Assaulted by Nintendo’s Archaic Online Store

Nintendo’s Wii Shop is leaving us soon. Next Monday is the last day you can buy Wii Shop points, and the Shop closes entirely in January 2019. Time is running out to preserve all those Wii-exclusive digital games before they disappear (possibly forever), so here I go!

Except Nintendo doesn’t make it easy to buy games on the Wii Shop. I’ve run into lots of little problems along the way:

  • You have to buy “points” first, you can’t use money to directly buy a game.
  • You can only buy up to 3,000 (about $28) points at a time.
  • You can’t buy more than 10,000 points. You gotta spend your points before buying more.
  • None of the games are priced at round numbers. It’s always something like 512 points so you’ll inevitably waste money.
  • You can only buy one game at a time, and then download one game at a time. There’s no download queue.
  • You have to scroll through the game list every time. They don’t save your place.
  • If you buy a lot of points, your credit card will get flagged for suspicious activity (yeah, this happened to me).

I’ve bought games through Nintendo’s eShop on the Switch and it’s a big improvement, though it could still be better. I don’t think anyone will really miss the Wii Shop once it’s gone. Well, except for video game historians.

10 thoughts on “Assaulted by Nintendo’s Archaic Online Store”

  1. In fairness to Nintendo, when the Wii Shop launched, all that rubbish was pretty much de rigueur. I remember trying to buy Mass Effect 2 DLC back in the day, and having to buy “BioWare Points” at some ridiculous rate; I believe they were sold in packs of 800 for $10.63. Of course, nothing *cost* 800 points; most of the DLC was like 560 points, so you always ended up with some obnoxious unusable balance. Eventually they started selling points in packs of 560 also, but then they added DLC for 250 points…

  2. At least the US Wii Shop uses round numbers like 500, 800, 1200, etc. Seems dumb to not do that.

    I gotta see if there’s anything else I want off there, I had to at least pick up FF IV (well, technically FF II) before that goes away so I can play that at some point. Don’t need FF VI at least since I’ve got that on the SNES classic.

    One other thing I didn’t like was the minimum amount you needed to buy. You can’t buy less than 1000, but I already had I think like 400 and wanted an 800 point game. Woulda been nice if I could’ve spent $5 for 500… Guess I should try and find some random NES game to get with my remaining 600 points so they aren’t just wasted.

    Really, I just want them to move all this over to the Switch so we can just get the games there instead (at least for the classic games, some of the indie games and such probably wouldn’t be that easy to do). Heck, Switch just needs a VC in general.

    And in defense of the credit card thing, that can happen in general with lots of repeated purchases, I’ve had that happen before buying gift cards from a few stores on the same day (because Target had a buy one get one for gift cards, which was insane. Got a bunch of eShop and Steam cards).

      1. I bought some kits from Forge World (in the UK) some years back, and got flagged for suspicious activity. It was especially stupid given the way my bank handled it; I got a robocall that just said “this is the bank. There has been suspicious activity on your bank card. Please call 1-800-whatever and enter your card number at the prompt.” It actually literally said that; it said “the bank,” not the name of the bank I had an account with.

        Once I finally realised this was on the level, I called the bank and explained to them that their “security” system sounds exactly like a phishing attempt. s of five years later when I closed that account, they had yet to change it.

        1. Ah jeez, that reminds me of the time my student loan got bought out by another company. I received a letter in the mail from a company I’ve never heard of, it looked like it had been xeroxed about 5 times, and the logo in the top corner had a ton of JPG artifacts on it. I called my old student loan people and asked if this was legit because it looked so much like a scam (I only called because if it WAS legit, I didn’t want to get in trouble for not making payments on time). Yeah, it was legit. Gottdang, don’t screw around with stuff like that!

    1. I remember it being an annoying thing on PSN. (Like FF7, the first game I downloaded) A $10 game costs you $15 because Sony wanted tax but Sony also only wanted your money in $5 increments.

  3. In fairness to Nintendo, the credit card thing has nothing to do with them. Your bank sees somebody suddenly buying a lot of stuff from a company in Japan, and goes, “this looks kinda hinky, maybe we should put a stop to this until we get an OK from the customer”. One of my friends got that one year at MAGFest when he tried to use his card in Maryland. Strangely, I didn’t, despite having used my card in Maryland, Chicago, and Washington.

  4. I’d be more concerned if there’s enough activity to crash Nintendo’s servers.
    I remember the years trying to download something the weeks of Christmas and New Years off the Wii Shop was almost impossible.
    I think even just downloading Mystic Quest required me to download in the middle of night when hopefully demand would be lower. I think one of the services Nintendo had put access limited to peak hours which would sound like the opposite of productive. Wouldn’t off-peak access reduce the need for peak access?
    Not even sure how many times I tried to redownload one of the Taito games+DLC after I had paid. What sucks is that when it hits a network error, it just aborts and you have to try to re-download the entire thing again.
    It seems like at least the 3DS is smart enough to resume a download the next time you try if it gets interrupted. Especially good since 3DS is now into gigabyte sizes, from the Wii’s 40MB max.

  5. Aren’t the “weird prices” because in Japan they include tax in the price?
    Even in America, where they end everything in normal-seeming “.99” prices on newer consoles, they still deduct tax afterwards from your account.

    Whereas with Wii, when Wii Points cards were available, it was up to the retailer of the card as to if they would collect sales tax on the cards. (I recall some stores collected tax and others didn’t. Not sure which is legal and it’s not my responsibility to care. 😀 Or maybe it technically is but of course nobody’s going to get busted by the IRS for it. 😛 )
    However Nintendo always collected what it detected the user’s local tax was when selling Wii Points directly with a credit card. (so like buying 2,000 Wii Points which should be $20 in the US would end up actually maybe $21 and change.)

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