Buying Mario games has been a no brainer for ages. Yes, the answer is always yes. Whatever the innovation (or lately, lack thereof) Mario has always been a day one purchase. It was simple and comforting. With New Super Mario Bros. 2 coming out tomorrow, Nintendo has thrown a wrench into my purchasing plans. Sure, I’ll still be giving them my money, but I’m torn between venturing out into the world and buying a physical copy of the game or downloading an entire retail game to my 3DS. There are benefits to both, long and short term, but the decision isn’t an easy one. It’s the crossroads of stale mushrooms and flashy power-ups.
Let’s Get Physical
Buying New Super Mario Bros. 2 physically wouldn’t be a bad idea. Not only do you get a +1 to game collection, but there’s something comforting about holding an item. That touch that radiates ownership. It’s truly yours, and no one can take that away from you. No matter what turn the next generations of gaming takes, you’ll always have that gold New Super Mario Bros. 2 case. It’ll forever signify to visitors your gaming prowess and expertise. Isn’t it nice to be able to say, “Hey, I know my way around the Mushroom Kingdom” without having to say it out loud?
Nintendo games somehow weather the price drop storm and never lose value. As of this writing, New Super Mario Bros. can be purchase for $31.96 from Amazon. That’s $3.09 cheaper than when the game originally came out on the DS on May 15, 2006. In comparison (and it’s not easy to find a similar game to compare it to), Little Big Planet 2: Special Edition, released on November 15, 2011, can be purchased for a mere $23.87. Absurd. If you look at video games as an investment and find yourself trading in games, buying New Super Mario Bros. 2 at retail makes as much sense as Nintendo releasing a Mario game to boost sales of their system.
Send a Digital Message
Up to this point there’s no reason not to buy the game via retail. The price is exactly the same (even cheaper in some places), and the game will retain its value. There’s something comforting knowing that in six years you’ll be able to sell back the game for a decent price. So why bother go muck up a SD card with a large download? Simple, you’re casting a vote.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the first game Nintendo is offering up to the digital gods, and it’s important if you want Nintendo to continue to support these endeavors that you’ll need to vote with your wallet. Nintendo has vowed to be open with these numbers as they tip their toes into the world of download, and we know that the 5% of sales in Japan have been digital. That’s not a bad start considering they’ve yet to outline their DLC initiative, but it’s a start.
If you want Nintendo to test their relationship with retailers and focus more on the future of distribution, it’s important to download the game from the eShop. While it seems silly, Nintendo is looking carefully at these numbers. Grabbing the game from the Internet sends a message that they have a worthy distribution platform and, hey, we’re listening. We want to leverage the Internet because it’s 2012 and it makes sense. While we might not see instant gratification, it’s one small step for the future. And you know what, everyone wins if Nintendo explores digital download at a more aggressive rate.
As more users buy games online, retailers will have to throw more discounts and price cuts at games to entice you to enter their store. GameStop and the like can’t afford to lose this battle to digital distribution. While Nintendo is doing its best to please all parties involved, there’s going to come a time where Nintendo will put their success first. And if they see that digital downloads are growing and make up a majority of their sales, then they’ll take the eShop much more seriously. Resources will be funneled from retail partners to creating a digital ecosystem. Imagine an eShop that’s comfortable to explore, not stuffy like a suit that’s three sizes too small?
Tomorrow when New Super Mario Bros. 2 arrives for purchase, remember that how you purchase is important. If you’ve ever complained about how disgusting the digital goods from Nintendo have been, then you owe it to yourself to buy New Super Mario Bros. 2 off the eShop. If you’re fine never adding an item to your 3DS SD card, then enjoy your glowing case. I’ll be downloading the game because I want a digital future. I want Nintendo to take the eShop seriously and offer their games on the service, not for it to be an elephant graveyard of games.