Nintendo Will Reward Players For Buying And Playing Their Games

By Ishaan . January 29, 2014 . 8:13pm

Going forward, Nintendo will make a greater effort to connect with their consumers through account systems rather than hardware, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said at a financial results meeting today.


The present approach, which largely involves a device-based relationship with consumers, is leading to Nintendo losing customers, Iwata reasoned. As a result, with devices they create in the future, Nintendo will take a more digital approach to establishing relationships with customers, using Nintendo Network IDs. Or, to put it in layman’s terms, Nintendo will do what Microsoft and Sony are already doing, and get a proper account system in place, effectively creating a “virtual platform”.


(Iwata also pointed out that Nintendo 3DS wasn’t built with this approach in mind, so while 3DS is compatible with the Nintendo Network, the implementation isn’t perfect.)


This approach will lead into a larger change with regard to how Nintendo sell games, Iwata stated. Up until now, the traditional business model has been to sell game hardware for high prices, and sell games for $30 or $50 each. In the future, however, Nintendo aim to be far more flexible in terms of how they price their games—especially when it comes to consumers that buy a lot of software.


“Based on our account system, if we can offer flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more,” Iwata explained. “Here, we do not need to limit the condition to the number of software titles they purchase. Inviting friends to start playing a particular software title is also an example of a possible condition.”


This is an approach that Nintendo will begin trying out on Wii U, Iwata confirmed.


“If we can achieve such a sales mechanism, we can expect to increase the number of players per title, and the players will play our games with more friends,” he reasoned. “This can help maintain the high usage ratio of a platform. When one platform maintains a high active use ratio, the software titles which run on it have a higher potential to be noticed by many, which leads to more people playing with more titles.”

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  • ShinStar

    It’s about time!!!!

  • AlphaSixNine

    Years too late but still a welcome change. I hope they improve their network infrastructure along with this. It has always been a pain to download on eShop with it always getting disconnected for some reason.

    • Fox

      Years? They’re decades behind the curve.

      But the irony is appreciable. Nintendo is working on unifying their platform for digital distribution at the same time Sony is de-unifying their platforms.

      • flameraver64

        Decades? In comparison to PC, maybe. But the network infrastructure of consoles and handhelds in 2004 was not that great.

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Nintendo had online in the famicom.

        • GaiunxWolfenX

          and dlc in the super famicom with the satellaview

  • hng qtr

    “Nintendo will do what Microsoft and Sony are already doing, and get a
    proper account system in place, effectively creating a “virtual
    Finally, FINALLY. Didn’t think I would see that in my lifetime.
    …Nintendo being Nintendo I bet there’ll be a catch though.

    • Odin

      I think the biggest problem with Nintendo’s approach this late in the game is that they don’t think ahead (or haven’t ever, I have to say) and try to future-proof their devices.

      If the 3DS wasn’t built with a unified online system in mind, I highly doubt they will get it right later on. Given it’s 2014, and they still haven’t touched Sony or Microsoft in this area, I’m afraid we’re (yes us gamers) going to leave them behind.

      I’m not going to let nostalgia cloud this statement, but I really have to say, when we’ve grown up, and they’re still stuck in the past, it really grates on your feelings.

      On one end you want them to succeed, but on the other, you realize they’re so far behind the curve. Makes me think about moving onto Sony’s consoles

      • hng qtr

        “Makes me think about moving onto Sony’s consoles”
        Well, it’s not like you have to choose.

        • Ric Vazquez

          Perfect combination

        • fairysun

          Lol, basically my life support these days.
          DId I see a glimpse of Dreamcast in that photo?

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Nintendo wont adopt something expensive until its everywhere.

  • Bunzi

    This sounds potentially exploitative. If you buy, say, ten games, than you get maybe 5 dollars off. Or every twenty you’re going to get a a free one – I don’t see this winning them a massive number of loyal customers, as the people buying ten, twenty Nintendo games are going to do so already.

    Maybe if having a sizable Nintendo library led into a discount on future consoles….

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Nintendo’s not very exploitative.

      Considering how they’ve handled free to play games(darumeshi sports store) and didnt turn animal crossing into something evil

      • Bunzi

        Maybe not, but I’m being cautiously optimistic for the time being – their profit margins are slipping, and that’s never a good thing for anyone.

    • Fox

      Basically, expect them to make the WiiU Digital Deluxe promotion permanent and across all platforms.

      The goal isn’t to win over a new demographic, but to encourage the existing demographic to purchase content digitally instead of retail, as Nintendo makes much more money off digital sales.

    • How the hell is it potentially exploitative? If I buy 10 games now I don’t get a anything. If I buy 10 games in the future I might get a discount. There’s no downside. It’s like people complaining about the crappy Club Nintendo gifts when they’re free. If people go out and buy a ton of games just to get a $10 discount in the future that’s their own problem.

