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Inexcusable Shopping Experiences - The Future of the eShop

3rd December 2011; By Patrick

Welcome to Part 3 of my eShop feature, where today we'll be looking at the future of the eShop. I'm just going to cut right to the chase this time: the promised update by December 8th, followed by the update early next year sounds fantastic; knowing Nintendo's promises about online, it'll sound fantastic and probably be a flop. Keeping that in mind, this feature is based on what is likely to actually happen both optimistically, and pessimistically.

The update will contain many things, but the biggest portion will be related to the eShop. It really seems like Nintendo understands that it's flawed, or at least realizes that we think it is. The update will provide extra applications such as the 3D Video app and Nintendo Zone, but 2.30-5 will also make many changes to the Nintendo eShop.

The first is a new look. Knowing Nintendo, this will not be drastic, which is a damn shame, because as a consumer I detest this current layout. What I ask for is not unreasonable -- to be able to chose the shelf style or a list style similar to what PSN uses. But what is more likely is that the shelf system will remain enforced, however the categories will no longer be "what this miscellaneous dog likes". Baby steps Nintendo, baby steps.

Another thing that the update will bring is both the ability to make in-game purchases, or purchase add-on content directly from the eShop. Since this is up to the developer, this could bring risks. Sure, I'm more than willing to pay an extra $2 or $3 to buy more levels in a Mario game, tracks in Mario Kart, or a few new fighters in Street Fighter, but CAPCOM's DLC structure on Xbox and PlayStation is where I draw the line. $4.99 for costumes? Really!?

Another potential flaw that I'm surprised that nobody (I've seen) has picked up on is the potential attack on the Used Games Market. As I mentioned in
my feature regarding the "Permasave" system found in games such as BlazBlue Continuum Shift II, Super Monkey Ball 3D, and Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, publishers are implementing the idea of an Online Pass system more and more; the idea being that if you buy the game new, you're forced to enter a 25 digit code to get online. If you bought the game used, you have to pay $10, and then are forced to enter a 25 digit code. Not only is this punishing the consumer that bought the game new, it is also (scarily) possible after the update. This, however, is only a fear if Nintendo continues to allow almost all content on their online platform. But don't worry! Their quality controls are so strict that it's--oh? What's that? QA for DSiWare was "Does it crash?" and "Do you have an office?". Yeah. Never mind. We're screwed.

Another thing the update will change will be that you can download updates to games and game content through SpotPass, something I mentioned previously was a ridiculous omission from the launch of the eShop, especially considering how long they had to work on it after the system's launch.

The last thing I want to say that we know for sure is that in the update following December 8th, you will be able to access the eShop from your computer or Smartphone, buy software there, and then redeem your purchases with a QR code. There are so many issues with that that I'm going to have to break this down piece by piece.

First, accessing the eShop from your computer. That's a foolish move in the first place as the idea of having an online server that creates QR codes for purchasing is just begging to be hacked, or at least have an algorithm figured out to get all their games for free.

Second, accessing it from a Smartphone. It's obvious why they did this; their stock rose a ridiculous amount the day that Pokémon Company announced Pokémon Say Tap? for iOS and Android in Japan, and shot back down when they announced that Nintendo had nothing to do with this as Pokémon Company is a separate entity. They obviously made this announcement to convince their shareholders that the company was "hip" and "modern", as it were, willing to spread content across multiple platforms. But that backfired by actually dropping share prices slightly after the announcement.

And finally, redeeming your purchases with a QR code. First the positive: this could be the workaround to gifting via the eShop (which is, of course, absent, even though the 3DS has a Friends List). However, why can't I just have it download via SpotPass? What's that you say? The reason is because it'd require a user account!? Please excuse me as I hit my head on the wall until I pass out.

Overall, yes, the eShop will without a doubt be improving in the near future. Does this make me any more excited for the platform? Honestly, no. As I've highlighted here, so many things could (and presumably will) go wrong that I'm more discouraged than not by the update. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed these features!

Feature by Patrick