U did have an account system though? Fully understandable because I didn’t want to buy anything on VC for the wii when it came out (ended up getting Paper Mario though) and I haven’t used the 3DS one for purchases yet. They really should make that a higher priority.

        • neo_firenze

          Nope, Wii U digital purchases are tied to the machine you purchased them on. There are exceptions that require actually calling Nintendo support – apparently if your system is stolen AND you can supply a police report Nintendo will migrate licenses to a new system. Otherwise they’re stuck on a single Wii U.

          You can do a one-time transfer of Wii purchases to a Wii U system (which will associate those games you bought on a Wii with one Wii U). But once any game is tied to a single Wii U, that’s it.

          This is also the main reason I am reluctant to support Nintendo eShop releases. I’m like serverny – I’m not against digital purchases and I buy stuff on PSN, XBLA, Steam, and iOS all the time. But all of those stores have user accounts that easily transfer to multiple devices and allow you to change registered devices linked to your account.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            But none of that transfers over either(PS4/Xbone incompatible). Its only there still if you break your system. Im a collector so I buy games in hard copies but the irony is that playing video games out the HDD is less taxing on the machine with digital purchases. So it’s less likely to break the disc drive. Nintendo consoles are sturdy machines anyway. So all you have to worry about is getting robbed. and if you get robbed there is a lot more important things than your console.(still better have that police report and Club Nintendo account) I’d be more concerned about handhelds not having an account system. But they dont even have NNID’s yet. So again,priorities.

          • neo_firenze

            Backwards compatibility isn’t the point. I’m just talking about being able to access online purchases on a different compatible device. I don’t expect a guarantee that my Wii U or 3DS games will work on Nintendo’s next system.

            The issue it that there’s simply no good excuse for Nintendo to lack a feature that every other legitimate online purchase system has. PSN, Xbox Live, Apple’s App Store, Google Play, Steam,, Origin, Amazon digital purchases… ALL OF THEM have user accounts that aren’t permanently linked to a specific piece of hardware. It’s a basic feature, and Nintendo’s lack of a reasonable solution stands out as the glaring exception.

            I should not need a police report and a conversation with a support representative to move my account to a different system. I should not have to worry about systems breaking and losing my games (regardless of Nintendo’s general build quality, stuff still gets broken).

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Irrespective of that, the bottom line is there are steps you can take to ensure that you’re products are taken care of. I just dont see the point of talking about account systems when we will eventually get them. In the mean time there are methods to safeguard the games you purchased. I think people should understand and be informed of all aspects so they can make a proper decision. Instead of just talking about it. Nintendo has great customer support either way .

          • neo_firenze

            “I just dont see the point of talking about account systems when we will eventually get them”

            Because we DON’T have them now? People should make a big deal about it until Nintendo gets with the program and adds basic functionality that all of their competitors have.

            And I don’t care how careful you are with your products, sometimes stuff just breaks. Nintendo products aren’t immune, even if they do have a better reputation than Microsoft/Sony gaming hardware. I’ve had a DS Lite with a hinge that broke after normal use, a launch 3DS where the 3D didn’t display properly (returned it and got a replacement), and my Wii’s disc drive makes awful clicky noises that make me think it may give out some time in the not too distant future. And I’m an adult who takes care of my stuff. I feel for people who have little kids. What about accidents (dropped 3DS? Cat knocks it off the table?), flood damage, lightning strike fries your electronics, etc.

          • mirumu

            I’ve had a Wii U brick itself due to a Nintendo firmware update. Firmware update problems happen to all manufacturers so I don’t hold that against them per-se, but in my day job and at University I’ve worked with embedded hardware/firmware so I know how this stuff should work. Properly designed devices should checksum firmware before applying it, have back up firmware in case the update fails, and have extra safety mechanisms to allow the system to boot and recover even if the firmware itself is unusable. For example it’s near nigh impossible to brick an Android device or an iPhone.

