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Wii U Nintendo Network discrepancy at launch

As excited Wii U launch buyers open their new consoles for the first time, the unexpected 5GB patch install isn’t the only worrying thing to find out after purchasing the device. It has now been confirmed that much like the PS Vita memory card situation, Nintendo has silently revealed that Nintendo Network accounts are going to be strictly locked down to one console only, meaning that you will be unable to log into that account on a second Wii U console in the home or at a friend’s place.

It’s goes without saying that this is a major disappointment for those with the luxury of having two Wii U consoles in the home, who like to transfer DLC content freely around between each console using the same Nintendo Network ID. For some unknown and unexplained reason though, Nintendo won’t be giving you the freedom to do this – at launch anyway.

When browsing through Nintendo’s support pages for the Wii U, you will find some pretty useful information including some helpful advice in the troubleshooting section. However, if you head to the General Info sub-heading and examine the topic titled ‘Can I Log Into My Nintendo Network Account on a Different Console?’, you will find out the shocking truth that Nintendo doesn’t allow this, with Nintendo strictly stating that Wii U Nintendo Network IDs can only be used on the console in which it was created.

Further down the message, we see a portion of text which informs users that they will be able to use Nintendo Network accounts on ‘future Nintendo consoles and other devices’ – but they do not make it crystal clear on whether this relates to a second Wii U console, or the next console after the Wii U.

Is this yet another simple feature that they will have to bring to users via a future software update? There is no hiding behind the fact that this industry standard feature needed to be available at launch. Another worrying aspect to think about though – is what this means for Nintendo’s stance on digital games.

With this limitation in place, gamers are surely going to be very reluctant to purchase digital Wii U content at a preference to retail, if they cannot use that digital content on a second Wii U console or access it on a friend’s console. Other consoles such as the PS3 have measures in place where you can download the same piece of content on up to five PS3 consoles – it really is a shady affair, but at least Sony gives users the option to do this.

Additionally, users can ring up Sony to ask them personally to unlock a particular PS3 console so that digital content already purchased can be used on on a new console if for some reason, a lock has been put in place over time. Has Nintendo done this to protect against fraud, or is it simply a move which they didn’t really think through enough?

We would like to think that this will all be solved with a future software update, but for now this feature isn’t available at launch. Let us know how this affects you and your plans to go digital with Wii U content.

Written by Alan Ng

Alan has been working for Product-Reviews since 2009 and became the Editor-in-chief in 2014. He has a passion for technology, the latest mobile phones and gadgets, and the gaming industry. Alan is a graduate of Canterbury Christ Church University and completed a B.A in Commercial Music in 2008. While expressing a keen interest in all areas that PR cover, you'll usually find Alan in the gaming section, where he'll be keeping enthusiasts up to date on all the latest news and reviews for consoles and PC.

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