As many of you are aware, Nintendo is closing down their rewards program and replacing it with a new one later this year. But why? Looking back through company president Satoru Iwata's statements over the last year, especially to the company's investors, website The Tanooki thinks it's possible Nintendo has already hinted at what this successor program will be like.
Anyone who has played a current Nintendo system knows the Nintendo Network ID system, or NNID, has already begun to unify Nintendo's handheld and console offerings. But it's not perfect. It doesn't let customers manage their purchases and data in an account-based system like Microsoft and Sony do. It also lacks full cross-buy capability in all regions. Europe has had at least one cross-buy title on the eShop, but that's just a blip on the radar compared to Vita/PS3 cross-buys.
This is where previous comments Iwata has made to investors come into play. Now that Nintendo has entered the arena of digital distribution, Iwata sees an opportunity:
“Based on our account system, if we can offer flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more.” — Satoru Iwata
Iwata's statement seems to hint at a rewards system where you pay less if you buy more. Iwata goes on to say:
“Nintendo aims to work on this brand-new sales mechanism in the medium term, but we would like to start experimenting with Wii U at an early stage.” — Satoru Iwata
It would seem they plan to experiment with this "buy more, pay less" system on the Wii U first. But if NNIDs will be the core of this new system, then a reward system isn't the only thing that becomes possible. Right now, NNIDs are used to keep track of digital purchases made on Nintendo systems. With that information integrated into Club Nintendo's successor, it would be much easier for Nintendo to more fully implement a cross-buy system like the one Sony uses. In the most recent Nintendo Direct, it was revealed that cross-buy would be a feature of the upcoming title Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars; buy the Wii U game, get a download code for the 3DS version, and vice-versa. It's possible that Club Nintendo's successor will allow Nintendo to implement this sort of cross-buy on the Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console services, as well as select games on the rest of the eShop. One can imagine the tantalizing prospect of being able to buy The Legend of Zelda or Super Mario Bros. on one system and then be able to download it to the other for free.
If Nintendo is planning for Club Nintendo's successor to use NNIDs, that would explain why Club Nintendo had to close instead of simply being rebranded. Porting the old system over to the new one would likely prove to be extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive. Do you think Club Nintendo's closing is a sign of better things to come? Even if you do, are you still upset that you have to blow all your hard-earned coins so it can happen? Would a new NNID-based system be worth that to you? Let us know in the comments!
Source: The Tanooki