Nintendo Switch Network ID

Nintendo is making some changes with the way digital purchases are tied to user accounts for the Nintendo Switch. During user footage of an early release of the Nintendo Switch, it was revealed that digital games purchased on a Nintendo Network ID will be tied to the account.

This was spotted by Twitter user Bjoern the Smexy, as indicated in the image above, which explains that users can re-download their digital games to a different Nintendo Switch console by re-linking the account to the console.

Polygon quoted the entire fine print section, which reads...

Your Nintendo Account contains your Nintendo eShop purchase history and current balance. By re-linking your Nintendo Account after initializing the console, it will be possible to redownload any software or DLC purchased using that account. (Software that has been discontinued may not be available to redownload in some cases.)

A lot of speculation ran rampant with this news, because the first thing everyone questioned was: "Does this mean we can transfer over our Wii U Virtual Console games to the Nintendo Switch?"

Well, that question also spawned another question: "Will the Nintendo Switch have the same Virtual Console feature as the Wii U?"

The thing is, if Nintendo decides to change the service structure of the Virtual Console, then it means that games you purchased previously with your Nintendo Network ID would likely not carry over to the new service on the Nintendo Switch. However, it would mean that any game or DLC you purchase from the eShop would carry over to a new Nintendo Switch console if you unlinked your Nintendo Network ID from the first console and relinked it to a new console.

The old process relied on the games/content being tied to the system itself, so it could be cumbersome doing transfers, and there are plenty of horror stories surrounding owners losing a lot of their data and games in the process. Usually Nintendo 3DS or Wii U owners would send in their console to have Nintendo perform this operation to ensure that their titles transferred over to the new device properly. It's obviously an inconvenient and archaic process.

This new method could allow users to easily transfer over their games and DLC without any problems, assuming the feature works as intended, and still uses the original Virtual Console setup as the 3DS and Wii U.

Now, one thing we know for sure, is that up to eight Nintendo Network IDs can be linked to a single Nintendo Switch system. However, Nintendo never clarified how many Nintnedo Switch systems a single Nintendo Network ID can be linked to. Obviously linking a single account to more than one system could prove to be a serious flaw in the design, which would easily allow people to take advantage of copying games over to a bunch of different systems for free.

Valve managed to get around this particular issue by implementing a Family Share plan for Steam, where a single master account could designate access to games across a shared network of different devices.

Most people in the comment section and on Twitter are hoping that Nintendo sets things up similar to how Microsoft has it setup with the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, where any game attached to the profile can be played on either system. If it does work like that then Nintendo would win over a ton of favor from Wii U owners with an ample Virtual Console library interested in making the leap to the Nintendo Switch.

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