            Sony of course had a bad PS3 firmware update recently that appeared to brick consoles, but the PS3’s design has the kind of protection mentioned above so when the fixed update came out, you could easily recover your console and load on the new firmware.

            With my Wii U however the firmware update failed mid-download, and despite it never having a complete copy of the firmware the device would no longer boot. So clearly it had been writing the firmware to the device before it could even verify it was valid or safe. There is no excuse for that in my view, it’s broken by design. My Wii U had to go back to Nintendo too because they had no fall-back firmware recovery mechanism. Like you I’ve also had a DS lite form cracks in the hinge, and even treating it carefully it killed the display.

            I’ve yet to have a console from another company fail, and I’ve owned a lot of them over the years. So yeah, any claims of Nintendo having better hardware are fairly ridiculous in my view.

            I do look after my consoles, and as evidence of that I still have a working launch day Xbox 360.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            You make good points, but Im talking from experience.DS’s seem to be the only exception oddly.

          • ಠ_ಠ

            Huh, really? When the firmware on my WiiU fails to download for me, it actually starts back up where it stopped and continues from there. I haven’t bricked either.

          • mirumu

            Sure, it won’t always happen. It’s basically hit or miss. There were a load of bricked Wii U’s around launch due to firmware update problems.


            This really shouldn’t happen on a modern device.

          • mirumu

            I think you’re really grasping there. We can’t prevent our console from breaking or being stolen. I’m already on my second Wii U myself and I look after my devices very well. I did transfer purchases when I upgraded my 3DS to a 3DSXL, but that deletes everything off the original. Why can’t I use both devices to play my games even if it’s just on one device at a time? The original 3DS is still smaller after all so there are situations where carrying that is preferable to the XL.

            Since we can’t transfer content between consoles outside of the very restrictive utilities Nintendo has provided, backing up our SD cards, or hard drives is worthless as a form of protection too.

            With every other significant digital market out there I can either back things up easily, or re-download things (or both). Requiring a police report in the case of stolen devices or having to rely on Nintendo deciding to allow me to transfer things I’ve paid for is an absurd situation.

            What you said about priorities before is all very true, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as simple as consumers needing to be informed. Many are informed, and will not touch Nintendo’s digital download system with a barge pole while it has these crazy restrictions. It’s Nintendo’s decision ultimately, but this isn’t something people are just going to accept over time. Other competing systems work the way they do because it’s what the consumer wanted.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Nintendo having good customer support isn’t really the point when we shouldn’t need to go through them to begin with. Sure, the account system is coming, but that doesn’t mean people who are dissatisfied with the current setup shouldn’t say anything just because it’s happening “eventually”.

            People are in need of the account system now. People have been in need of it. That doesn’t change simply because we’ll have it some time in the future.

          • Auvers

            I wouldn’t say only getting robbed, electronic stuff can be faulty too.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Which can be fixed. Its called dealing with what you have.Im not fond of complaining.It feels largely useless. You’d get more out of it if you bugged them on Miiverse.

          • Auvers

            Well in the event something like this happened I wouldn’t find it strange or blame anyone for not wanting to just immediately “settle” after losing money and possessions they care about.

    • Auvers

      Weren’t some of the games that were put on PSN and stuff like that full retail price minus tax when they were released though? (I never looked that closely into it, please feel free to correct me)

      • Solomon_Kano

        Newly released retail games are retail price sans tax, yea.

        • Auvers

          Ah I see, yeah they probably don’t want to burn the bridge at both ends or whatever because if it’s cheaper online people probably won’t buy it retail at all or atleast maybe not enough people? The online thing seems more like just for the convenience of not having to go to the store or wait for a mail order. Due to slow internet and not having access to a credit card it’s pretty inconvenient for me though.

          • Solomon_Kano

            I can’t really say. The Vita’s seen some major headway in digital purchases for more niche games (Kagura, CH stuff) while retail numbers stayed up, and that’s in a marketplace where all digital games are priced lower than their retail equivalent. So I don’t know that it would hurt retail.

