It’s a sad day for Club Nintendo fans. This evening, Nintendo announced that they are discontinuing the Club Nintendo service, which has served as Nintendo’s customer loyalty program for years, starting this April. However, Nintendo say they will be debuting a new customer loyalty program to replace Club Nintendo sometime in the future. Read on for details.
Club Nintendo Coins can be earned in the U.S. and Canada through the end of March and members will be able to redeem those coins through the end of June. Meanwhile, in Europe, the discontinuation schedule is as follows:
- April 1st 2015: From this date, Nintendo will no longer include product registration cards with its packaged games, so such products cannot be registered in Club Nintendo. You may still find product registration cards in games that were in stock before this date, however.
- April 20th 2015: Termination of the registration of digital products downloaded from Nintendo eShop. Digital products obtained from Nintendo eShop after this date will no longer appear in the My Registered Games & Systems page in Club Nintendo. In addition, surveys for download software titles will no longer be available.
- September 30th 2015: End of Club Nintendo programme. All Club Nintendo features, such as signing up as a new member, logging in as a registered member, earning Stars, and exchanging Stars for items from the Stars Catalogue will no longer be possible from this date.
[Update: Here’s a list of frequently asked questions about Club Nintendo termination in the U.S.]
To soften the blow, Nintendo say they will add a “number of physical reward options” for Club Nintendo members in the U.S. and Canada in February, in addition to a lineup of “many downloadable games”. Additionally, Flipnote Studio 3D for the Nintendo 3DS—yes, it’s still coming—will be released as a free download in February in the U.S., Canada and Europe. This piece of software will allow you to create your own animations on your 3DS and share them with others via local wireless. Flipnote Studio 3D will be available to Club Nintendo members until June 30th in the U.S. and Canada, and the ability to create a Club Nintendo account will end on March 31st.
Now, the more important takeaway here is that Nintendo are planning to launch a new customer loyalty program to replace Club Nintendo around the world. This is entirely speculative, but based on past comments by company president Satoru Iwata, this new program will likely be tied to your Nintendo Network ID. Back in early 2014, Iwata said that Nintendo were effectively going to create a virtual platform (a la Xbox Live or PSN) using Nintendo Network IDs. This platform, he stated, would allow Nintendo to price their games more flexibly when it comes to users 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 said at the time. “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.”
Iwata noted that Nintendo would begin experimenting with this approach on Wii U. It remains to be seen if this will tie into the new customer loyalty program Nintendo will create to replace Club Nintendo, but it would be very odd indeed if they didn’t make use of one’s Nintendo Network ID for whatever they have planned.