Unlike Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo currently doesn’t allow you to redownload digital purchases. They’re tied to the piece of hardware you buy them on, not to a unified account system. If you replace your console, those games are lost. Fans have criticized the practice for years, and it appears Nintendo has finally listened.
After NeoGaf user “hiphoptherobot” accidentally received his Switch pre-order early, he agreed to do an unboxing video for fighting game community YouTube channel FloKO.
In the video, at the 2:59 mark, there’s this bit of fine print:
“Your Nintendo Account contains your Nintendo eShop purchase history and current balance. By re-linking your Nintendo Account after initializing the console, it will be possible to redownload any software or DLC purchased using that account. (Software that has been discontinued may not be available to redownload in some cases.)”
Giving gamers an easier way to manage their digital libraries is long overdue. We’ve contacted Nintendo to confirm the change to its online services, and we’ll update this story if we hear back.