            Also, there are a number of people in your situation who would opt for retail regardless because they don’t have the means to make digital a viable choice, so I think they’d be fine if they consistently priced digital at a discount to retail. The people who have access to digital might go for that, the people who don’t might go for retail. The discount would serve to make digital a more appealing choice though and, if they get more digital sales, it would offset itself, so it’d be a win-win.

  • Stranger On The Road

    A small correction, I usually ignore this error, but it is being repeated too often on too many sites for my comfort. Don’t forget that your readers will use the terms that you use!…

    It is a “download” copy not a “digital” copy; even the physical copy you get is digital! We stopped putting games on analog media ages ago. Yes, I am a geek :-)

    • popyea

      I think the distinction comes from the fact that the downloadable copy is purely digital. And while the retail copy is stored digitally on a disc, you’re also getting a physical disc, box and manual.

  • FetusZero

    Still not convinced. The way digital downloads on Nintendo consoles aren’t linked to an account is the reason I don’t buy their consoles, whether they are cheaper or not. They have some pretty good download-only games, but for as long as they work that way, I’ll have to pass.

    • Lelouch Vi Britannia

      Agreed and why lock the users online account to their console. Thats s stupid

    • James Enk

      imo that’s not really good reason not to buy there consoles if you like them

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    If only Nintendo linked downloads to your club Nintendo account so if your system gets messed up and you buy another one you will be able to redownload the games you bought without rebuying them

    • ^This, I lost all of my 3DS ambassador games because that first 3DS broke. Could not transfer a thing. >.<

      • idrawrobots

        Did you bother talking to Nintendo about that? I have had a friend that was able to recover all of their content from a broken 3DS.

        • Nope! I am far too lazy and entitled. I want it all with no effort! ><

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            You should have sent it to Nintendo to be fixed. If you lost it that’d have been a problem.

  • mojack411

    I hope they do this for NA since I was planning to buy Pikmin 3 digitally anyways.

  • MrRobbyM

    Not that they should normally be cheaper than retail anyways *cough cough sarcasm coughtiy cough*

  • Jordan Ortiz

    Too bad 3ds downloads remain at full price.

    • British_Otaku

      Depends, Blazblue CS2, Rhythm Thief and at a point a bunch of Level 5 games were on sale for 2,500 yen on the Japanese 3DS e-Shop anyway.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Code of Princess is 29$, Soul Hackers is on Sale, so was Etrian Odyssey

  • Lelouch Vi Britannia

    I find it harder to support Nintendo with their businessdecisionof locking all downloadable purchases and your online account to a console. At least M$ and Sony dont do this.

    • ronin4life

      Your online games are stuck between gens on ps4 and One though, While fully transferrable from wii to wiiu despite the differences in Account system.

      • Spirit Macardi

        Backwards compatibility is awesome, isn’t it? :D

  • Solomon_Kano

    Just 3 games and only during launch week? That’s unfortunate.

  • James Enk

    good move from Nintendo… now keep this kind of attitude then bring it to the west, give us an account system and you are golden

  • British_Otaku

    Umm… Okay, I was hoping for a better sale but I suppose it’ll do.

    On the 3DS’s Japanese e-Shop, they have pretty good deals even if they come around late. Last week, Rhythm Thief was put on the E-Shop for 2,600 yen (£17 or US $26 – Permanent pricing) and Blazblue CS2 had the same thing earlier as well. This week, Denpa Men 1 and 2 are on sale.

    A Level 5 sale which offered 6 Inazuma Eleven games for 2,500 yen (it’s the bundled 1+2+3 game, there are two versions of IE2 and three versions of IE3) among Inazuma Eleven GO for likely the same price. Of course, there was Layton and Guild01+02 titles there for super cheap too.

    I don’t want to see these games stuck just below $50, £40 or 6000 yen in the next few years.

