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Purely Opinion: The dissapointing decline of Club Nintendo

Purely Opinion: The dissapointing decline of Club Nintendo
Trevor Gould

Let me start this article by saying I still like Club Nintendo.  I enjoy registering my games and taking short surveys about them.  For one, it allows me a further opportunity to share my thoughts with the company.  When taking surveys for Virtual Console releases for instance, I always take time to criticize the lack of a unified account system.  Even better, I enjoy earning coins through completed surveys, which I can use for Nintendo merchandise.  More recently they’ve added the option to trade coins for select download codes, a move I welcomed.  However in recent months, Club Nintendo has taken a clear turn for the worse.

coin_adj_wiiu-deluxeThe survey process used to be quick and easy.  Games registered, either through an included code or automatically if they were downloaded, would take but a few minutes to fill out depending on how thorough you were.  Now however, it isn’t uncommon to fill out a survey to completion only to see an error code pop-up. Granted, A few minutes time isn’t much, but having to redo multiple surveys because of an error on the site is an annoyance that simply shouldn’t happen.  More recently, I clicked to fill out a Post Play survey for Super Punch-Out only to be directed to one for EarthBound?!?  Now I do want to be fair, and point out that (in my case at least) errors like these aren’t overly  common … but I never encountered them during the earlier days of the service.  I should add that systems can be registered  – a $300 Wii U earns you 160 coins … the same number a 3DS earns despite selling for often less than half the price.  Also, if you are expecting a warranty extension, prepare for disappointment as the Wii U doesn’t qualify for one.

The prizes offered by Club Nintendo have shrunk considerably.  What use to be a fairly wide selection of items to choose from has slowly reduced to a handful.  Now what remains is a mixture of old prizes and out of stock items.  Even some of the common items have been out of stock indefinitely (black Wii remote holders for instance).  The occasional special prizes offered are few and become out of stock very quickly.  This year did see a few new ‘Year of Luigi’ items offered but, besides asking a whopping amount of coins for them, they all sold out within days.  The only section of the Club Nintendo rewards page that has seen an increase is the ‘Currently Unavailable’ section … a section that used to never exist.0HeLviUshuLEecHGcZrOEEbzSQLCuGv2

The game prizes, while initially promising, have proved disappointing.  Prices have slowly gone up while choices have slowly gone down.  Club Nintendo used to offer new games every two weeks – now it’s once a month.  Even then they are very slow to update, with new games routinely showing up a day or two later than promised.  The selections are full of repeats that have been offered multiple times  For example, as of this posting, both Mario’s Picross and Starship Defense are listed as “New” games that Club Nintendo members can redeem with their coins.  Did you know that both of these games have already been offered twice prior?  The Wii Virtual Console, WiiWare, and DSiWare are the choices to pick from.  Only this last month did Club Nintendo finally offer a Wii U game outright – Balloon Fight (another repeat) for 200 coins.  Not the most inspiring choice for their home console, over a year after its release.

I could go on but I think I’ve sufficiently got my points across.  While I sit here and wait for a reply on my damaged Club Nintendo Platinum Reward posters, I can’t help but look back on what the service once was.  I hope more effort will be invested in Club Nintendo in 2014, so that it can return to its better days.

  • Ningeek185

    Another great Purely Opinion, Trevor!

    I have to be honest, I totally agree with Trev. Club Nintendo is getting worse and worse by the years. I had joined Club Nintendo last year, and it was…okay, I guess. There weren’t really any prizes worth getting for the incredible amount of coins they cost. I mean, a multicolored Wiimote strap set for 450 coins; that’s worth more than four 2DS handhelds! And a Nintendogs greeting card set? L-A-M-E. The only item I’ve ever handed my coins over for was the 18-card 3DS game card case. Come to think of it, I also downloaded a LTTP too. Still, I’ve been on Club Nintendo for one year, and a game card case as well as a 150-coin download was the only thing I bought? Yes, it’s true. Club Nintendo needs to look at its past and solve these dumb problems. They should have members of CN vote for next month’s download options. Because honestly, most of the downloads are lame. I don’t mind going through tiny little surveys, but Club Nintendo needs to get its act together soon. If not, I might as well cancel my membership.

    • TrevG1

      Thanks for the kind words! :)

      I like your voting idea a lot! It would be a great way to engage with the community and see where interests lie … I can’t imagine too many are clamoring for an overpriced Balloon Fight for instance, especially with so many versions already available.

      A LTTP was a great use of your coins though. ;)

      • Ningeek185

        It was! I can’t decide which game is better: A Link to the Past or A Link Between Worlds. I have one sage left to find in LBW!

        • Ningeek185

          Wait, I take back that last part. I just found Gulley after I defeated the Dark Palace a few hours ago.

  • Scissorpaws

    Maybe I am wrong about this but I believe the rewards for platinum and even gold seemed to have been better in past years. I still like some of the rewards such as the T-shirt.

    • TrevG1

      My favorite was the statue with the Mario cast. I think it was the platinum reward 3 years ago. The rewards since have been decent, but I agree not as good.

      • Scissorpaws

        I unfortunately joined just after that was released. I had been out of the video game world for a few years prior to that it was not until my son had begged for a Wii. Shortly after my love for video games came back, I shortly there after fell in love with Nintendo. I found out about Club Nintendo and was highly impressed began looking up past rewards and was really excited when my family had reached the Platinum status for the first time. I was impressed with the Mario button set it is a neat look for the family. I just would really like to see another reward like that again. I was super excited to see the release of the Luigi’s Mansion statue and was hoping to save enough before it’s release and was unsuccessful. I guess I will have to keep saving for now and not fall into the habit of not being waiting and just ordering something.