  • BaoZakeruga

    What? My love for nintendo games is gonna pay off?

  • Remember when they used to take peoples videos off YouTube

    • ronin4life

      The recent spate of Copyright claims you mean? They didn’t take the videos off; they leached away the money from any add spaces connected to them.

  • icecoffemix

    Finally going forward… Of course this is not enough for everything but it’s one important piece to put.

  • Kango234

    Sounds like they’re finally kicking it into high gear!

  • Aw Yeah! Finally!!! So glad to see them taking this step. Now to know when this starts kicking in.

  • NegativeZero

    How in the blue hell did they manage to develop the 3DS and Wii U *without* a proper account system in the first place? It’s not like it was a niche idea that no one else was doing, not is it a cutting edge concept. Microsoft, Apple, Sony et. al were already getting this stuff mostly right nearly a decade ago.

    I hope the current NNID implementation on 3DS and Wii U isn’t what they consider a final version, because it’s still just as broken as it was before, just in subtly different ways.

    • thaKingRocka

      “This was surprising to hear, as we would have thought that they had
      plenty of time to work on these features as it had been announced months
      before, so we probed a little deeper and asked how certain scenarios
      might work with the Mii friends and networking, all the time referencing
      how Xbox Live and PSN achieve the same thing. At some point in this
      conversation we were informed that it was no good referencing Live and
      PSN as nobody in their development teams used those systems (!) so could
      we provide more detailed explanations for them?”

      • NegativeZero

        Not Invented Here syndrome. Explains a lot actually.

      • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

        Nintendo hasnt employed people who worked on PSN or Live’s architecture

        • Lumi

          Sounds as if nobody in Nintendo uses PSN or Live. Maybe company policy forbids them from buying stuff from the competition?????

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            No, Reggie, Bill, Scot and their internal teams play on other consoles too.

            Sakurai also bought two PS Vita TV’s (doesnt work at NIntendo though)

          • But they aren’t on the hardware development team, so that doesn’t exactly help much.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Yeah, they didnt work on those systems, so they dont know how they’re structured internally, but the people play on other consoles.

    • Lumi

      Just as bad, and in some aspects, even worse than before. Let’s hope this isn’t another 1 step forward, 5 step back situation

    • I’ll say it again: the account system is, at best, game insurance. It was a boon because of the 360’s failure rate, but it devalues the software by eliminating resale value and benefits publishers more than anyone.

      It is fine for “gamers” but it makes little sense for anyone who isnt going to keep the console until they die.

      • ddh819

        i still have my atari 2600 and genesis

  • Pandakids09 .

    About god damn time Nintendo!

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Club Nintendo

      • Tg

        Yeah. This does remind me of Club Nintendo, in terms of the rewards. It’s about time…

  • konsama

    I totally dig the “buy more pay less” stance, and i hope they implement it to 3DS where i have bought many games and have a few ones in list too.

  • Heldronus

    The pricing thing sound pretty smart. I buy a lot of games so I’d probably benefit from it. And with the unified account thing, I think Ninty is taking a healthy step forward.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      Its so they can retain more of their install base within the network rather than rebuilding install base with every device

  • Took them a lot of financial loss for them to realize the need of account system. But at least they are finally going to be serious about it.

  • SirRichard

    That pricing idea is actually pretty interesting, basically giving incentives for buying things on Nintendo’s platforms because later on you could get things at a discount. Guess I’m going to have to do that Nintendo ID stuff properly now.

    And a proper account system at last, dare we dream? Took them long enough.

  • James Enk

    “Nintendo will do what Microsoft and Sony are already doing, and get a
    proper account system in place” yes finally but we all kind of knew it was bound to happen so i am not going to do a celebration dance

    What is actually really interesting and it was something i was hopping to happen for a while is this “consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more”

    • ecoutercavalier

      Whatever, man. I’m dancin’.

  • Lower prices indeed. Nintendo hasn’t been consistent enough at giving old or underperforming games a second chance.

  • Shippoyasha

    I hope this means all the Japanese goodies that was exclusive entirely to Japan can finally go world wide. That includes limited editions of consoles, colors that haven’t made it out of Japan and the Club Nintendo stuff that was region exclusive.
    Seriously though, I wonder if this tactic may not pan out that great when both of their current systems are in mid swing. PS3 was a hodgepodge for a long, long time, online system wise because it wasn’t originally built to be a network heavy system (as in the original SKU) and now the PS4 is more than ready for it. Maybe these implementations will work best if they get the hardware ready for it too. I think sweeping network changes probably would be easier to implement with clean slate, new systems. Though they might surprise and do a decent/great job of it over updates.

