Loyal Nintendo Customers Should be Upset That They’re Being Charged Again for VC Games

I’d like to clarify something I might not have clarified earlier: while Wii U owners who transferred their Virtual Console games over from Wii have to pay an extra $1 to upgrade their NES games and $1.50 to upgrade their SNES games to Wii U versions, Wii U Virtual Console games purchased for the first time will cost the same as their Wii counterparts. That means $5 for most NES games and $8 for most SNES games – there won’t be an added cost for the added Wii U features.

That may seem good and well… but there’s something wrong with this picture. Why are loyal customers paying more money to play their digital Virtual Console catalog on Wii U? I think people who are being asked to pay the “loyal customer upgrade fee” should be very, very angry with Nintendo.

In terms of the product itself, Wii U Virtual Console is pretty much exactly what people want for the system. It’s got Off-TV Play, supports a myriad of controller options, adds in Restore Point save states, and even allows players to customize their control schemes for each game and each controller based on their preferences. Sounds like a retro fan’s dream come true, right?

Sure – except when you consider that there’s a not-so-hidden cost for people who have already bought these games before. Former Wii owners, who Nintendo already knows has paid in the neighborhood of $200-250 for Wii last-gen so they could play these games before, are now being asked to pay even more than other customers for the exact same product?

It wouldn’t be such a big deal if the value added to Wii U Virtual Console compared to its Wii incarnation resulted in an across-the-board price increase. That would make sense – as the service improves, it makes sense for the cost to rise. Former Wii owners would then be making up the difference between the original Wii VC costs and the added costs of the Wii U VC. But that’s not what happened. Nintendo still thinks people should pay $5 to download Super Mario Bros. on Wii U…unless they bought it on Wii already. Then they have to pay an extra $1 for the courtesy of being allowed to re-download it with new Wii U features.

There’s something seriously backwards about this approach. This doesn’t inspire confidence that a digital library on Nintendo’s system will be forward compatible with every future system – it suggests that Nintendo’s going to keep making us pay up even more with every new generation for the same games we’ve already purchased. This has already been one of the biggest complaints leveraged against Nintendo’s account system – that it just doesn’t do the things that a digital account should do – and the “loyal customer tax” Nintendo’s asking VC fans to pay to get the same stuff that’s part of the out-of-the-box proposition for other Wii U owners adds insult to injury.

  • RayxConsume

    Considering the fact that they have to re-develop all the games to run smoothly on the Wii U, a dollar or two really isn’t too bad. Especially considering how great we loyal ones are getting it with the 30-30-30 deal.

    As a Nintendo fan, I really don’t mind forking over just a little bit for their efforts to bring about the old gems PLUS gamepad and Miiverse functionality. If it helps them fund their development on my N64 and GCN VC’s, I’ll fork over for cheap NES classics as long as I need to.

  • The_Hyphenator

    I’m sorry, but this argument is a complete and utter load. We should be angry that Nintendo is charging us a nominal fee to upgrade games we already own with extra features? On what planet does this make sense? Adding features like off-TV play, customizable controls, save states and Miiverse integration takes time and effort from programmers, as does creating the emulation environment for each individual game (contrary to popular opinion, there is no such thing as a perfect universal emulator; to get the best experience, you need to tailor the emulation for each game individually, which is what Nintendo does with VC titles).

    Your argument is that Nintendo shouldn’t get compensated for that work, even though we never paid for those features in the first place, and that is some of the most ridiculously entitled garbage I think I’ve ever seen in an online column. Would you argue that Sony shouldn’t have been allowed to charge money for their upscaled, HD versions of PS2 titles just because people already bought versions of those games without the HD features? Or that games like Street Fighter 3 that get re-releases with online modes should be free, just because people already bought the game on another platform years ago?

    This crap makes me ashamed to be a part of gaming culture. I feel ashamed associating myself with people who can argue with a straight face that content providers shouldn’t get paid for the work that they do. It’s a disgusting attitude that’s ruining the game industry, and makes us all look like spoiled children by association.

    • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

      “We should be angry that Nintendo is charging us a nominal fee to upgrade games we already own with extra features?”

      We should be angry that Nintendo is making loyal customers pay $6 for something that costs $5 for everyone else. Because we are the customers that Nintendo should be doing its best to convince to CONTINUE to be customers, not that Nintendo should be demonstrating that they’ll keep charging over and over for the same content. The way Nintendo treats its best customers is the best indication of how it plans to do business.

      This seems like the final nail in the coffin on the issue of Nintendo not guaranteeing its customers permanent ownership of and control over their content across multiple platforms. Judging by their behavior, they don’t seem to think it’s worth offering.

