As you know, I’m a big fan of Nintendo Wii, and for the most part I love its Virtual Console (VC) service. However, I can’t help but feel I don’t actually own the products I’m purchasing through the VC store. Each downloaded game is attached to that specific Wii. Meaning, the game can only be played on that Wii console. So if your system breaks, what do you do? I recently found out that you can register your VC purchases through Nintendo’s website by linking your MyNintendo account from Nintendo’s website to your Wii Store. I thought that by registering the games, it would maybe act as proof of owning them, so that if my Wii console ever broke I would be able to download these games again onto my new system without a problem. However, after sending an e-mail to Nintendo, I can’t help but think that we really don’t really own these games, and that worries me.
First off, if you bought a bunch of VC games before linking your MyNintendo account, you’ll notice that they won’t pop up on your registered games list. I had to e-mail a Nintendo rep and ask them to add the games to my list, which was slightly embarrassing when I have Altered Beast on that list (which is hilariously bad in case you didn’t know). The following is part of the e-mail I sent to the Nintendo reps.
“I was also hoping that you could answer another question. I mainly want to have my VC games registered as proof of me owning them. Since VC titles are basically tethered to the Wii, I’m afraid that if the Wii ever breaks, I’ll lose my games. By having VC titles registered, would this act as a way for me to be able to re-download them if they were ever lost on a broken system?
Thanks for your time and help. Have a great day.”
About a week later I received this response back.
“Hello and thank you for contacting Nintendo,
Using the information in your e-mail, I was able to locate the account for your system, and to add the Virtual Console titles to the list of games that you have registered.
While having the games listed to your account is helpful, the official list is associated with the serial number of your Wii console. If the system is ever damaged or was in need of repair, you will want to contact us. We would set up a repair where you would send your system to us. We would either repair your unit, or transfer those titles to another unit. It should be noted that we cannot do this if you no longer had the system.
Thanks for your email and good luck with all your games!”
Is it just me, or does that seem like an absolute hassle just to have your VC games back? When he says “transfer your titles to another Wii” does that include games you may have backed up onto an SD card once you run out of space on the Channels menu? Are they transferring your payment records, or the actual game data? I decided to probe the game counselor a little more, with the following e-mail.
“Thanks for responding and updating my registered games list. Just to be sure all bases are covered, say I fill up all of my Wii channels and I’m forced to move titles onto an SD card, would I have to send my SD card in along with the broken Wii in order to “keep” and prove I’ve purchased those titles? Thanks!”
Since writing that, it’s been well over a week and I haven’t received a reply yet. Maybe I’m jumping the gun here, but am I being ignored? Do these guys simply not know how to answer that question?
The fact of the matter is that we bought these games with our own money. Technically, we should own these games and be able to do whatever we want with them. If I back up all of my VC games on an SD Card, and then my Wii breaks, I should be able to put them onto my new Wii system without any hassle at all. Or better yet, I should be able to link my ‘My Nintendo’ account to the new Wii console and should be able to re-download these titles. We paid for these games, and in some cases we paid too much for these games (here’s looking at you Donkey Kong).
Which raises the question, as consumers, are we being robbed? Nintendo and the other third parties are basically getting free money for their VC games. This is simply old product that probably cost them a nickel to put onto this service, and we are willingly paying the prices set for these titles. We should be able to prove we own these games without having to jump through all of the hurdles Nintendo has set up.