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Nintendo Gives Download Sales a Big Push on 3DS

Virtual Console, original 3DS software and more coming to improved online shop.

A slide from Nintendo's press conference today outlines its download plans for 3DS.

Nintendo dabbled in download sales on Wii and DSi, but with 3DS it looks like it will be taking its download gaming initiatives to the next level.

Said Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata at today's Nintendo Conference 2010 briefing, "We’ve been doing download sales for the Wii and DSi, but there is room for improvement. We cannot say that the Wii Shopping Channel and Nintendo DSi Shop have provided users with a sufficiently easy and accessible interface, and we were not able to run optimal shops which have the ability to both promote and sell products in one place."

3DS will fix these areas. The 3DS online shop will combine promotional and sales functionality in one, said Iwata. He likened this to combining the Wii Shopping Channel and Nintendo Channel into one interface.

For those unfamiliar with the Wii, the system's Nintendo Channel shows videos and other promotional materials for games. It also offers downloadable demos for DS games.

The 3DS shop interface has also been improved. You'll be able to more quickly and smoothly switch between screens.

The interface changes appear to be a big deal for Iwata. Said the CEO, "For any download business to grow, it must be important for consumers to be able to enjoy window shopping even when they do not have any particular product in mind. Quick and easy access to the shop is, therefore, very important."

On the 3DS, downloaded software is stored on SD memory card. The system comes with a 2 gigabyte card, but you can also use a larger card if you run out of space.

3DS's downloadable games library will include at least four categories:

  • Virtual Console
  • Classic Games with New 3D Look
  • Nintendo DSi Ware
  • New Nintendo 3DS Software

The Virtual Console category will begin with Game Boy and Game Boy Color, Iwata said.

The "Classic Games with a new 3D Look" category will include classic titles remade for 3D viewing. Said Iwata, "To make the classic titles 3D will not be as easy as providing Virtual Console software, but we are eager to make them available for the download sales." Nintendo had Namco Bandai make a 3D version of Xevious as an experiment.

The "DSiWare" category means you'll be able to download DSi Ware games just like owners of DSi and DSi LL currently can. If you already have a collection of DSi Ware games on your DSi or DSi LL, Nintendo has confirmed that you'll be able to move the games over to the 3DS, although it has not shared specifics on how this will be done.

The last category sounds like it would qualify as a "3DS Ware" service. Iwata did not use this name, and he did not share specific examples.

Four types of 3DS download software.

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