To download or not to download

Remember when we got our first 3DS, with a 2GB SD card in the slot? I think that it was adjusted to a 4GB card later, but I quickly found out that even 4GB was just a grain of salt in a vast ocean. How quickly your need of memory on your SD card grows! When I bought my American 3DS I soon found out that downloading the games I wanted from the eShop was very easy. Though there are always friends overseas kind enough to be willing to send me the game, I’m a bit impatient when it comes to gaming, and I love to be able to download first thing in the morning. And in some cases even downloading in the middle of the night (but that was for Animal Crossing New Leaf, which is a special case!).
Both my European and my American 3DS now have a 32GB card, and I suspect that might even prove to be a tight fit. The Japanese XL is still fine with its 4GB card, but even if that reaches its limit, I think I have a 8GB lying around somewhere. The new 3DS uses a micro SD card, so I really should try and keep my investments in yet another SD card low, because in future I won’t have any use for them anymore.

imageIt got me wondering. In the beginning, when we could download some cool DSi apps and games, and after that, when the eShop was opened, I was surprised at the pricing of the games. You would think that the games would be cheaper: no boxing, not artwork on the box, no material needed for the gamecard or for the manual, no distribution network, no retail store that needs a margin. Nope, all “Directly to you” as Mr. Satoru Iwata would say (always make me smile when he says that in Nintendo Direct).
So, why the same price, and in some cases even a higher price? Because when you keep an eye on extra special offers you sometimes find nice discounts. On the other hand, eShop has been having some nice discounts too lately. Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that. I see it in eBooks too, they differ very little from the price that you pay for a real book on paper.

So, why do we download? We have gotten more used to it because of app gaming I guess, every game you download from the AppStore or from Google Play is not really your own to hold in your hands. So I guess there’s little question about whether or not downloading is the future. But I’m curious, what are your reasons to download or not to download?

Fast and easy
Convenient to take with you
It’s easier to lose a game cartridge
Easy to get updates and DLC
No need to go and find a store that stocks your game

Can’t re-sell the game
No sharing the game with friends
Difficult to restore your games when something goes wrong with your account
You need to invest in SD cards
Games aren’t really cheaper

I know I do it because, like I said, I’m impatient and I like the convenience of downloading and always having my games with me when I travel. So, fast and convenient. But the downside is that if the game is not exactly to my liking, I can’t sell it as a used game. That, for me, is the only reason why nowadays I sometimes buy a real boxed game. Selling them again is always a good option if needed. There are pros and cons to this, and I’m wondering what you think? What are your reasons to download, or not to download?


  1. Great topic. I agree with all your pros and cons. Digital downloads are a convinient way of grabbing local and overseas games fast, but as a gamer/collector I always buy the physical version. Do limited editions with special packaging or additional physical items ever compel you to get the physical game rather than a download version? I am a big sucker for these releases, though companies like EA and Ubisoft take it to the extreme, flooding out mutiple editions that aren’t at all worth the massive markups that are applied.

    1. Thanks, I enjoyed writing the blog!
      I was thinking about your question, and trying to remember if I ever had any special editions or collectors items when buying a game. I don’t remember many, although I do remember hesitating when I bought New Leaf, where you could get the Isabella figurine when pre-ordering. There’s one game that I’m very glad to have the physical copy off, and that Ni no Kuni, as it came packaged with a very cool magic book!

  2. I was hyped up for months about the Animal Crossing New Leaf 3DSXL bundle but it didn’t end up coming out in Australia. I’m pretty sure we got the Isabelle figurine though. I am silently hoping there will be a WiiU release of Animal Crossing, but I know it would probably take more hours from my life than any of the previous games yet. Did you see the Animal Crossing movie? Too cute.

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean about AC taking a serious chunk out of your time! I’m not sure about a WiiU version though, I’m very much a handheld gamer. But if they make it playable in the GamePad only, then I’m totally in! Should be fun to visit each other’s town. I haven’t seen the movie yet, where did you see it?

    1. Yeah, I find my american device is full of download games. Funny enough I tend to order my Japanese games online. Often I can’t seem to find them in the Japanese eShop. Don’t you have that same problem, BriBri?

  3. I would add that those we have a japanese 3ds living outside japan, it’s more convenient to download a retail game because of 1) you save delivery time and 2) you save the insurance cost.

  4. The Animal Crossing movie was only out in Japan in Japanese but the full movie is on youtube subbed and split into smaller chunks. Handheld gaming is great but I love my Nintendo home consoles the best. You can always play Animal Crossing Let’s go to the City for Wii on your WiiU. It’s a whole new experience playing it on the big screen 🙂

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