Currently pre-downloading digital games has been a thing that only existed on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (some PC games too). You would buy a digital game and instead of everyone in the world trying to download it at midnight on release, it would stagger that download over several days, often a week or two, so the servers weren’t bogged down day 1. This also meant that you could play the game the moment midnight struck, instead of waiting an hour or two for it to download. The Wii U and 3DS are both going to officially be offering that same pre-download service, but for now it all starts with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U… with 3DS support for this download system coming next year.

Here’s what Iwata had to say on this brand new system:

“Also, we will be implementing what we call a “pre-download” system with “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U” that will be released at the end of this year.

The “pre-download” system is a system in which consumers who have purchased the game before its release can download most of the game content in advance. Using this system, consumers will not have to wait for a long time to download the game after its release. They will then be able to start playing the game by only downloading a requisite minimum amount of update data.

In addition to the automatic distribution system at the time of purchase, which I have just explained, the “pre-download” system will be available with download cards sold at stores as well, by entering the download code at Nintendo e-Shop in advance. Consumers will not be required to save the download card until the release of the game if they enter the download code on the day of purchase.

This system will be implemented on Wii U first, and is planned for Nintendo 3DS next year.

As I have mentioned today, we are working on various approaches to make the digital business more user-friendly by providing a variety of payment methods, expanding distribution channels and enhancing consumer convenience.”

This of course doesn’t address some of the many issues folks have had with digital content on Nintendo platforms, most notably that if your system breaks you could potentially lose all your digital purchases. It’s an odd system, because the digital purchases are tied to your console… but also represented by the account. I say that because I sold my launch Wii U back when the Zelda special edition one came out and forgot to unlink my Nintendo Network ID. Thus I created a second one.

A few weeks back however, I was able to transfer my old Nintendo Network ID to my new console with a simple phone call. All I had to do was confirm some of my digital purchases, not even all of them. Within a week, they had my ID unlinked from my old Wii U and attached to the new one (which now has both my new ID and my old one on it, as the Wii U can house 12 NNIDs). So yes, purchases are attached to your account. Unfortunately I have heard that some have had issues recovering their content with a phone call, but most of this seems to be from outside the US.

In either case, for those of you who are like me and can actually trust a digital download in their territory, this is excellent news. That news alone is making me rethink my pre-order, and if I shouldn’t just buy one of those digital download cards instead, and switch my preorder to just the GCN adapter. While I enjoy physical products, with my two children in the house it is also a recipe for disaster. Time to get a new place with a proper man cave!

Source: Nintendo

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