Feb 12th, 2013

Currently both Microsoft and Sony have premium services for their consoles that are expected to carry on into next generation. Nintendo is the only console that hasn’t offered some sort of premium service with its new Nintendo Network, but if that were to change, would you subscribe?

While Nintendo is no stranger to offering gamers rewards for their purchases, a subscription service is something the company has never tried before. Currently Nintendo is running two separate ways of rewarding consumers who purchase their products. Club Nintendo offers coins that are redeemable for physical items on Nintendo purchases only, while the Wii U Digital Deluxe Promotion offers gamers who purchase a Deluxe Wii U points on future eShop purchases.

The Digital Deluxe Promotion is a good starting point, but Nintendo could expand it into so much more. Last week our talking point was digital games and whether or not you would purchase them. The overwhelming majority of you said you’d rather have a physical disk and only make purchases on the eShop if they’re games that are only sold on the eShop. That’s a fair point, since Nintendo doesn’t really offer any incentive to purchase games digitally.

Adapting Sony’s PlayStation Plus Model

When the PS3 was introduced, Sony did not offer a subscription service. It wasn’t until E3 2010 that Sony announced Playstation Plus, a premium–optional–service for PS3 users to get more from their console. For $49.99 a year, Playstation Plus users get free games every month and discounts up to 50% off of Playstation Network titles for both PS3 and PS Vita games.

This model could work very well for Nintendo and the Digital Deluxe promotion is already the start of it. Deluxe owners currently receive 599 points on $59.99 purchases. 500 points can be redeemed for $5 worth of credit in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U. This is a nice perk, but with the limited selection of games currently available and the Deluxe Promotion only lasting a limited time, it’s ultimately something many people will soon forget about.

Nintendo could adapt Sony’s model and offer a Club Nintendo subscription service that offers free Virtual Console games each month for subscribers, as well as discounts on eShop purchases in the Wii U and 3DS eShops. This would help combat the problem that digital purchases are perceived as being too expensive if customers feel like they’re getting more than their fair share for the subscription service they pay.

Other perks and features that could be considered for such a subscription include early access to demos and Nintendo releases, a small reward of Club Nintendo points for third-party titles, and perhaps even sales and additional discounts similar to what Steam offers for PC users. Cloud storage and automatic updating are currently offered to PS+ members and would be a boon to Wii U owners. Perhaps cross-platform play between the Wii U and the 3DS could be considered as well. The possibilities for such a service are limitless, but it would also require Nintendo to step up in a few key areas.

Currently, purchases made on the Wii U and 3DS are tied to the Nintendo Network ID and the console that they were purchased on. This leads to some problems when people get rid of their consoles or have technical problems. Nintendo support is generally pretty good about working these things out, but some of these problems could be avoided entirely if Nintendo dropped the hardware activation and used ID activation only. This is currently the way Microsoft and Sony both handle purchases.

The Benefits for Nintendo

Of course advocating a subscription service like this means both the consumer and the publisher need to get a mutual benefit from it. Consumers profit by receiving discounts on games they were already going to purchase as well as free Virtual Console titles, while Nintendo can rake in subscription fees each month/year for added revenue to help recoup money lost by offering consoles for the baseline price.

What are some of the benefits you’d like to see in a subscription service like this? Would you subscribe to support Nintendo and receive eShop discounts? Vote in the poll below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

If Nintendo offered a subscription service for discounts on games, would you subscribe?
pollcode.com free polls 
local_offer    club nintendo  Nintendo  wii u  
  • Nintendofreak

     i have club nintendo n im working toward the golden nunchuck, so yeah  well make d subscription program something like dat (club nintendo point reward system) u know able to get stuff u cant buy at a store n u can count me in

  • John Andalora

    First, get more games on the Wii U shop channel. Then, maybe.
    But, as of right now, there’s not enough selection to warrant a subscription. I’d wait until they got more games that one could download and purchase.

