By Josh Speer / June 30th, 2015
If you are a long-time Nintendo fan, you are probably used to the fact that you’ll pay the same price for a game whether you purchase the physical copy or buy it digitally. But as a newly converted Nintendo AND Sony fan, I have to wonder why it is that Nintendo seems unwilling to offer more discounts on digital content. After all, when we buy physical copies, we are paying for the packaging as much as the game itself. Digital content only provides the game, typically without any bonuses. It’s definitely true that Sony offers more robust rewards for digital purchases, however, rather than assume Nintendo is ripping off their fans, let’s take a look at Iwata’s response to this issue.
Nintendo’s CEO discussed the issue at length in a investor meeting, which was translated by Cheesmeister, and had some interesting things to say. His first big quote is that Nintendo feels that “download versions have the same value and should be priced the same.” This seems to fly in the face of the impressions of most gamers, which is that digital content is around to make gaming cheaper and more convenient. He continues to say “Some companies price [downloads] cheaper due to there being no used sales or store price reductions. We stress the value of Nintendo software, so we price the same.”
Iwata did apparently admit that digital distribution has less inherent risks when compared to physical packaging and distribution, but went on to say that Nintendo’s new reward program will address some complaints in the Fall. This is the successor to Club Nintendo, which officially ended today, and which previously was the biggest way Nintendo rewarded those who purchased a large volume of Nintendo titles. Supposedly the new program will unite all the current Nintendo systems, as well as mobiles and PC and the codenamed NX system.
While I personally don’t agree with Iwata’s stance on digital pricing, especially when Nintendo charges sales tax on their digital games, whicg Sony doesn’t, I do hope that the new membership program offers sufficient incentives to make up for this discrepancy. I love Nintendo products, but the sad truth is other companies are handling digital distribution and discounts much better overall. While first party Nintendo products may justify the prices staying the same, I’m not certain the same could be said for third party software. Here’s hoping the future NX console and membership service will change my stance.
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