Nintendo’s online offering is an embarrassment. The only positive thing that can be said of the service is that the servers are reliable, but Nintendo makes it needlessly difficult to take advantage of them. Friend codes are an absolutely awful idea, and have been the bane of gamers’ existence since they were rolled out with Mario Kart DS back in 2005. As a direct result of this per-console ID system, it’s impossible to have a connected identity across every Nintendo platform. The biggest problem with this is that you can’t connect your 3DS and Wii U eShop accounts, meaning you need to maintain a different wallet for each system, and if you want a game on both platforms, you’ll have to buy it twice. In an era when a PSN purchase will give you something to play on your PS3, PS4 and Vita all at once, this is unacceptable.
Things are looking up, though, at least if you’re interested in one specific 3DS game and you happen to live in Europe. Players who purchase the upcoming 3DS version of The Game Bakers’ excellent midcore strategy game Squids: Odyssey (which has been affectionately dubbed “Angry Birds Tactics” by fans) will receive a code to download game on Wii U. It’s a bit of a patchwork solution to a problem that really shouldn’t exist, but this is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, Nintendo only seems interested in making that step in Europe. According to The Game Bakers’ Emeric Thoa, “technical constraints” prevented this deal from being launched in the US. Nintendo would be smart to find a workaround ASAP, because while their E3 lineup was promising, their lackluster online options are holding them back.
Who knows? If all goes well, a single purchase could net Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS simultaneously. The 3DS holds the largest market share of the eighth-gen consoles, so cross-promotional efforts on Nintendo’s part could be a huge boon to their ailing home system.