Well, the Nintendo Direct came and went this week with a few great announcements, but left a few problems in its wake as well. The biggest of these seems to be the open issue with account systems and tracking your purchases across assorted Nintendo platforms like the 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and the upcoming NX.
This arose after the announcement of the Super Nintendo finally joining the portable line of Virtal Console systems exclusively on the New 3DS and New 3DS XL systems. Excitement for it was immediately obvious online, apart from the complaints from people who don't understand the power required in proper system emulation, especially as they showed the famous line up of games coming to this service in the start. But what started to sour the idea for many was when they ended the section without talking about price or anything about people that already purchased these titles multiple times already. It was later shown that each game will cost $7.99 and will not offer any kind of discount for those that already owned these games.
And that is the main issue here...a complete lack of tracking what you have purchased from Nintendo digitally, even though they have shown that they can see this information just fine. Previous games have had the ability for "cross buy" such as OlliOlli and Mario vs Donkey Kong or at least a discount for the other if you buy one of Shovel Knight, Squids Odyssey, and even Wii Virtual Console titles as they moved to the Wii U. But those of us that have purchased games such as Pilot Wings, Super Mario World, and F-Zero on the Wii and/or Wii U will be forking out the full $7.99 once again just to play these titles on the go and that is not sitting well with many gamers.
Sony has been implementing a Cross-Buy feature for a long time now going back to the Playstation Portable, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita, and most recently the Playstation 4. They make it easy to redownload games quickly should you change hardware (which I have done just recently by purchasing a new PS3 to replace my aging backwards compatible 80GB model) or if you purchase new hardware and certain games are available.
This simple feature adds a HUGE value to the buyer as their new system has a library of games out the gate, and leads to more people buying the other systems the more titles they buy for the systems that connect with it. The days most people brought home the Vita were when their previous Playstation Classics games as well as their digital PSP titles were all ready to download, for no extra charge, to play on the go.
Even newer systems are implementing these ideas in differnt ways. The Playstation 4 may not be compatible with previous generations, but titles that come out for it that are new versions of previous releases, Flower for example, are giving those that bought the other versions the game for free. That one title was a PS3 original, that gave away the later Vita, and finally PS4 versions by simply buying any of the versions once.
Microsoft has been working with the Xbox One to bring in more content from the Xbox 360 by implementing an ever growing backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games. You simply see the digital titles show up as options to download for free if you had them on your 360 account previously, even if you no longer have the old hardware around. This goes for disc based games too that simple need you to put the game in to initialize download of the title, and then simply needs the disc in the system whenever you want to play it.
These options are simple and consumer friendly ways to expand a users purchase and to build up a history with them that keeps loyalty as the brands grow. Nintendo has a HUGE list of games you can not get anywhere else, but the simple act of making us buy these games...again and again...is starting to wear thin with almost everyone. Even me, a self proclaimed lover of all things Nintendo, has drawn the line. Will I get Super Metroid and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past...probably...but I am accutely aware of all the games I COULD be enjoying because I paid the money for a New Nintendo 3DS and it's limited reasons to actually own one. People could have used this as a stepping stone to new hardware...that reason they needed to upgrade, but now I see people throwing in the towel and just going back to cheaper emulation methods. And while those methods are nowhere NEAR as good or accurate as what Nintendo is doing, they are free...and don't have that "buy it again" sting we are starting to resent from Nintendo.
My Nintendo and the Nintendo Account systems have been hinted at with little bits of information coming out about it lately, but with this announcement that continues to show a lack of concern or even knowledge of the damage they are doing in regards to their buyers and how Nintnedo treats their digital histories, one wonders if these new systems will just be more of the same. Why push something like this the very month you are going to move ahead with a new system if it will be something in the better interest of the consumer? Will our histories finally become a tool for us instead of a list of their sales for Nintendo? Only time will tell with E3 and the seemingly random, and sadly vague, Nintendo Directs between now and June 14th date when the events start.