      • The_Hyphenator

        We didn’t pay $6 for something that costs every one else $5. We paid $5 for something that cost everybody else $5, and then we’re paying $1 for another thing that costs everybody else $5. Explain to me how that’s a bad deal.

        • zdog

          I don’t think you or many people reading this article get the logic behind the argument. This would be fine IF, and I’ll say it again, IF the Wii U version cost $6. There would be no sweat over paying the additionaly dollar that everyone else is paying. Why isn’t Nintendo charging $6 to everyone for all of the development costs that the loyal customers are being asked to cover?

          • The_Hyphenator

            If they increase the prices to cover the difference, wouldn’t that mean they have to increase the price on every new VC game (that is, ones that weren’t previously on the Wii) going forward? If Nintendo went that route, everybody would end up paying more in the long run, including original Wii owners.

            • zdog

              Isn’t that the point you are making though? The cost to make VC games for Wii U has increased therefore asking people to pay a dollar extra for them is justified, right? Under that rationale then yes it should be $6 for everyone on every game going forward.
              My question to you is why are the people who have already purchased the game the only ones being asked to pay the extra dollar for these development costs? Why aren’t first time buyers paying for the cost that it took to bring these games to Wii U. It seems like they should have to pay $5 to get the game and $1 to get the extra benefits of playing on Wii U.

              • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

                I agree 100%. First-time buyers should be paying the $1 extra for the added value, and previous Wii owners – Nintendo has established that you need to perform a system transfer for the discount to apply – should be rewarded for their loyalty.

            • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

              Instead, only the people who have supported VC since the beginning are paying more… which shows how much Nintendo values their support. It would be better for Nintendo to price Wii U VC games at $6 (a fair value, IMO), than to add hidden costs specifically to supporting Nintendo long-term (which makes being a long-term Nintendo supporter less attractive and makes the VC seem like an awful investment).

              Ideally, the costs of upgrading the games should be subsidized in the cost of the system (even if they’re taking a loss). That they’re not cheapens Nintendo’s effort to keep Wii U “affordable.” It’s less affordable if you already owned a Wii, instead of the other way around.

              • The_Hyphenator

                FYI, I just bought Super Mario World for the discount off of the new VC for the discounted fee, and I still have my Wii VC copy of the game. In other words, the fee is to buy a discounted copy of the game in the new format, not an upgrade fee that erases the previous version of the game. So, yeah, this entire editorial was not only a load of entitled nonsense, it was a completely unnecessary load of entitled nonsense.

                I look forward to a follow-up article revising your above-stated stance.

  • Dadoong21

    Complete and utter hyperbole. Should you be a bit (emphasis on bit) annoyed? Sure, but to be outraged? Eh…

  • http://nerdreviewstechnology.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Alexander Jabbour

    I actually thought this was ridiculous of a complaint, but after reading the article, I agree with you. Why are loyal customers paying MORE overall for the same game than people who never bought it before?

    As for me, it’s only a dollar or so, and I’ve only bought maybe half a dozen VC games on the Wii, so I’m not too upset personally. But this is a disturbing move, nonetheless.

    • The_Hyphenator

      Thing is, you’re NOT paying more for the same game. You paid for the Wii version, and when you upgrade, you’re buying the Wii U version at a steep discount. Nintendo is offering a deal to those of us who bought the previous version of the game.

      When was the last time you saw Sony offer a discount on the HD re-release of one of their games if you owned the PS2 version? Did Microsoft offer a discount on the re-release of Halo 1 to those fans who bought the game on the original Xbox?

      Far from a disturbing trend, this is a good thing. This is Nintendo rewarding customer loyalty, instead of double-dipping by re-selling the same game at full price (which they’ve been more than happy to do in the past; look at Super Mario All-Stars, Metroid Prime Trilogy or any of the NPC Gamecube re-releases for proof of that). If anything, I’d like to see Nintendo do MORE of this in the future, instead of charging us full price for the updated versions of their old games.

      • http://nerdreviewstechnology.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Alexander Jabbour

        When you rebuy Halo: Anniversary on the 360, your original Xbox copy of Halo doesn’t magically disappear, nor do you have to trade it in for the anniversary copy while still paying full price. You pay full price for both, but you get to KEEP both. Even if that wasn’t the case, there’s a huge difference between physical retail releases and digital releases of games. Whereas on the Wii U, you’re upgrading a game you already paid for and can ONLY use on the Wii U system now (remember, after the transfer, you can’t use the original Wii VC on your Wii), and overall are paying $1 or $1.50 more than everyone else who never bought the game before. How is that fair? Even worse, it basically sends the message that being loyal is bad… “If you buy this product now, you’ll end up paying MORE for the exact same product than everyone else later on.” Hardly the kind of reputation Nintendo wants to get, I’m sure…

        • The_Hyphenator

          How is it fair for you to get the additional features of the Wii U version without paying for them? This stuff doesn’t magically program itself.

