The industry is at a crossroad as of late. With digital downloads becoming more popular and the recent news of Sony filing for a “anti-used game” patent, more and more developers and manufacturers are finding ways to limit, control and distribute the ever increasing popularity of digital downloads and used content.
How this is done varies from platform to platform, with the most common method linking the digital title to your user name. This method not only allows easy access to the downloaded title if there is a hardware failure (granted they are forced to purchase a new console), but also gives a sense of “ownership” to the digital download.
Not Nintendo though. Nintendo is no stranger to digital downloads, but is notorious for doing things… differently. With the introduction of their “Wii U” they decided to go a different route. Instead of locking digital titles to the user’s gamer tag, Nintendo instead chose to lock the title to the console itself.
This is terrible for anyone who has hardware failure, as it results in timely conversations, dealings and transfers with Nintendo’s customer service. For comparison sakes, if the title was locked to the gamer tag, the user would simply have to log in and re-download the title on their new console.
Locking the title to the console seems to have its perks for people that buy the console second hand though, as one Neogaf user discovered. According to “DSN2K,” downloaded content from the previous owner is available for free, regardless of the gamer tag the title was downloaded under:
“Whoever owned the console before me purchased multiple games, meaning all the games he purchased are available to re-download for free....This is with a new account btw I setup as well. Games are clearly linked to Console itself. Advice to those buying a second hand WiiU's...check all the games on the Store...you might be in for some "free" games!”
Although this is a pretty awesome surprise for second-hand users, it’s terrible for developers who are essentially missing out on sales due to Nintendo’s apparent incompetence in getting their console’s security, e-shop and operating system locked down.
I’m sure as this “glitch” comes to light, Nintendo will have a patch in development. But as distributors report lower than expected sales, users complain about the slow, clunky operating system and now developers having to worry about giving hand-outs to owners of used consoles, does it spell disaster for Nintendo’s new console?
I myself love this console; I said it in my first impression piece and support it to this day. But it’s hard to deny the faults, and I fear (as many Nintendo fans do) that Nintendo has released an under baked knife to a quickly approaching gun fight next Holiday season.
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