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Nintendo launches cross-platform user accounts in Japan

Nintendo launched a cross-platform user account system in Japan this week, giving players the ability to track their digital purchases and earn cash back from eShop activity.

In addition to tracking player software libraries, the Nintendo Account service allows users to make eShop purchases online and queue up downloads for connected Wii U and 3DS consoles remotely.

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Nintendo Account is a platform-unifying service that aims to bridge the gap between the Wii U, 3DS, and upcoming Nintendo NX consoles. Players can link their existing Nintendo Network IDs in order to track purchases and establish a universal login for Nintendo consoles.

While many details regarding the service are not yet known, Nintendo Accounts currently allow users to maintain a record of their digitally-purchased Wii U and 3DS games, similar to how the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live operate.

Previously, eShop purchases were tied directly to individual consoles, giving players few options for restoring lost data. While Xbox Live and PlayStation Network users can easily download their past purchases to a new console, eShop purchases are permanently lost if an associated Nintendo console is misplaced, stolen, or reformatted.

Nintendo has the ability to restore or transfer user eShop purchases upon request, but the process involves contacting Nintendo customer service directly, and often requires a repair order or proof of a defective console. It’s currently unknown whether purchases logged within a linked Nintendo Account can be restored or redownloaded on new consoles at a later date.

Users who sign up for a Nintendo Account within the service’s first two months of operation are eligible to receive 100 yen in bonus eShop credit for every 1,000 yen added to a user’s eShop wallet. The cash-back offer applies for every 1,000 yen in eShop credit users purchase afterward, up to a total of 10,000 yen.

Currently, Nintendo Accounts are only available for users in Japan with Japanese Nintendo Network IDs and consoles. Nintendo has not announced when Nintendo Accounts will be available in North America or Europe.