Nintendo is well known for taking the route less traveled, and this time around, they have decided to try out something different. Very, very different. Fancy purchasing a game from Nintendo, complete with a box, only to realize that there is no physical copy of the game inside? Most of us would see this to be an outrage, but when you realize that Nintendo intends to market their products in this manner, then the picture changes completely. Digital copies of games sold through via downloads are becoming more and more common these days. Not only do you save more space at home since there is no need to make room for physical copies of the game and game boxes, it is also easily “portable” whenever you shift. Imagine moving over to a new city, and while the traditional method would be to unpack your box of games, all that you need to do is to download them all over again if they have not been installed prior to a new console. It is that simple.
However, there are people who figure out that it would be a whole lot nicer to have the presence of an actual game box, complete with a printed manual of sorts. Nintendo intends to introduce some sense of nostalgia for this particular group of gamers, where console gamers who would like to have hard copies of their purchased titles will be catered to. Of course, this will no doubt be an experiment at best for the moment, as word has it that Nintendo would like to carry out an experiment first by launching Splatoon 2 over in Japan. It makes perfect sense, as Japan is Nintendo’s home country, and as opposed to offering two versions of Splatoon 2 -- in a physical format or via a digital download option, here is a third. Nintendo’s solution would be to deliver a physical game box that players can pick up from the store, but the box will be lighter than what you would be used to. Opening it up will showcase a game download code within, where you can then type that download code into the Nintendo Switch eShop before proceeding with download and installation of the game.
Nintendo figured out that this select group of gamers would like to have physical copies of their games so that they are able to proudly showcase it on their shelves. After all, it is a bit like collecting stuff. Most collectors are also proud of what they have picked up over the years, revealing to all and sundry their effort, sweat and toil in making sure that they have achieved all that one can see right in front of them today. Of course, I await the day when the video game console comes with a built-in projector, or perhaps have a projection device of sorts wirelessly connected to the cloud that will showcase the number of games that you have purchased so far, including the game cover and manual which can be manipulated via touch. Now that would certainly be a Star Trek-sque manner of functionality in the real world which would be cool to have.
Of course, there is another reason as to why physical game discs continue to be in demand. This would allow owners of the respective games to trade or even share them with their friends, which is something that is not possible when it involves a download code. Nintendo will also ensure that there is no pricing discrepancy between all three versions of the game, so it really boils down to which particular route that you would really like to have.