        • Ningeek185

          The thing about those coin-eating statues is that they’re made for collecting, basically. Spending 1500 coins on a little statue doesn’t cut it for me. If I kept it in the box (if it even comes in a box), then it might be worth a lot some day in the future.

          • Scissorpaws

            I know what you mean, but I guess I do basically intend on using it for a collecting stand point. I believe it would go good with my growing Nintendo Collection of assorted games and themes.

          • Ningeek185

            No kidding! It’s like the gamer’s dream…volume 2,476,998,345.

  • http://thomasjones1989.wordpress.com/ Thomas Jones

    Great piece. I’m (a little) ashamed to admit I usually click through the surveys as quickly as I can just to get them out of the way, but who can blame me? As you stay, they’re incredibly dull/laborious and offer little reward at the end. My most recent foray into filling out surveys led to me constantly receiving a “you must complete the survey you have started” prompt even though there were none incomplete. I had to log out and sign in again before it let me fill out a second. I know this is more a fault with the CN website as opposed to the service itself but I agree with you that it is sorely lacking. The only time I’ve been really happy with my purchases on CN was when they released the Mario Kart trophies for Europe that I managed to snap up (again, region exclusivity is another feature of CN which needs to be removed).

    At the end of the day, Nintendo need to realise that offering DS sleeves, and Wii accessories aren’t appealing, especially being a last gen accessory. CN needs a complete overhaul!

    • TrevG1

      Indeed! There just seems to be a general lack of care about the program. I can understand why it isn’t the highest priority, but at the very least the site should function correctly.

      I’m curious to see what games are offered when the rewards change next week. It’ll be the first new batch of 2014, so maybe it’ll be some genuinely new offerings, preferably for Wii U & 3DS.

  • http://thomasjones1989.wordpress.com/ Thomas Jones

    not to mention that I can’t register games I’ve bought in New Zealand to my Club Nintendo UK account. Another major problem.

    • TrevG1

      I didn’t even think to look into how Club Nintendo operates in other regions. Other than being jealous of some of the Japanese rewards, I don’t know a whole lot about them.

      • http://thomasjones1989.wordpress.com/ Thomas Jones

        That’s another thing, the UK Club Nintendo doesn’t offer downloadable games as rewards. I really can’t understand how or why they’d offer this to the US but not elsewhere…

  • Sunnyleafs

    It’s always difficult to complain too much about something when it’s free. The other gaming companies don’t offer a service like this at all, so I’m grateful to Nintendo to rewarding it’s most loyal fans. It must cost Nintendo quite a bit to maintain Club Nintendo – coming up with the products, website costs, paying for shipping, etc.
    But since Nintendo has decided to offer this program, it would be nice if the different regions were treated more fairly and for there to be more consistency with stocking rewards.

    • TrevG1

      It’s true. Club Nintendo is still a program I like, but Nintendo themselves have set high standards for it … standards that they are no longer matching. I can understand why, but it doesn’t make it less disappointing for me. Perhaps 2014 will see a better balance between regions, and existing rewards having their stock maintained.

      • Keno

        As much as we’d like to think it’s free it’s really not. I’d say it’s more of a reward for people who buy a lot of their products. It Club Nintendo wasn’t around I might have bought less of their games. But like Trev, I too received a damaged platinum poster which I hope they could’ve replaced. Just 1 damaged poster they have me mail back which the post office lost. I should’ve kept the damaged poster instead of mailing it back as per their request now all that money spent to receive the platinum rewards wasn’t even worth the trouble. I can see why xbox and sony fanboys are bashing Nintendo. Nintendo can’t even help their loyal customers it’s a shame.

        • TrevG1

          Sorry to hear you got damaged posters too. :( The only one of mine that survived intact was the Pikmin one, since it was the smallest of the three.

          • Keno

            Yeah what sucks is the one that did get damaged is the one I really wanted which was the Luigi anniversary poster. Even got a frame to hang it up and all. Now all I got is a blank frame. Nintendo could right their wrong though if their policy is not so up tight. If they would even consider looking at my Club Nintendo history they would know I been a long time member. Feels like I been betrayed. ::play Zelda ii gameover screen with laughing Ganon:: ;(

    • Scissorpaws

      I agree it is hard to complain about something when it is free, I just wish that like you said they would treat the regions fairly and keep the rewards stocked.

    • http://thomasjones1989.wordpress.com/ Thomas Jones

      it’s certainly free, but the rewards aren’t. Some lesser attractive gifts even require you to buy a few Wii U’s to have enough points…

  • Scissorpaws

    Speaking of Club Nintendo, maybe someone can help me here. For the past year my son and I have been sharing a 3DS. When Nintendo added the Miiverse to 3DS I updated my system and downloaded it onto my 3DS. I then added my Nintendo id to the 3DS linking the Club Nintendo account. My Son asked for a 3DSXL for Christmas, so him and I no longer had to share the 3DSXL and we could play some games together as well. I wanted to help him set up his 3DSXL to use the Miiverse as well the only way to do this is to use his Nintendo ID since he also has one on the WII U, however I am afraid that if I do that the 3DSXL will no longer be linked to our Club Nintendo account, is there any way I can do this and allow him to have both. I know that a Club Nintendo account can only be linked to one Nintendo Network Id, does anyone know of any other way to do this?