For ages, Nintendo dillied and dallied with digital game distribution while the rest of the industry blazed forward to embrace online market places like Steam, the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and, of course, the App Store. But suddenly, it seems like Nintendo is ready to start taking digital distribution seriously. One indication is the robust condition of the eShop, but here's the real kicker: the recently-announced New Super Mario Bros 2 for the 3DS will be available as either a retail title or a game download on launch day. Your choice!
"In principle, starting from this software, the company will offer the software titles that Nintendo itself publishes in both packaged and digital download formats so that our consumers can choose the way to purchase them," Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said at an investor's meeting on Friday. "Since the packaged and the digital download formats both have their own merits, we would like to offer both of these options to our consumers."
If you do opt for a digital version of New Super Mario Bros 2, the game will be tied to the machine that you perform the download on.
But what about cost? At this point, the answer isn't clear. Though downloadable games are typically cheaper than their retail counterparts, Nintendo is going to be taking an interesting route with the Wii U's downloadable games: said games will be sold via redeemable codes that will be priced by retailers, not Nintendo. Will this be the case for New Super Mario Bros 2 as well?
Needless to say, I'll have more information on the situation as soon as it comes in.
Image © Nintendo