Nintendo has launched a new online store, taking the 3DS, Wii U, and the new 2DS handheld direct to gamers complete with the promise of exclusive accessories and games unavailable through regular retailers. The store, currently only available in the UK, is part of Nintendo's attempt to own its gaming and sales experiences, even as retailer enthusiasm cools on its range.
In the UK, for instance, the second largest supermarket chain ASDA announced earlier this year that it would no longer be stocking the Wii U, any Wii U games, or accessories for the motion-tracking console in its stores. Instead, it would offer "select" titles through its online store.
Those limits on availability haven't helped Nintendo's sales overall, with Wii U shipments plummeting in 2013.
Instead, Nintendo now wants to take its range direct to the people, offering price cuts and extras to sweeten the deal. "When you shop with Nintendo you're buying your games and consoles directly from the people who produced them" the company says of the new online store. "Nobody cares more about your satisfaction than us and we'll do everything we can to ensure your shopping experience is a pleasant and reliable one."
In practice, that means free delivery (and free next-day delivery for orders over £200) along with a 12-month extended warranty on every Wii U, 3DS, and other console. There'll also be discounts on the special Pokemon X and Pokemon Y 3DS XL handhelds.
Nintendo does have webstores in other countries, including the US, but they generally sell only accessories and refurbished consoles.