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Stop exploiting your most loyal fans, Nintendo

Nintendo has some of the most beloved franchises in the world, and has a massive library of games that fill me with nostalgic memories that cover my entire gaming life. That's basically the reason why I (along with millions of other Nintendo fans) am willing to purchase the company's games multiple times, on multiple systems. Be it on a collectors edition disk, downloadable Virtual Console purchase, or 3DS remakes, games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time have won me over with every new repackaging. As long as the re-release is relatively affordable, Nintendo can have my money in exchange for those classics. Now, if only Nintendo could get this whole multi-platform digital download thing right--without any weird exceptions or complications.

Today, the beloved Super Mario 3 is available on the Virtual Console for both the 3DS and Wii U. Sounds awesome, right? An amazing, classic Nintendo game on the current Nintendo systems. That's perfect. Definitely something I would spend money on. But let's imagine that I have both consoles, and I buy the game on the 3DS. It would be perfectly reasonable to assume I could also play the game--through my linked Nintendo Network ID--on my Wii U console as well. But, if I give it a shot, it won't work. Why? Well, it seems Nintendo wants me to purchase the game for both systems for full price. In essence, I need to pay twice for the same game on a linked network that shares info for both consoles. That just feels wrong.

Take a look at what Sony is doing with its classic, downloadable games. Right now, I can go on the PlayStation store, buy a game like Final Fantasy VII or Gex 3, and play those games on multiple Sony consoles without having to shell out the cash for an extra copy. Why can't Nintendo follow Sony's lead by making its classic games accessible on every compatible Nintendo product? But it doesn't stop there.

Alongside the Super Mario 3 re-release, the classic Game Boy Advance RPG Golden Sun is available to download as well. But this release also comes with a catch: It's only available on the Wii U. That begs the question: Why is a classic handheld title unavailable on Nintendo's latest handheld console? Nowhere on Nintendo's support site is there any justification for this double-dipping business model. And I certainly can't think of one.

That's Nintendo's problem: Its Virtual Console releases don't seem to have any rhyme or reason to them. The publisher is taking overly conservative steps when it comes to the classic, downloadable releases (Mother 3, anyone?). Maybe the company feels consumers will tire of the old game library if everything were made available all at once, so it feels the need to spoonfeed us releases (on illogical platforms) and at a snail's pace. Maybe Nintendo is trying to pull a Disney vault-like policy of picking and choosing which classic franchises get released into the market, to artificially stimulate demand. Who knows? Whatever the publisher's deal is, I just want to play these games with as little hassle as possible. Unfortunately for me, Nintendo doesn't seem to want to make things that easy for its consumers.

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50 comments

  • MisakiCat - May 7, 2014 12:54 p.m.

    hardly seems like exploitation to me. inconvenient, yes. but it's also a bit obsessive to want to have everything available and compatible for both hand-held and home console. I mean, yeah, Mario 3 is great but i'd rather play it on my original NES, I sort of feel lame playing it any other way.
  • RonnyLive19881 - April 21, 2014 9:24 a.m.

    The game is 99 cents on the Delux Wii U's I got it just to have the convenience of playing off the gamepad lol Nintendo is exploiting anyone. The Wii U and 3DS are the only backwards compatible consoles out there. Microsoft wont even let you trancfer your 360 arcade purchases or Gamertag/score and Sony wants to exploite its fans by forcing them to pay for a streaming service that will most likely not work with modern internet connections to play PS3 games on their new console. Ugh this site has hit a new low lol
  • RonnyLive19881 - April 21, 2014 9:25 a.m.

    *Nintendo is NOT exploiting anyone. Still no edit?
  • Vonter - April 21, 2014 10:07 a.m.

    Nobody is perfect. The main concern is Nintendo needs to have a warranty in regards to digital content. It's nice having a lot of games on the 3DS, but is also a concern something happening to it and the games. On the Wii U, there's a lack of content in the eShop. I think it could benefit from software apps like a music/video player, a comic viewer could be cool (as also being able to buy them from a section of the store). From the game side those indie titles are taking there time I don't see why they had to delay them from March when several developers said they were ready. Maybe they weren't.
  • RPGrinder - April 20, 2014 12:04 p.m.

    "Nowhere on Nintendo's support site is there any justification for this double-dipping business model. And I certainly can't think of one." Quite simple. 3DS cannot handle proper emulation of GBA, and they mentioned this. They added tons of features that even PSN does not allow. Before an article like this, research is needed.
  • fallsilent - April 20, 2014 3:51 p.m.

