Wired has a compelling article
up on Nintendo's download service and the hassle of transferring your downloaded content to a new console. Because Virtual Console games and other DLC are tethered to a specific Wii or DSi console, instead of a user account like on Xbox Live or PSN, there currently is no quick and clean way to transfer downloaded content from one Nintendo console to the next. If your console breaks you have to send it in for a data transfer, or you have to call customer service to get it done, and some of the customers in the article got the run-around. This is a real problem for people who have their consoles die, or just want to upgrade to new hardware like the black Wii
or DSi XL
. And who knows what will happen when the 3DS shows up.
In my opinion, Nintendo's download service has been a slow motion train wreck since the Wii's launch--I can tolerate their other missteps but online is the one aspect of their business that still frustrates me. It's too decentralized, too confusing and too limited compared to just about every other DLC system out there right now. Nintendo has also spent too much time experimenting with it for the service to really establish itself--hell, it took them until 2009 to let users expand the Wii's paltry 512MB of storage with SD cards. It's as if they aren't looking ahead to the problems that inevitably crop up with new hardware compatibility. If users can't transfer the content they bought with their own money to a new system, Nintendo will have a lot of unhappy customers when the 3DS launch rolls around.