Arstechnica- When Nintendo announced last week that it would soon start offering the majority of its retail 3DS and Wii U games as digital downloads, it represented a major change in policy for the company. But buried in the announcement was what could possibly be an even more significant change in Nintendo's relationship with brick and mortar retailers.
For the past few years, Sony and Microsoft have both let game retailers share in a slice of the downloadable marketplace by selling codes for downloadable games and add-on content directly at the register. The retailer acts like a physical Xbox Live Marketplace or PlayStation Store here, sending the purchase request directly to the platform holder's servers and printing out a download code. In exchange, the retailer pockets a commission of 15 to 20 percent of the sale price, which is set by Sony or Microsoft as identical to the price offered on their online stores.
The relationship Nintendo is envisioning for retailers selling its downloadable games is more akin to the standard wholesale model currently used for physical games. Under Nintendo's plan, retailers would buy download codes directly from the publisher at a lower, wholesale price, then resell them to consumers at whatever price the retailer thinks will bring in the most profit.