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Nintendo will let players back up their purchases online with the Switch

Why it matters to you

Buy a bunch of software on a previous Nintendo console? It looks like you will be able to access that content on the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo fans will finally be able to back up their eshop purchases online with their Nintendo Accounts when the Switch arrives. This is a welcome change from how previously digital purchases have been tied to the console itself, forcing fans to re-buy previously owned titles on new consoles, when online infrastructure should have allowed otherwise (as Nintendo’s competitors have done for some time now).

Eagle-eyed viewers caught this fact in a bit of fine print revealed during a Switch unboxing video recently posted by YouTube gaming channel FloKO. The text shows up briefly around 3:00 in, as highlighted below:

“Your Nintendo Account contains your Nintendo eShop purchase history and current balance. By re-linking your Nintendo Account after initializing the console, it will be possible to redownload any software or DLC purchased using that account. (Software that has been discontinued may not be available to redownload in some cases.)”

More: Nintendo’s new cross-platform Nintendo Account system is now open for registration

For a company with such a devoted fan base, Nintendo’s lack of a centralized, cross-platform account has long felt like an obvious oversight. The introduction of Nintendo Accounts in 2016 was a step in the right direction, but this has been the first indication that they will follow through to the necessary conclusion of backing up purchases online. While historically one of the gaming space’s great innovators, Nintendo has been distinctly conservative when it comes to embracing the emergence of online gaming and commerce.

The Switch arrives on March 3 as the much-maligned Wii U’s tenure ends not with a bang, but a whimper. Nintendo has been cagey in the lead-up to launch since the Switch was first announced, but signs like this and the more adult-directed advertising campaign suggest the gaming mainstay is really hoping to shake things up with its new console.