Nintendo: 3DS Digital Downloads Not So Popular In Australia

While Microsoft and Sony embraced the online age — the former more readily than the latter — Nintendo took its time to get on-board the internet gravy train. The crazy success of the Wii and DS postponed the need for the entertainment giant to put together a definitive strategy and it wasn't until the release of the 3DS that Nintendo really began a serious push towards connectivity. So, how has its efforts faired globally as well in the not-so-insignificant land of Oz?

Nintendo of Japan president Satoru Iwata this week delivered a small selection of revealing figures at a briefing covering the company's financials for the past year. While the focus was on Japan and the United States, Australia did find itself mentioned a few times, mostly on the digital downloads front.

According the Iwata, the ratio between traditional retail and digital purchases on 3DS ranged from three to 10 per cent globally, with Japan unsurprisingly blasting ahead at "no less than 15 per cent". Using New Super Mario Bros. 2 as a basis for comparison, the US was next big digital consumer, with Australia and Europe's contributions being "relatively small". That probably places us at the three per cent (or lower) end of the aforementioned average.

Overall, Iwata declared the "pace" of digital downloads as "relatively mild" here in Australia and Europe, though worldwide the number of connected 3DS users has hit 72 per cent — ten per cent higher than 2011 — according to Nintendo's stats. There's no explanation or speculation as to the slower uptake outside of Japan and the US, so if you have some theories, feel free to post about them in the comments.

Second Quarter Financial Results Briefing, 2013 [Nintendo of Japan, via The Escapist]


    It would be nice to have something we can browse online, than specifically on the 3DS (XL/etc). I am looking to purchase a Nintendo 3DS XL, and if all my games could be a downloaded, then i would be happy. But after a lot of searches not everything is online. I think they just need to push a little more and get more content online, and something browsable via your PC.

    considering the fact that nearly every brick and mortar retailer down here has NSMB2 available for less than the price it is to download it from the eShop, not to mention the fact that our eShop seems to be far more lacklustre than it's overseas counterparts. . . it doesn't really surprise me that Nintendo's digital distribution service down here is close to flatlining. . .

    Last edited 28/10/12 12:37 pm

      I'm not a 3DS owner myself, so thanks for pointing out the price difference. Definitely a compelling argument.

        I think they're $70 for us? (I can't remember)

        I think in the US they're priced more reasonably at $40 or so.

        I just did a quick look, JB Hifi have the game for $59 dollars, Gametraders had it for $63.95 and EB have a limited edition version for $68 (I'm certain the stock version they also have is cheaper) Most department stores seems to have it around this price range as well when it isn't on sale.

        The eShop has it going for $69.95, not a large margin (unless you buy from JB Hifi) but you need to take into account the data you're going to use to download this game. . . I would assume many 3DS users wouldn't be on massive internet data packs that would give them the breathing room to download a game the size of NSMB2 (I'm just guessing here, I have no idea how big the download is for NSMB2, I'm guessing around 350MB at least)

      Nintendo is new to first and second party online retailing and they are a business of traditional practices and relationships. Undercutting their loyal retailers is perhaps not a great first impression to make. Something has to give eventually though, especially in price conscious markets like Australia and the UK.

    Highly overpriced and limited range what do they expect?

    Cost more than to buy retail, which is silly because they cost less to produce. And our Internet speeds are so slow here in comparison to the rest of the world, it's harder to download stuff.

    Pullblox and Picross e I downloaded in a heart beat, because they were cheap, good games you wouldn't expect to see on a retail shelf. Worth the money.

    There's no way I'm paying full RRP for a downloadable retail game that I can actually get cheaper at retail, comes without packaging or a manual, and uses up space on my SD card.
    If they want me to buy a retail game from eShop, they better well make it competitive cost-wise. Set the price to about $25 or $30 bucks and I'd be all over it.

    Also, selling their retail games in eShop must significantly cut cost for distribution and manufacturing, why are these savings not passed on to the buyer?

      Because Nintendo love your money?

      Though I must admit I do enjoy Picross e myself

    GTA V SPRING 2013

    Last edited 28/10/12 1:11 pm

    Gee what a no brainer - over priced and very few releases. At times it seems like they lazily do a currency exchange of the highest priced download. It should also be noted who would in their right mind pay the ridiculous full RRP (tho that might change for games like Animal Crossing or a Pokemon game) for a retail game? It should be at least $10 cheaper. I don't think it would disrupt retail shops as most people still prefer physical copies of games. a few disadvantages of digital is that you can't trade or sell the game, you can't loan it to a friend or share amongst family/friends. If you're disappointed with the game you are permanently stuck with. And what happens to downloaded games in the future?