  • Fred

    I’d be happy if they just extended the Deluxe Digital promotion by not ending it in a few years and extending it to my 3DSs (not a typo I own 2 of them) as well
    People say there’s no discount for downloading games on their Wii U, but they forget about this Deluxe Digital program it essentially makes $50 and $60 dollar games $5 off of the retail price. Not a huge discount, but I can then use that $5 and buy a virtual console game on my 3DS (or Wii U in the near Future)

  • The problem is…. Nintendo club isn’t for everyone. I’m from Brazil, and Nintendo Club don’t accept us. I would love have a account on Nintendo Club, but i wouldn’t like to lie about my zip code and give up from the  fisicals toasts just to have this account.

    • That’s a problem with all subscription services. Xbox LIVE and Playstation Plus are not available in some areas as well. Latin America and South America most notably suffered from this in the early days of those consoles.

    • DragonSilths

      Club Nintendo not Nintendo Club.

  • Patendo

    nintendo club europe is awful!! Its hardly worth anything and the points you get to claim some nintendo memorabilia is not normally a good deal (for how many games you need to buy to get the points). It currently has no Wii U linked products or anything half decent, I find it rather rubbish to be honest,

    so I would definately want a revamp and better deals for my money/points

  • guest

    screw that. we already pay for the internet, consoles and video games. It is morons that pay for a monthly subscription for something they have invested tons of money into to enjoy in the first place. soon u wiil have to pay money so when u play halo ur character wont be in whitie tighties, oh wait games are already starting to make u pay to have a better experience even though u already forked out sixty plus dollars to bring it home to play. i for one think companies will try to get the most out of your wallets and lots of u are more than willing, really sad. thats why i have always been a fan of nintendo, hopefully nintendo fans are smarter and wont let the gaming industry run us dry for worthless subscriptions, game addons, different models, extra levels, things to make games ”better” when they should have had those things in the first place.

    • Nintendo has always said paying for internet is ridiculous. So even if they did make a service, it wouldn’t be very intrusive I dont think…

    • Megan Allen

      actually i dont mind paying extra money for BONUS content but it’s in opinion if you had to buy things like weapons or lives that’s a little ridiculous,but for things like EXTRA levels that come later on I don’t mind

      • guest

        well it used to be called an expansion, where it added a lot more hours ofreplay to the original game, not just a couple of maps. look at steam, dosnt charge u a monthly fee to use there services, tons of daily, weekly sales, a great community, achievements, browser, talk chat utility, free games and its free to use. if nintendo was thinking about what the other companies are doing i think they should model it after steam, not microsoft or sony.

        • Megan Allen

          ooohhhh i see what you mean now (and agree)

    • Johny

      yeah but we’re not entirely talking about those worthless and cash on dlc’s which should be (here i TOTALY agree with you) FRIGGIN included if you paid like 60$ for their game… its just really low…

      but a subscription with certain discounts from games, and idk.. getting some free games (virtual console OR e-shop).. ,preferably of choice, i think its not a bad idea.
      and yea.. i also love nintendo for not making us pay for something we should have gotten in the first place 🙂 like online play….dlcs (have you ever seen a dlc in a nintendo game?)

      • DragonSilths

        NSMB2 has DLC.

        • Guhtere

          Yeah but it’s not like you HAVE to get the DLC. It’s not like the game ends right before the fight with bowser and then says “In order to complete this game, you must pay $5.99 for the DLC. It’s just some extra levels. It’s not like what some companies do like where they make you have to buy the “new weapon’s” pack in order to finish 5% of the game.

          • DragonSilths

            True. But point was Nintendo has done DLC.

  • Matt Lambourne

    As it is, the best thing I can get from club nintendo is a SNES controller for Wii, and that costs like a million stars.  They’d have to do much better than that.

    • Tim van Broekhoven

      You can get e shop cards for your stars…

      • Matt Lambourne

        Right, but they can’t be used for WiiU or 3DS, so they are useless to me.

