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.