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.