    That's a BS excuse from Nintendo. LoZ: Four Swords is a GBA game and they were able to release it for FREE on the Nintendo 3DS a few months ago. It emulates the game perfectly well the way I see it.
  • SouthTippBass - April 21, 2014 2:07 a.m.

    Right.... so what about those 10 GBA ambassador games that were released for 3DS?
  • Vonter - April 21, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    Those were put in a custom emulator, kinda like the unofficial ones. It hasn't been tweaked to be sold that way and I assume that some games will not operate well, like some emulator games having emulation issues.
  • Arvilino - April 25, 2014 1:37 a.m.

    Actually it's not even an emulator, the Ambassador games run from DS mode which runs GBA mode to play them and as a result almost every 3DS feature are unusable(No sleep mode, no streetpass, no online, no save states, no miiverse) while it's playing and the games themselves don't run perfectly for example Yoshi's Island is a bit blurry and sometimes it takes 10-20 seconds for Fire Emblem Sacred Stones to load up. I'd be surprised if these Goldilocks who demand and think the 3DS can run GBA games "just right" would actually put down £6.29 for the games in this state. I think we'd sooner see another article about how much Nintendo is half assing the GBA Virtual Console on 3DS.
  • RPGrinder - April 20, 2014 12:03 p.m.

    Nintendo is not exploiting anyone.
  • Vonter - April 20, 2014 2:44 p.m.

    "If you wanted people to love you. You sure blew it with that insane rampage. But you know what? To be loved you have to be nice to people. Every day. But to be hated, you don't have to do squat." - The Simpsons
  • pukka-pie - April 20, 2014 3:03 a.m.

    Hang on... releasing a game on two platforms but not allowing cross platform play is exploitation...? Okay... but to use Sony as a defense is utterly ludicrous. This a company that removed the ability to play PS1 games on the PS4 just so that we have to pay for the right to play them all over again; a company that restricted SD card use in their handheld just so they could sell their own for extortionate prices; a company that knowingly sold GTA 5 for £55 even though it was knowingly a glitchy mess on PSN; a company that charges more for games like Metal Gear Solid 1 on PSN just because they know more people want to play it; a company that denies us the ability to use our PS3 controllers on the PS4 to squeeze a little bit extra out of us; a company that blazed a trail for restrictive DRM and then swept it under the rug when they saw the reaction Microsoft got! Now obviously in the pathetically petulant console world i'll be branded a "fanboy" for speaking up for Nintendo here but my main point isn't to rant against Sony - it's to point out that this is embarrassingly feeble "journalism". Honestly, you should be ashamed. A few paragraphs of moaning all because the ideal circumstance isn't a reality right now! I always thought this site was trash after seeing your amazingly terrible 'best games of all time' list; but wow... you really are the gutter press of gaming journalism. Change your colour scheme to a nice red top.
  • Vonter - April 20, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    Everyone has mess up in a way. Xbone with lack of BC, price and a device more useless than the Wii U's gamepad. Sony has more or less a dead portable and it looks like it tries to save that brand by making it a cheaper console for your TV. Nintendo seems the one with the most knee jerk reactions because of bad planning, games that needed expanded development times, a machine that to be true, is unknown how much powerful it is from the previous generation and is only known is less powerful than the new one. A controller was made for the interface but has been serverly underutilized for games, and games people want but still wouldn't buy the console only for those. Still people have liked the 3DS and that what keeps them afloat for now. I see crossplay more like a commodity and not a necessity, (but also to be true I haven't experienced the advantages it may have). The main issue I see is how to compensate for those who indeed bought the same game twice.
  • BladedFalcon - April 19, 2014 12:56 a.m.

    You know you're a fanboy beyond help when your best defense against a legitimate complaint is "Well just because everyone is doing it why should they??? What if it means it makes sense, it's more convenient and just flat out fair, Nintendo imitates no one! (even thought they totally do, just look at the game pad pro for proof..)So that's why I'm okay with them having their stores sucking and charging twice for a game unfairly!" So the lesson to be learned from nintendrones, is that it's better to be "Different" and suck, than do what "everyone else is doing" and be enjoyable or convenient... Hmmm... OSHIT ALL NINTENDO FANBOYS ARE TURNING INTO HIPSTERS NOW
  • Vonter - April 19, 2014 2:21 p.m.

