Nintendo has revealed its plans to release digital copies of its first-party Wii U titles same-day as the physical release, and do the same with 3DS titles.
The company's starting the new dual model with this summer's New Super Mario Bros 2.
Speaking at its Financial Results Briefing, President Satoru Iwata stated how the company's aim was to "significantly expand its digital business both in order to adapt to the changes in the circumstances surrounding the video game industry and to create a new business opportunity".
The eShop Approach
Opportunity knocked by way of the 3DS eShop which has seen a influx of repeat users. And while the digital store has "room for improvement", Iwata believes the foundations of Nintendo's digital plans are laid out.
He confirms two 3DS games adopting the strategy: New Super Mario Bros 2, and Onitore - but you can bet other games will quickly follow.
The digital download's will have the same system-lock typical of XBLA titles: while you'll download the game to your SD card, it'll only work with the 3DS unit it was bought on.
However, Nintendo plans not to cut out retailers from the optional process.
"Our consumers can visit retail outlets or the retailers' online shopping sites, look for products of interest, make a purchase decision and actually pay for the product there. The retailers then can issue the 16-digit software exchange code. Consumers can enter the 16-digit code at the Nintendo eShop to download the software."
Iwata marks the need to keep retailers in the loop to "lower [players'] psychological barrier to making online purchases".
"We recognise that one of the biggest hurdles for the expansion of our digital business is the limited methods to expose digitally downloadable products to potential consumers. This recognition is one of the reasons why we are taking this sort of approach."
Price points for the digital code model will be decided by retailers, Iwata stated, and says the company has no plans to "act on such a belief as, 'digital download software should be sold at a cheaper price point than the packaged software counterpart'".