Nintendo have set up a new online network, dubbed the “Nintendo Network”. The Nintendo Network will be used by both the Nintendo 3DS as well as the upcoming Wii U console. Mario Kart 7 already uses the Nintendo Network for its “Community” feature, where players can gather together in large groups by sharing community codes.
Speaking to investors during a financial results briefing, Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, announced that in addition to downloadable content, one of the other planned uses for the Nintendo Network is to release download versions of packaged games, similar to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
Nintendo haven’t decided just when they’ll begin offering download versions of retail games, but they say that the functionality for this is already built into the Nintendo 3DS and that the necessary infrastructure is in place. The same infrastructure is being prepared for the Wii U as well.
Iwata emphasized that a decision regarding when to begin offering downloadable retail titles will be made after taking into consideration relationships with retailers and wholesalers, as well as the market and consumers.