  • Johny

    nice article. thanks for putting that kind of stuff on the site.

    i think a subscription service would be a great idea. and it would really help nintendo with their losses with every wii u sold. + a great thing for dedicated nintendo fans 🙂

  • Mickey Mouse

    Forget a sub service and trying to get more money from us, just reduce the digital copy prices on the eShop’s instead of giving a piddly discount only after forking out for a sub service,which would then be an ‘artificial’ discount anyway.

    Besides, Nintendo have already said they’re too far behind to offer such a service that would compete with the others.

  • It depends what N offers as Patendo already mentioned the European club account is useless, hardly worthwhile items and the few which are worthwhile are impossible to collect as they have ridiculous prices, an example is an awesome Link Statue but you’ll need 25000 stars for it and each game you register gives you 250 stars and sometimes an additional 50 when filling in and enquête. Consoles/handhelds give 500-750 stars so do the math to see how many games you need to buy… On top of that every 3 or 4 months an older ammount will be gone 250-350 stars…

    So again depends what they are offering for me whether or not to subscribe.

  • RoyCar69

    Sure Microsoft’s gold service is successful from an accountants point of view but is it with their customers? I personally resent having to buy a gold membership to play online, use netflix and other online services. I’m not a Sony fan but I do like what they offer with their premium service. It’s just too bad that the PS3 is not capable of giving what gamers most want. Cross game chat. 
    I would hope that Nintendo would give us customers a true choice and true satisfaction of paying for a premium service. But also make if ok if we don’t. Peace

  • C.S. Bailey

    A subscription would be nice, but I have to give credit to Nintendo for keeping Club Nintendo going in the first place. I’ve gotten a ton of free games by just using my coins.

  • DragonSilths

    No. Nintendo doesn’t believe in charging people for that type of thing. Why would Nintendo pull a XBL thing where you pay for online and such. No, just no.

  • Laud

    I would get it but only if it helped for things like server costs, if it was just a way for Nintendo to cash in like Xbox then I wouldn’t buy in.

  • Guhtere

    2% of the people voted “What’s a subscription service?”

  • DemonRoach

    Nintendo is lost in the 00’s

    • DemonRoach

      Wonder how many more electrical outlets Nintendo is confiscate in order to flat out lie about the energy efficiency of it’s system. 

  • AAAkabob

    Or… we could keep everything free like Nintendo is known for!

  • AAAkabob

    Also this is incorrect because you can use Nintendo Club coins to get digital games for the consoles as well.

    • Tim van Broekhoven

      But that’s only in America I think…

  • Make the Club nintendo account your main account for all of the systems.  Nintendo’s achievement system could run through Club Nintendo.  Instead of trophies/achievements its the coin system and they could give us a bigger selection of rewards to cash in including free games.   All registrations would be proof of digital game ownership, which would mean any system thats registered you can download those games multiple times on different Wii Us or multiple 3DS systems you own.  Maybe with 3rd parties the coins can be used to give us dlc for free or special prizes.   Give people real rewards instead of this non sense where people are comparing their inflated scores.   My games are already registered… I should be able to have multiple systems.  Nintendo already has proof that i own all of these systems…

