The Sun is Finally Setting on Club Nintendo

New rewards coming for its final hurrah before closing later this year.

Bye-bye!

Bye-bye!

Earlier this morning, Nintendo fans were met with some surprising yet altogether not entirely unexpected news: Club Nintendo, the company’s seven-year running loyalty programming, will come to an end in 2015. This isn’t just in North America, mind, but all across the world, including Japan.

In some ways, the news is definitely sad; fans in North America petitioned Nintendo of America for what felt like a small eternity to get them to introduce a program similar to what their fellow gamers in Europe and Japan had been enjoying for some time by this point. They eventually relented, and for a while, things were good. Half a year ago, however, I wrote an article on PoisonMushroom.Org which echoed the disappointment and frustration many were feeling with the program as it continued on with diminishing returns, to which I offered my own ideas of some exclusive items that might turn things around.

Alas, it was not to be. Instead, Nintendo of America will be accepting Club Nintendo code registrations for Coins through March 31st, 2015, with the end of the final Club Nintendo year, June 30th, 2015, being the final day that those Coins may be redeemed for prizes. Fortunately, though the prize vault has been ever-diminishing (leading people to expect the end of the program sooner or later), there is good news for this final stretch as Nintendo is opting to end Club Nintendo with a little more of a bang than a whimper:

Nintendo will add a number of physical reward options for members in February. Members will also be able to choose from a lineup of many downloadable games. As a gift to Club Nintendo members, the Flipnote Studio 3D software will be available to download for free in February. This software will allow users to create unique three-dimensional animations and to exchange their creations via local wireless with others who also own Flipnote Studio 3D. Users who uploaded creations to Flipnote Hatena will be able to download their personal animations from the Nintendo DSi Library menu in Flipnote Studio 3D software. Flipnote Studio 3D will be available to Club Nintendo members until June 30. The ability to create a new Club Nintendo account will end on March 31. All users who register to Club Nintendo before registration closes will be eligible to receive Flipnote Studio 3D.

Note that any products released after today will not feature Club Nintendo codes for registration. A full FAQ on the closing schedule can be found here.

However, though Club Nintendo is coming to a close, the idea of a loyalty program for Nintendo customers is not reaching an end, but rather, a new beginning. Nintendo of America stated that it will be announcing a new loyalty program at a later date, and as The Escapist reports, Nintendo Global President Satoru Iwata said the company will begin experimenting with a Nintendo Network ID-based discount program.

According to Iwata, Nintendo may consider “[offering] flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions” with the hope of creating “a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more.” In addition to increasing “the number of players per title” the company believes fan friendly pricing could also help foster an environment where “players will play our games with more friends,” something that would “help maintain the high usage ratio of a platform.”

In addition to purchasing games, Iwata stated that “inviting friends to start playing a particular software title” could also reap benefits.

That said, alongside talk of separating the Nintendo Network IDs from being tied to platforms, one has to wonder if this– along with the recent announcement of cross-platform purchases– is all part of leading to the unified account system that Nintendo fans have long dreamed of. Plus, with the Deluxe Digital Promotion for Wii U having recently come to an end, it appears Nintendo might be tying everything together in some interesting and beneficial ways.

It sounds like this might be the end of physical rewards for Nintendo customers who have turned in their surveys, and that is sad (I never did get those Hanafuda cards, and the Luigi’s Mansion statue was gone before I could get enough coins), but the future for Nintendo’s loyalist fans may yet still be bright.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still have a ton of games to register and fill out surveys for (I’ve already hit Platinum).

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David Oxford

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you're interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.