          And the money you previously paid got you the game on the Wii for longer than anybody who only got the game on the Wii U. If you bought Super Mario Bros. on the Virtual Console at the Wii’s launch, you got 6 years of use out of it on the Wii. Paying the upgrade fee, you get another 5-6 years (or however long the Wii U remains a viable platform) on top of that, with features the game didn’t originally have, for $1. So for $1 more, you’re getting double the time, plus the new features.

          More to the point, this is entirely optional. Your Wii VC games aren’t going to stop working once the Wii U VC goes live. If you don’t feel the extra features are worth the price of admission, you don’t have to pay for them. It’s that simple.

          • http://nerdreviewstechnology.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Alexander Jabbour

            Except that you AREN’T paying for the extra features, apparently. If that was true, then the Wii U VC would be more expensive than the Wii’s when bought at full price. But it’s not. NES VC is $5 and SNES VC is $8, the same exact amount of money as it costs on the Wii.

            Also, the point about how many years you played it is completely moot. Like you said, you can still play the games in their original form in Wii mode. so it has nothing to do with how many years you get the “license” for. Even if it was, that would be a huge issue, since nothing in the terms of use when buying the VC specified that.

            As I said in my original post, this doesn’t bother me personally too much. After all, what’s an extra dollar or two? But it’s still not fair overall to charge loyal customers MORE for the exact same product than anyone else. That’s all I’ll say about that.

        • Dadoong21

          It’s a fucking dollar, get a life!

          • http://nerdreviewstechnology.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Alexander Jabbour

            Quote from my first post: “As for me it’s only a dollar or so… so I’m not too upset personally.”

            Quote from my third post: “As I said in my original post, this doesn’t bother me personally too much.”

            It’s not fucking hard to actually read what someone says before insulting them, get a life!

            • Dadoong21

              It is when you’re posting sentences upon sentences. Sorry, I should have read it before commenting.

              • http://nerdreviewstechnology.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Alexander Jabbour

                It’s alright. Sorry I got so pissed. It’s been a long day. :

      • KongRudi

        I don’t have a Wii U yet, so can’t compare for myself.
        But it’s not a problem downloading digitally bought PSP or PS1 games my PS3 or Vita a second or third time. :-/ I can buy the game once, and then download it on my PSP, PSV and PS3, no problem.
        I think it makes sense to compare those type of games to a Virtual console release, rather than the HD-remakes. Atleast it sounds more like the same games, with save-states, customize controls, upscaling, etc, depending on wich emulator you’re running it on (PS3 or Vita) rather than a HD Remake of forinstance Sly Cooper Collection, where the assets and alot of things have been completely redone in native resolution, including 3D support and similar features.

  • Aiddon

    1. They’re actually upgrades that add new feature to the games

    2. Converting these cost MONEY so it’s logical to ask for a surcharge.


    4. If you are concerned about $1.00 then you have more important things to be worried about than video games

    • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

      “Converting these cost MONEY so it’s logical to ask for a surcharge.”

      They didn’t make enough money to cover those costs the first time I bought them?

      “If you are concerned about $1.00 then you have more important things to be worried about than video games”

      If I have 100 VC games, it’s $100.

  • ………

    Do remember that the WiiU was sold at a loss, so they need money from SOMEWHERE to pay back. It’s just like taxes, but cheaper.

    • http://nerdreviewstechnology.blogspot.com/ Nicholas Alexander Jabbour

      I remember reading somewhere that a customer only needs to buy two retail Wii U games for Nintendo to “break even” from the loss they’re selling the system at. Don’t quote me on that, though.

  • Rodrigo

    Okay, Remember that THOSE games were bought mostly before even some glimpses of the Wii U was like and what it WOULD do… SO yeah, main reason I bought my games was to PLAY them right in the moment, I HAD NO INTENTION TO BUY THEM SO I COULD PLAY THEM ON THE WII U, if you’re following me, I think is fair, I’ll pay for it, no complaint, and yes, Wii U is sold at a loss, it’s a Company, not a non-profit charity foundation people… get over it…

  • Yianni

    Huh? I don’t get it? No one is forcing you to pay for the upgraded version with the Miiverse Support and Off-TV play.

    You’ve already got what you payed for from the Wii Virtual Console and no one is going to take that away from you; if you wish to upgrade to the Wii U version you can. No one is freaking forcing you to upgrade.

    • http://www.gengame.net/ Alex Plant

      When Nintendo’s next-gen successor to Wii U is proven to be compatible with Wii download titles, let’s talk again.

  • Ibi Salmon