    There, there. I think like the gamesradar article mention of "kind belonging to a team when picking a console", well people can get emotional with the things they like. However IMO what has made Nintendo good is straying from what everyone else does. They don't need overblown cinematics, deep stories or violent displays to make good games (I don't diminish games can be effective with those, but I don't believe it should be the standard). On the other hand taking risks can also hurt a company (Virtual Boy, Nintendo DD, that satellite thing for the SNES). There's not a final solution I mean added power is appealing now, but it wasn't that hot in 2006. Nintendo obviously has had an Apple influence for some years now, but why they mean when they don't imitate others is mainly on what Sony and Microsoft does, I mean aside from Reggie I don't think they have acknowledge them at all, I mean when they talk about sales they mainly point the mobile market and not the others. I don't know if it's right to admit your last point, since couldn't it also mean, embracing niche/experimental/alternative games?
  • fullmetallegend - April 20, 2014 5:58 p.m.

    True, nothing is wrong with Nintendo's games. That's how it's always been, they make good games. Their horrible online service, though. You can't download any game you've bought onto a new console, even a replacement console, without connecting it to the old console. Sony has an easy deactivation system to allow you download games on multiple systems, and can even be on 3 systems at once. Even if a system break, you can just call them. Everything else wrong with it was stated in this article.
  • Vonter - April 20, 2014 11:10 p.m.

    I skipped the PS3 but I remember hearing their online system was bad compared to the Xbox live at start of last gen. Things take time. Nintendo isn't as big as the other two and don't have branches that extend to PC or high tech OS development like Microsoft has. Yeah, I can't disagree with the second point mainly because accidents happen. That is a legitimate worry with their digital service.
  • TheGooseinator - April 18, 2014 9:31 p.m.

    Maybe if they just made some new AAA games, we wouldn't even need to play anything on Virtual Console O_o
  • SnakeinmyBoot - April 18, 2014 9:25 p.m.

    Nintendo has always been sorta greedy like this. They were the 90s Microsoft of the home video game market during the mid 80s to mid 90s. They quickly gained the market majority, then used unethical and sometimes outright illegal business practices to make more money and keep the market share. Now that they can't screw over developers and third party publishers, they're turning a blind eye to the consumer friendly practices their competition is using, just because they still have their old school exclusives(and they don't want to spend the effort to keep up with the times). It's just gonna take a lot of Ninty's customer base complaining to get them to consider the cross-buy format. They probably won't get away with this much longer, now that the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U have more and more of the exact same products on their respective online storefronts. This is why I hate the whole old games for sale online deal. It was bad enough 10-15 years when I found different Sega or Capcom compilation discs for gen 5 or 6 every so often, maybe too often. They had a few good games loaded with a few ok to crappy ones but you usually got a good deal out of it. Now most online stores have the benefit of having software already set up for the old game's original console to be emulated on the system it's now intended to be run on. So, they can to put no effort into most games and sell them for extremely inflated prices compared to the volume of games they sell on the service and the cost of running the store's servers. The Virtual Console and its competitors are a great way to get the rare games who's disc/cart goes for $100+ used online and in shops and generates revenue for the development of new games. But, especially in Nintendo's(the guys who supposedly have enough money to survive in the red for decades) case, their inflated prices for games they've sold millions of time over just seems like a cash grab. The lack of cross buy helps that feeling immensely.
  • jedisamurai - April 18, 2014 2:56 p.m.

    The comments seem to be a bit out of touch with what this article is about. Nintendo has ALWAYS screwed over it's customers. If there is a way to be pig-headed, greedy, snobby, and irritating, believe me, Nintendo has done it. Don't believe me? Try to transfer your virtual console games to a new Wii. try to play them on a friend's Wii. Try to play downloaded games on more than one console. Then when you are actually allowed to play the games that you purchase, they price gouge you all the way. Nintendo makes small limited batches of their games (like Disney) to artificially inflate the price. This known as "pulling an Apple" or "pulling a Disney" but of course people also often call it "pulling a Nintendo". Why do they do this? Because they have so much money they really don't need to give a crap about their customers. So they don't. Contrast this with say... SEGA, who gives you tons of extra modes in games, and repeatedly under-cuts competitors on price, re-releases games that people say they want, and charges reasonable prices for them. When SONY makes you look greedy, it's time to wake up and smell the shrink-wrap Nintendo.

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