The more the idea of making the switch from physical media to 100% digital distribution in video games becomes less of a hypothetical and a very real, tangible possibility, the more I feel like the games industry at large is just not prepared for that fundamental change to the way we buy games. On a related note, Nintendo has announced it’s going to be removing people’s ability to download games they’ve paid for in 42 countries in a few months.
On July 31, Nintendo will be closing down the eShop for Wii U and 3DS systems in Latin American and Caribbean countries, which makes some kind of sense because those systems aren’t exactly being supported that much these days, and according to the announcement posted on Nintendo’s support site, the eShop on those systems in those countries only performs the most basic of functions like code redemption. However, by shutting down the online storefront, Nintendo is also making it impossible to access any games and software that is not downloaded onto the system before that date, including entire digital libraries of games people paid money for. Along with removing access to these games, no one will be able to use digital codes on these platforms either, so Nintendo tells people they should redeem any codes they need to before then.
Regarding the possibility of a new, full eShop coming to these territories and these platforms, Nintendo says it has “nothing to announce” on that topic in particular.
The full list of affected countries are as follows:
Anguilla, Antigua/Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Cost Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent/Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands, Uruguay, Venezuela.
In other news:
- Despite Evidence of the Contrary, Square Says FFVII Remake Won’t Deviate From Original Story
- Not Even Valorant’s Exec. Producer Will Risk Solo Queue as a Woman
- The Last of Us: Part II and Ghost of Tsushima Have Release Dates, Iron Man VR is MIA
So what this essentially means is that, if people want to keep their Wii U and 3DS games, players in these 42 countries have to download all of them, on systems that don’t typically come with a great deal of internal memory in the first place, or lose them forever. Make jokes about the Wii U all you want, but the 3DS especially has a huge library, and if people have been playing games digitally on that system for a long time, they’ll have to throw down some cash for some SD cards to ensure they can keep all of their games.
It’s just another example of the digital future lacking the same future proofing of physical media, and the insistence we as an industry have on making it a thing means that issues of preservation are going to keep coming up every few years when companies stop supporting certain hardware. Also doesn’t help that some of us even have trouble downloading games in the first place, but that’s another conversation you can read about right here.