Nintendo has been pushing their digital downloads and trying to encourage customers to download digital copies of their games for about the last year or so now. But say you lost your Nintendo console (whether home or portable), or sold it, perhaps it was stolen, etc. Well I unfortunately had a scenario where something happened to my Wii U. What I had was a lengthy list of three fully downloadable titles, about eight or nine smaller downloadable games (like indie games), three pieces of DLC for three different games, and at least twenty Wii U Virtual Console games with another few dozen Wii Virtual console games and Wiiware that were transferred to the Wii U.
I began this process with a quick telephone call to Nintendo’s Customer Service. I explained my situation and that I would love to recover my lost games. The representative was trying to be helpful and reassuring, and the end result was that all I had to do was simply link my Club Nintendo account to the new Wii U. At this point in time my replacement Wii U was not purchased, I was hoping to speed up the process by calling sooner than later. Fast forward a week or two, the new Wii U is in my hands! I feel like I just got it for the first time and all excited to see my black Wii U back in my home.
So with the Wii U plugged in now, I began to go through this seemingly amazingly simple process of just re-linking my Club Nintendo account. I went through the (now) standard 30 minute update when setting up a new console and now came the time for my Nintendo Network ID (NNID). The most interesting thing was that the console gave me the option to log in with an existing NNID. I suddenly was filled with happiness that this slipped the cracks of all media outlets and blogs and that this could be simply resolved by logging in with my already created NNID. Well, as we all know, I was unable to successfully log in with my previously existing NNID. When attempting to do this, you receive a message that this login belongs to another Wii U console and that it was unable to log in. So after a few failed attempts, I just created a new Mii and a new NNID (temporarily).
The new Wii U was now all up to date, I have a new NNID, now it was time to go to the eShop and link this console to my Club Nintendo account. It was very simple to find this within the eShop and I entered in my Club Nintendo information thinking everything would be all set and good to go. Wrong! I got error message stating that my Club Nintendo account has already been linked with a Wii U console and that I am unable to have it linked to two consoles. ”What to do!?” I asked myself. Unfortunately being very busy, I had to wait a few days before calling up Nintendo Customer Support (once again). This time it got real.
I talked with a new representative (I really wished I recalled her name) and I explained the situation and that how I would love to be able to use my existing NNID on my previous Wii U console, and my Club Nintendo account – as I reminded her that the policy is that I cannot have two Club Nintendo accounts. She informed me that I can recover the NNID, Club Nintendo account and eShop account from my console without having it with me. I began to feel that excitement that I was getting everything back that I had bought and paid for. She required lots of information and created this transfer request.
First I needed my original console’s product/serial number. I know not everyone is hoarder like me, but I still had the original box. I was also reminded that I could have easily looked it up on Club Nintendo – which it is clearly stated there as well. I carefully gave her the information and upon a few seconds she instantly found my NNID, Club Nintendo, eShop accounts. Now she needed the new serial number of the replacement Wii U. Excitedly, I carefully gave over that piece of information. Upon a little longer wait, she found this console. She then had to confirm and ask if I had purchased anything on this new console. Obviously I did not as I wanted my original eShop account back in action.
Next she asked if I had bought my eShop games on a credit card or via cash cards. Not wanting my information stored anywhere, I had used solely eShop cards and informed her of this. Thankfully it did not seem to matter as she came to the next question. She asked that I list some of the games that I had purchased/downloaded on my original Wii U. Being all excited, I listed off the major ones first like Super Mario 3D World, New Super Mario Brothers U, Super Luigi U, Wii Fit U, Wii Sports Club – Bowling, DuckTales Remastered, and started stumbling out some virtual console games. She then said I could stop and confirmed that it was my account that she was looking at. I then inquired about my eShop balance as I had a little under $10 on it. She said that would be also transferred over. She did a quick check to see if anything was purchased since my time of loss and nothing had been. I also pointed out I had refused to upgrade my 3DS since I did not want this to interfere with this process. That didn’t seem to be an issue if I had I done so.
Curious that she could see my account, I asked if she was able to see if my console was fired up. Unfortunately she is not able to tell. She explained that she can only see if any purchases were created (which there was not). She then outlined how this process was going to go. She was filling out a Wii U Console Transfer Request and that within a short time, that my NNID/Club Nintendo/eShop account was being exported off my previous console. She explained these are high priority to Nintendo to restore this information for their customers. She also explained that it may take four to six business days to complete the request, and that I would receive an email upon completion. I then asked what happens to the other console. She informed me that when my former Wii U is connected to Wi-Fi, it will detect invalid licenses on all the games downloaded and simply delete all the games automatically. Finally she reminded me again not to make any purchases on the new console as that would get lost when my existing account will completely replace everything on my new console. After all of this, she thought to double check if either my original console or my replacement one was the Wind Waker Bundle. Most interestingly, this console is a little different when involved in the transfer process, but that it was still doable. I explained I had tried to pick it up as my replacement, but my local shops were out of stock.
Fast forward five days. Nintendo support contacted me and needed for me to do a real quick step. They required me to access the Wii Shop Channel to ‘activate’ it on my new console. I completed it within an hour of knowing this step. Now we arrive on the fateful day six of the four-six day period. I get a call back from support again around noon. This time I got the news saying they were unable to transfer my account over. Something about it being a “huge account” and having a long list of both Wii and Wii U titles mixed in. They did have a new solution, which was to give me a credit in the eShop and Wii Shop Channel to cover the expense of all games lost.
So the overall end of day decision was that I was receiving credit to my new account in both the Wii U eShop and the Wii Shop Channel to repurchase all of my titles. In addition, they were able to transfer five titles’ licenses over and gave me download codes for another seven games. The rest was given as monetary payment for me to purchase them again. The recovered license titles were my first purchases: New Super Mario Brothers U, Nano Assault Neo, Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition, Little Inferno and Puddle. The seven download codes may sound familiar, all of them were 30 cent virtual console games.
Was it a success? I don’t know. It’s nice I can have my games back, but it’s also a major inconvenience to repurchase the games. While now I can weed out some of the impulse purchases, or not purchase some of the poor titles I had to review; I still find it to be a hassle especially the Wii Shop Channel. The Wii Shop Channel only allows for a single item purchase, you wait for it to download, then it kicks you back to the main menu. I also had to re-register all of my friends which was another inconvenience. Finally, I had four titles that are now gone forever. One of them was my platinum reward “Doc Louis’s Punch Out!”. The other are three Wii virtual console games that have been removed from the shop; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest.
I’ve already spent about four hours in the eShop and Wii Shop Channel and repurchased a number of games. I’m still missing one Wiiware title (that I wish to replace), and a few eShop games, but the vast majority remaining is my virtual console library. I was able to save some cash by getting Mudds Deluxe on sale, and I can easily save a few bucks by buying the Wii version of some of the virtual console games then upgrading it, but what it all comes down to is the time needed. I want to spend the time playing games, not sitting in Shop Channel making purchases.
I’d say this whole process is still flawed. Had the account not been locked to the console, I could simply go to ‘My Downloads’ and just go from there. While the credits allow me to pick and choose titles; it is very time consuming. Losing the save data for each game was huge loss, so if Nintendo started some cloud back ups it may have been much better – I know this was never promised and definitely lost forever – I just wanted to point out how losing save data affects the decisions to re-purchase some titles. I had completed a number of Wiiware games, and some I do not wish to even play a second time through. I appreciate that I was reimbursed for my loyalty, just disappointed with this process and ultimately this final outcome. The original outcome seemed that I would retain my NNID, all of my purchases (and simply had to re-download) but instead I now have a new account, and a huge wallet to do as I please.