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Inexcusable Shopping Experiences - Problems With The eShop

Feature
1st December 2011; By Patrick

So, today I went to the mall. I had no idea what I wanted, but I decided that window shopping would pique my interest. The first thing I see as I walk in is a game store trying to sell me short cartoons. "Whatever", I thought. So I walked in front of the next store. It was a store trying to sell me the hottest new things, but it only had six things in it, one of which is shameful! This shopping trip was already putting me off.

I then passed by a third store that had only one thing in it! What a waste of space, right? I mean, there's only so much room that exists in a mall. The next store also had only one thing, but at least it's free, so that's nice. Too bad I already own it! The fourth had seasonally-selected items, which was fine. I browsed for a bit and left. The next "store" was just full of advertisements! I mean, what kind of store is that!?

The sixth was the second to justify existing: it was full to the brim of the latest things (good and bad), some of which caught my eye. I used a piece of paper the mall provided to write down what they were and went back outside. You'll never guess what the seventh was though:
another advertisement store. The next three were fine -- more normal stores -- but the eleventh was, yet again, a store selling just one item. "What's wrong with this mall!?", I thought to myself.

The next store was again filled with advertisements, and the one after was filled to the brim with products of a single brand. That's more normal, at least. The fourteenth had free tools to theoretically improve my daily life, the fifteenth was another brand store, the sixteenth was full of retro items, and the very last had people trying (and failing) to be hip and modern.

I go up to the counter to ring up the first thing I want, but for some reason, they say I have to buy one item at a time. Whatever. They also say I have to have an account to buy things. I add funds to my new account (it'll only let me do it in weird amounts, too) and buy my first item. I watch as they process my payment, then I wait for them to slowly take it out to my car. Then security escorts me to the front of the MALL, not the store, and I have to go back in for the next item. And any time I run out of money, I have to manually enter my payment info. Again. And again. And again. Now, this mall would be hell to go to, right? Now replace "mall" with "Nintendo eShop". Yeah...now you get it.

Now, the Nintendo purists may be quick with your standard-issue rebuttal: "Hey, at least it's better than the DSi Shop and the Wii Shop, right?". Well, I'm not so sure; if it is, it's only by a slight margin. And seriously, why is the only rebuttal I've heard is that it's better than the company's two previous attempts that have failed? Over the next few days, I'm going to go in-depth on the problems that have still plagued the service, how I think the eShop should be, and what I think the future holds. Today, I'm discussing the former: the problems that have yet to be resolved.

First off, let's get this straight. The lack of accounts on the eShop makes me cringe every time I think about it. Seriously! I mean, go ahead and lock downloads to one system Nintendo, if you refuse to move out of the past. But for heaven's sake, please just let us tie credit cards to our accounts if we so wish! Just because it's one of
your first online shops doesn't mean you can't take lessons from others. Pride isn't that important. I know you don't want anything like the PSN outage of 2011 on your hands, but there is no reason that it shouldn't be a freaking option.

Second on the list, and second in order of importance: background downloading. Now, Nintendo has promised that they're trying to fix it (so knowing them, maybe by the time that the successor to the 3DS, or if we're lucky, as soon as the Wii U releases), but it's a problem
now. It was ridiculous on the Wii, inexcusable on the DSi, and now just a plain insult on the 3DS. I don't care that they sped it up slightly by giving it more bandwidth, the fact that I have to stare at an animation instead of looking at more games damages not only their reputation with me, but their potential exposure. (And no, I'm not suggesting that instead of an animation they make me look at advertisements)

Third is this idea of one-at-a-time downloads. It's nice that there's a wishlist, but the fact that I can't make it download one right after another is annoying at best, and migraine-inducing at worst when you consider everything else that's wrong with the store.

The fourth thing is what I said about going back to the store. Why can't they just add buttons allowing you to "Return to Home Menu", "Return to Front Page", "Return to Category", or things like that? Would that
really require that much effort? Of course not. They could add it to the page that says "View Receipt" and "Continue".

I'm not gonna tackle every issue in this feature because I want to have things to talk about in the upcoming days. I will, however, give you one bonus. Something they managed to screw up with the eShop that wasn't wrong with the other two shops is the idea of Double Taxing (as far as I know, US-only). Before, with the Nintendo Points system, you would pay tax on a Points Card and then have the 2000 Points from the card to spend. With the new conversion to cash, you buy a card (taxed) and then are taxed
again on the eShop. This is why I have mine set to say I live in New Hampshire -- no sales tax.

To summarize, the eShop is messed up. Even with the supposed evolution from the Wii and DSi shops, the biggest issues (at least for me) are still present and very prevalent, with one new issue arising among the changes. Please also look for my upcoming features on what I think the eShop should be, and what I actually see happening.

Feature by Patrick