The Wii U might have full, downloadable retail games

Downloadable Wii U retail games

Downloadable retail games have been gaining popularity in recent years, with services like Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network offering the ability to get your hands on a new title without ever leaving your home. According to Iwata, such a distribution channel has already been implemented in the 3DS and will also be part of the Wii U’s online services.

However, Nintendo aren’t sure when or even if they’ll begin offering full games up for download.

For the digital sales of the content, we are also considering the future possibility of digital distribution of packaged software, which is often referred to as “software download sales.” This concept was built into the design of the Nintendo 3DS, and we already have the necessary infrastructure. We will prepare the same infrastructure for the Wii U.

However, we have not decided the concrete timing of when we will start it. The decision must be made by taking into consideration such factors as the relationship with the wholesalers and retailers, and the best way to be embraced by consumers, as well as the environment surrounding the market and consumers, such as the required memory capacity on consumers’ SD memory cards. However, as an option for the future, the significance of this business field will increase.

Considering that a Wii U game disc can carry up to 25 GB of data, downloading a Wii U game will be a major investment of time, bandwidth, and storage space for the end consumer, so it’s good to hear that Iwata is looking out for the best way to go about this. The company also confirmed last February that retail games aren’t going anywhere, either, so it’s safe to assume that you won’t lose the ability to build a physical game collection.

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  1. Taun Taun

    What would work best (for the companies) at first would be to start selling the digital copies after the retail stores have stopped selling it. That way they get their premium price for those who have to have it & are free to adjust digital pricing on now ‘out of print’ games.

    Or if they’re bold they’ll go full Steam! But I wouldn’t bet on it.

  2. Hylianhero64

    I’d much rather have this functionality on the 3DS. Carrying around a bunch of game carts can be a pain. If it means going out and buying a 16 or 32 GB SD card, so be it.

  3. I’m glad we’ll have the option–or at least, the capability–there for digital distribution. Personally, I still love discs for console games (something about the new game smell).

    As long as game sizes keep growing larger, we’ll always need discs from retail games. But it’s good to have digital distribution available, too–I think digital distribution works best when dealing with 2-4 GB games like from indie developers and 300-600 MB-sized downloadable content for games on disc. This is how I would imagine people using digital distribution on Wii U, esp. Nintendo.

    Though, if Nintendo and Acer decide to do a cloud service, there might later be an option to for digital transfer to cloud storage as well as the option for using digital downloads (or good ol’ going to the store for a physical copy). That’d be another cool option. We’ll see. :)

  4. Digital Distribution of Retail 3DS & Wii U Games: Need Ideas

    “…we already have the necessary infrastructure to digitally distribute the software on a scale as large as the packaged software. We can start it as soon as we decide to do so.”

    “As for the actual digital distribution method, we need to consider what kind of cooperation we can make with wholesalers and retailers, but we think that there must be various solutions other than just positioning digital distribution as an enemy to them. Upon close consultation with them, we would like to determine the details of our digital distribution.”

    “…there must be a solution other than positioning digital distribution as an enemy to wholesalers and retailers.” – Satoru Iwata

    This is of key importance. Does anyone have any ideas on how to solve this problem? Are there any other companies out there that are already implementing a solution to this? This problem is all that’s standing in our way of getting to download retail games right now. The sooner this gets solved, the sooner we get to stop lugging our physical carts around with us everywhere.

    Here’s an idea just to get the ball rolling:

    Allow the retailers to sell download codes or items, such as figures or cards, which use NFC to act as download codes. This way, retailers can also sell the digital versions of the retail games. I do not think it would be fair to Nintendo if the retailers were the only ones allowed to sell the digital content, though. Nintendo should still be able to sell the digital versions of the retail games directly from the eShop on the 3DS and Wii U. The price of the digital versions should be lower than the physical versions, but that is ok because the retailers can still sell the cheaper digital versions anyway. Just make sure that the prices of the digital versions are still the same from the retailer and from Nintendo’s eShop. Are you listening Nintendo? I want digital retail games ASAP! Please & Thank you.

    • SparktehFox

      Fuck that. I’ll takes disks, or cartridges better yet, thank you very much.