    What was Nintendo expecting its clearly obvious the main reason the digital versions are not selling is because of their price, All being sold at full retail price

    Lets compare it to the likes of OzGameShop and I'll go by the games that are listed at $69.95 on the eShop

    Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask you can get on OGS at $48.99
    Super Mario 3D Land you can get on OGS at $44.99
    Mario Kart 7 you can get on OGS at $46.99
    Legend of Zelda OoT 3D you can get on OGS at $47.99
    Mario Tennis Open you can get on OGS at $46.99
    New Super Mario Bros 2 you can get on OGS at $46.99
    Star Fox 64 3D is the biggest culprit as you can get on OGS for a mere $31.99 compared to $69.95 on the eShop

    It's a no brainer

    The price is numero uno. On all platforms the digital version is just WAY more expensive than the disc version, which obviously make no fucking sense whatsoever. When they learn to have a model more aligned to Steam than EB, they will see their digital sales grow exponentially.

      Thats not entirely true, while both Sony and Microsoft are guility of charging some of their titles at RRP on their digital services, it does not apply to all their titles. Many of the games available for the Vita on the PSN are cheaper than their retail counterparts (not by a wide margin but it is a difference) and both Sony and Microsoft are known for lowering the prices of their games over time, frequently putting full priced games on sale, and in the case of PS+, giving full games away for the low price of free. (though granted you need to keep PS+ to keep the games)

      Many of the full price retail games available on the PSN and XBox live decrease over time. Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time 3D, a game that came out over a year ago: $69.95

      Last edited 28/10/12 1:36 pm

        That's another issue with Nintendo, they don't seem to lower their RRPs for older games

    If Nintendo is reading this:

    The price is too high for a digital download game.
    Reduce them please and then you will see a change.

    Even as a nintendo fan I haven't bought anything on the eshop.

    eShop is WAY too expensive here. It's CRAZY. Everything is 50% more expensive, and I know because I have an american 3DS and the prices are way cheaper, even taking into account the fact you have to buy vouchers at a premium.

    And $70 for New Super Mario Bros 2, but Big W had it for like $54 on special? Why the heck would anyone buy the download copy, aside from the convenience of not having to swap cartridges?

    The australian eShop is even more proof that Nintendo has no idea what it's doing in the modern age. It's years behind everyone else.

      Love my US 3DS too. The digital store is actually usefull ;)

    Nintendo Australia needs a reality check.

      Yeah Nintendos western wings really need to wake up- they'll end up like sony if they keep acting this ignorant of the global market.

    No shit, Nintendo.

    The eshop in Australia is an absolute joke and a waste of time. Can they really expect anyone to buy the full games on there when they're cheaper at ever single bricks and mortar store? Then you've got the (admittedly not very big) cost of memory if you start running out of space, and you don't really have anything to show for it.

    Even the eshop only games are 50% more expensive here than they are in America. I just don't think Nintendo AU get it, and because of that, I won't support them. My 3ds is Australian, but all my games are from the UK.

    full retail games or eShop exclusives?
    Needs moar SNES.

    Nintendo needs to wake up to the download market. They are dragging their feet worse than most of Australia's media companies. Break into the new space as a leader, not a follow, Nintendo!

    They try to tempt us with double the Club Points, but compared to overseas, our Club Rewards are rubbish.

    Hey Nintendo Australia, while we're on the subject of ridiculous prices on 3DS, would you mind telling me why on earth the 3DS and the 3DS XL are EXACTLY THE SAME PRICE?

    That makes no sense whatsoever why would anyone buy the inferior when they can get the superior one at the same price?

      There is no "inferior" one.. One is bigger but the resolution is therefore worse and the build/paint quality is lesser. Its a trade off for the bigger screen, so they probably are worth the same value.

    I don't even have a 3DS. I rarely even play my regular DS now.

    The price difference is certainly why I Import from somewhere like ozgameshop but I will note that since a few good 3ds online titles (pushmo etc.) and an expensive addiction to theatrhythm dlc I have started embracing the 3ds digital age. flash memory is very cheap and its quite easy to just change your region and purchase with a credit card. I have bought everything from the germany eshop because the euro rate is cheaper then that in the uk and about 20% cheaper than aus prices. It brings full titles back to around ozgameshop prices and I like having lots of gaming options while only needing to bring my console. It's important to note that unlike the vita which has region specific accounts (requiring memory card format to switch between them,) content on the 3ds is linked to the console so there are no repercussions like requiring multiple memory cards for purchasing from different pal stores. Also the memory itself is 25% the price of sonys so that helps. The only advantage I give to sony is the lack of region locking so I can purchase US psn cards from amazon for $49/$50USD card and save some money that way. Also I can play all the jp and asia demos and enjoy games that will likely never be localised (7000 yen for project diva hurt but it is my favorite game on the console so far.) AC3 P4G and the 999 sequel may change that but it's still awesome.

    2 reasons Iwata San.

    1) The experience is garbage
    2) No decent content, and no standard demos of said content

    Virtually every post above mine says "too expensive compared to retail" - yet for some reason Nintendo see a different cause

    Doesnt it make you wonder...?

    That's another thing: NEED MOAR DEMOS! If they insist on the high prices, I want a demo to see if I actually like the game before spending so much on it. I don't want to buy a game blindly only to find I don't like it.

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