  • mralloverit

    Subscription service? At this point, I have to vote NO. What they need to do before they even consider anything of the sort, is fix what they have now. First, eliminate the issue with digital downloads being anchored to the console. Get rid of it completely. Second, drop the price of digital downloads for full retail games by at least $5 if not more. Keeping the prices for digital and physical games the same offers nothing to persuade the consumer to buy digital and it makes people believe that Nintendo is just as money hungry as everyone else. If anything  that extra 5 or 10 dollars only goes toward paying the manufacturing costs for the discs, cases, inserts, and instructions. Not only that, server upkeep doesn’t cost that much anyway. Charging $50-55 for digital, you’d still make money as well as cover your costs. The only drawback I see, is that digital games can’t be traded in. One fix for this, is to offer good demos for EVERY game you sell on the E-Shop. That way, anyone that wants, can try the game and if they don’t like it, they can get rid of it at no risk to anyone. Third, Achievements. Make them account-wide if you wish, but don’t strong-arm developers into including them on the game like MS and Sony. Give them the choice to make them or not and if gamers start bitching about it, tough shit. Deal with it. Fourth, Miiverse. This is an amazing concept that Nintendo came up with, but there are some improvements that can be made to the service. One of these is to increase the 100 character cap on posts. 200 or 300 is a more comfortable limit to work with and it helps get your point across better. Another thing we could use, is party chat. many people ask about it and a lot of the services I use between PC and PS3, give us that option. Lastly, while I do agree that off topic posts should be kept off game specific threads, try and give us a few off topic threads for posting other things on gamers minds. There’s more to say about this, but I think I’ve rambled on a bit too long so I’m done for now. Until next time.

  • Hugh Quinn

    I would like to see a yearly subscription

  • Adam Fox

    All depends on what you get…..keep it like PSN though…free online gaming for all, and discounts for those that are paying members…..and a HUGE selling point would be making DLC content free for all premium subscribers….like folks on Xbox Live that want to get the latest CoD Map Packs are not only paying for the XBL service, they are also paying for the DLC….that kind of stuff can add up….so just make it where you pay for premium service and you get FREE Map Packs for BlackOps….it will make people want to buy the Wii U version of BlackOps, which will also get more people buying a Wii U…..Do the same for other big-name games..I know New Super Mario Bros 2 on 3DS had some DLC (and I downloaded all of it), I think it would have been awesome to just pay for a premium Nintendo service and get the DLC free….I know the 3DS had limited number of runs on demos, make it where the premium members get unlimited use of demos as well….make it cross-platform, once you get it on 3DS, it is on the Wii U as well, and vice versa….that would work…however, that may be asking for a good bit….but I would pay $50/year for that….free DLC, unlimited demo useage and even some free VC games….

  • MadCrain

    No…why would I want to pay for something that is free…

  • TrueWiiMaster

    No.  I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen.  Some of the “perks” of these subscription services aren’t even perks.  Early access to demos and discounts is more like punishment for non-subscribers than rewards for subscribers.  I mean, think about it.  Demos are like free samples.  They shouldn’t used as rewards for buying a subscription, otherwise known as paying for demos.  Likewise, discounts are to help a game sell by lowering the price.  What good is a discount you had to pay for?  That money could have gone toward the game itself!  If the “free” game set-up was like Sony’s, it wouldn’t be worth having either.  The games you get free with your $50 per year subscription to PS+ are never yours.  If your subscription runs out, the games lock, leaving you with nothing.  On top of that, you don’t get to pick the games.  Sony does.  Even if you already have the games, or don’t want them, that’s what your subscription gets you.  Right now I’m more than happy enough with my Deluxe promotion.  I get 10% back on everything in the eshop, and access to the sales and demos, and it was all free.

  • jjmesa14

    Club Nintendo

    I think that it would be cool to have a subscription service for Club Nintendo. If Nintendo offered maybe one Virtual Console Game for free every month and maybe some discounts on eShop games I would probably pay around $50-$60 a year. To make this less intrusive Nintendo could have these games download automatically instead of you having to go to the eShop and manually download them. Too bad Nintendo Power doesn’t exist anymore because they could have a digital version for the Wii U that you could subscribe to and view it on the GamePad.

    Nintendo eShop fixes

    Nintendo needs to offer the ability to play your eShop purchased games on consoles other than the one that you own (like Apple). That is why I buy the physical disc. So I can take it to a family members house and play the game without having to bring my own system to play. The problem with that is that the games are $10-$60 dollars vs the App Store which has games for $1. What Nintendo could do is allow a games to be downloaded to only 2-3 systems at a time.