For anyone frustrated by Nintendo’s byzantine digital business, good news: The Wii U and Nintendo 3DS will share a “unified account system” for the eShop. Loading cash money into one system will give you access to the same funds on the other. The company hasn’t however committed to universal support of its Virtual Console games.
Nintendo World Report spoke with Nintendo Customer Service representative David Marshall on Friday, and he confirmed that Nintendo would finally enter the year 2005 with its home and handheld console digital storefront. “A unified account system will be implemented later this year with the launch of the Wii U,” said Marshall, “Eventually this same account system will be made compatible with Nintendo 3DS systems. At this time we have no additional details to offer and nothing to indicate how or if this will work outside the United States and Canada.”
People who purchase multiple Wii, DSi, or 3DS consoles have never been able to have their purchased games on multiple devices. This won’t change in time for the Nintendo 3DS XL’s release in August either. Now at least it’s clear that Nintendo won’t make you wipe out a device’s memory if you want the same games on a different model.
Nintendo still hasn’t commented however on whether it will lift the wholly arbitrary restrictions on Virtual Console titles. The Nintendo 3DS has the capacity to play NES games, so why aren’t Wii owners with Virtual Console titles allowed to access already purchased games on the device?
It’s a comfort knowing that if I get myself a $20 gift card for the PlayStation Network and upload it to my account, I don’t have to worry about that money being segregated to a single machine. I can drop $5 on Streets of Rage 2 on my PlayStation 3 and there will still be $15 left over to put toward Gravity Rush on my PlayStation Vita. I’ve got iTunes store credit? I can buy myself an episode of Breaking Bad on my iPad, re-download it on my laptop, and the remaining credit will be there to use whenever I like. Centralization of information and funds means taking a leap of faith—you’re vulnerable to hacks like when the PlayStation Network got taken down last year—but you also have greater access to the digital goods you’ve paid for. It’s absurd that Nintendo is only now starting to offer this type of support but these changes are encouraging ahead of the Wii U’s release.
Now if only they could figure out how to properly make a good store interface.
Check out our full review of the Nintendo 3DS XL.