    • niko

      I don’t think the account system has anything to do with that. The fact they are struggling financially will get us more stuff (sell more, people can buy more). Not different color DS though. That;s a problem at retail, retailers, don’t want to stock it (specifcally the evil that is walmart).

  • I’m not against this plan because they wish to cut prices.

  • Anon-non

    If Nintendo is rewarding frequent customers of software, I better get a share of the company, lol!

  • Lucky Dan

    When are they gonna make their consoles region free, its about time. Once they remove this region locking pain in the ass system for once and for all. I would be happy to give Nintendo the full support… At least then we can buy the games that don’t sell well in America.

    • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

      No seems like their devices will become even more region locked.

      Nintendo only recently started region locking things.

      Why region lock?
      For the expanding markets of course
      And so they can give europe freebies to keep them happy

      Importing is expensive. Its better to have two handhelds.

      • CamulaHikari

        I understand why they regionlock, but I still find it kinda redundant on handhelds. Aren’t those things made to take with you when you travel? I miss the times when I could just go on holiday anywhere and geta new game for them.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          That’s why its a problem on handhelds.

          In all honesty they’d rather it go away but business reasons wont allow them too

          • Erikdayo

            Business reasons? Well, the PSP, PS3, PS Vita, PS4, and Xbox One are all fairly recent examples of region free consoles/portables.

          • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

            Region locking is present for a myriad of reasons, including licensing agreements, contract obligations, pay structures, pricing discrimination,retailer appeasement, keeping things local and a wide assortment of things under NDA.

            Sucks for consumers yes, but business gotta do what they have to do in certain cases. Why people arent fond of it even in the dev community.

            Atlus for instance, region locked a PS3 game. They got so much flack for it, they never did it again. Lol.

            And yes, sometimes its a big ol screwup like with how Konami did it with Metal Gear Rising on steam

      • Lucky Dan

        Actually some games over your side is more cheaper than here in Pal region believe it or not

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Importing will bring that shipping cost up

      • Marcus J. Hopkins

        That’s inaccurate; every Nintendo console has featured some sort of region locking implementation – the NES had a different shape and chip, as did the SNES; the same with each subsequent system. Only the handhelds have been region free, up until the 3DS.

        • Laer_HeiSeiRyuu

          Nobody cares about console region lock since you can get rid of it.

    • Daniel Jeanbaptiste

      region free sure then you gonna ask for localization

      • Lucky Dan

        We do understand American English localization you know and we can perfectly understand you guys and your joke since you bombard us with tons of Cable TV shows here in the Pal region.

  • Göran Isacson

    Nintendo making an account system is enough to make me a happy boy… buuuut.

    “As a result, with devices they create in the future, Nintendo will take a more digital approach to establishing relationships with customers, using Nintendo Network ID”

    does this mean that they won’t implement the account system until FUTURE systems, since their current systems just don’t have the hardware for it? If so, I shall retract my enthusiasm.

    Still, getting price cuts for buying a lot of games+ That sounds like just the thing to make my impulsive spending habits that much worse better!

  • artemisthemp

    This is very good news, so happy that Nintendo finally get’s a propper Account system

  • ragingmerifes

    That’s really great, Nintendo. I forgot about you after my 3DS died, but now maybe I can be interested in you again.

    You should be doomed more often if this means the consumers will be more respected.

  • Max

    All I want is crossbuy/crossplay.
    People doesn’t want to buy the same VC game twice to play it on both platforms, I’m sure they know it.

    • Spirit Macardi

      I’m for that too, at least for games that are available on both consoles like NES titles.

  • Spirit Macardi

    Now this is a unique idea, offering incentive to be a return customer.

    I honestly think Iwata is right on the mark here. In today’s market people don’t have much reason to stick with one console manufacturer, especially with things like backwards compatibility going the way of the dodo (though Nintendo still does it, thankfully). So you need to offer something to keep existing customers coming back aside from just familiar faces.

    Now as for what form this will take as far as physical sales go, we’ll have to see. But I can’t imagine it would be hard to offer coupon codes to use when customers go out to buy a new console.

  • Tom_Phoenix

    “(Iwata also pointed out that Nintendo 3DS wasn’t built with this approach in mind, so while 3DS is compatible with the Nintendo Network, the implementation isn’t perfect.)”

    This doesn’t prevent them from building the next version of the 3DS with this in mind, though, kind of like how the DSi was designed to facilitate DSiWare.

  • Magicks

    Quick question, and it’s probably a really dumb one. Is this plan going to start fresh, or is it going to adopt the information that we already provided to Nintendo for those that register their games/consoles onto their site for Nintendo coins?

  • Greg

    Sounds like the reward system I’ll be very grateful for :) Looking forward to hearing more about it for the 3DS.

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