  • Tarlol

    This is actually awesome. Nintendo finally doing it right with their eShop service! Bring Miiverse accounts over to the 3ds and it’ll be hard for anyone to find anything to complain about.

    • Solomon_Kano

      I wouldn’t bet on that. People will always find something to complain about.

      • mirumu

        I’d just move on to complain about the region lock. ;)

        Honestly though if Nintendo make the eShop more competitive with other digital stores I think a lot of complaints would disappear.

        • Solomon_Kano

          Speaking of that:

          But, yea, my main complaint is their digital handling. Region-locking is a distant, distant second to that for me.

          • mirumu

            I think inevitably the region lock matters more to the smaller countries that just don’t get the games otherwise. To those who already can get most games today now, it’s not a big deal.

            In my view Iwata is quite misguided however in that he’s trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Countries that are locked out of content also tend to be rather lax in letting imports in rated or otherwise. Here in New Zealand the law considers region locking to have zero benefits to the country so allows consumers to legally circumvent it. Stores can also legally bypass the official distribution channels an import direct too.

            If there were actually people complaining about the content of imported games I think he’d have more justification for that stance. The Rapelay controversy is the only example I can think of it actually happening, and that was quite an extreme case.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Yea, I couldn’t deal with the whole “cultural” angle. That just keeps rolling around in my head and I keep returning to “Wat.”

            But, yea, region locking is pretty terrible for people who live in countries that don’t tend to get many games. For me, it’s a pain because I like to travel. I haven’t left the country in a few years, but I spent a chunk of my childhood jumping between Europe and the US and I’ve got a number of military friends who still have to do that. So that always comes back to me when I think of region-locking. It’s really unfortunate that this is the view that Nintendo’s head has on the issue.

          • Tarlol

            Had this problem when I lived in Poland with my NA 360 and 3DS. Got really excited when I realized I could buy PSP games, though! Hahaha.

            I was always under the impression that region locking was A Thing because savvy consumers will import from overseas to avoid paying the higher prices in Japan. That was the reasoning I heard for the decision to region lock P4A, and when I import for myself I seem to often have the choice between identical Asia/JPN copies, with the only difference being the JPN copy costs an extra 30 bucks.

            But yeah, I hate region locking. At the very least, if games like .hack//link, Valkyria Chronicles 3, or Type-0 aren’t localized we can import without having to also buy a whole new console or resort to modding our own hardware and use our own language skills or follow along w/a translation guide to play through the games..

          • Solomon_Kano

            Yea, I’ve heard that reasoning. In Atlus’ case, while that pissed the Europeans off, I could get behind region-locking on a case by case basis if the company is already bringing the game to each region anyway. That makes it a non-issue. But region-locking your ENTIRE SYSTEM because a few people may import… I just can’t get behind the logic.

            Importing is a rather niche thing, it’s not in need of a system-wide block. If it was that big of an issue, I’d imagine Sony never would’ve taken it out of their systems (as the PS2 was region-locked).

          • Tarlol

            Oh, yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I really, really dislike console region locking! I don’t really think there’s any excuse at this point, it’s pretty irritating and it feels to me like a response to a perceived threat that doesn’t really exist – which is pretty common in the game industry

          • Solomon_Kano

            Oh no, I wasn’t trying to say you were with it lol. I was just speaking generally. Yea, the game industry likes to be “proactive” in their handling of what they perceive to be issues, often to the detriment of us as gamers.

      • Tarlol

        Maybe so, but it’d certainly shut me up. My 3DS was stolen earlier this year (and returned to me 3 months later – weird!) and I hadn’t previously realized how screwed you are if you don’t keep a backup. I’m probably one of Nintendo’s harshest critics, and they’re even bringing me around (I already own a Wii U, and I never even bought a Wii..). This kind of step is exactly the sort of way companies should give incentive to digital distribution. The other alternative is a service like PS+, which is also awesome.

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