Use Them Or Lose Them
Nintendo replaced their old Club Nintendo rewards program with their new My Nintendo program back in April of 2016. If you registered back when the program first launched, earned a bunch of coins but never used them, like me, then you just had some expire.
There are two main aspects of the My Nintendo program that I do not like. First, the rewards suck. Buying a game off the eShop, instead of a physical version that has trade-in value, to earn a handful of Gold Coins sounds like a good incentive to yield some extra rewards and to build your digital library. However, spending a hard earned 80 Gold Coins to get 30% off Mario Golf or 100 Gold Coins for a 30% coupon for Star Fox 64 3D is not a reward at all. And does anyone really care about 3DS themes? The answer to that is no. Spending 100 Silver or Miitomo coins for a dumb Yo-Kai Watch 2 theme is not going to make me any happier.
The second part of the My Nintendo program that is lacking is the absence of any reminder emails about points expiring or availability on new rewards. If I would have known that over 600 of my My Nintendo coins were going to expire, I would have at least spent them on a lousy theme. Unfortunately, I didn’t know I was going to be losing my Coins until it was too late and I logged into my account to check out the details. Gone forever. Mega bummer. I answered so many pointless Miitomo questions to earn those Coins, dammit!
On the other hand, Nintendo is doing one thing right with this rewards program – offering exclusive content you cannot get anywhere else. My Nintendo Picross: The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess is only available through the My Nintendo program. Personally, I am not the biggest fan of Picross, but I appreciate the effort Nintendo made with this 3DS exclusive download. I just wish there was more of it.
Imagine downloading a Mario Kart 8 track that you can only get through this program or what if there was a way to unlock exclusive Trophies in Smash Bros. for Wii U or 3DS. Yes, please! This would provide me with incentive to not only use this My Nintendo program to the fullest extent but would also be sure to purchase more first party Nintendo games. What if Mew or other rare Pokemon were only available as a My Nintendo download for the upcoming Pokemon Sun and Moon? No question that gamers everywhere would be taking advantage of this. And no, Miitomo t-shirts and hats do not count.
By the end of the year, I will have over 2,100 My Nintendo Silver and Miitomo coins expiring. Even if I redeemed my tokens for Zelda Picross and got a theme, I would have about a thousand coins going to waste very soon. Looks like I will be getting that Yo-Kai theme after all. Yeah, awesome!
Like the Club Nintendo program before it, this My Nintendo system yields the same issue – stock piling coins with the hopes of something good popping up. Or worse yet, spending your coins on something you don’t really want, then get screwed the following month because something better popped up. Or third, waiting too long and your hard work expires. Not knowing what will show up or when is also a negative aspect that gives users some unnecessary anxiety. Perhaps if Nintendo offered a larger menu of rewards for, say, six months, users can work to achieve the reward of their choosing before points expire and will provide incentive to use and buy Nintendo products for that month. But even this has a downside as content can easily become outdated.
At the end of the day, I shouldn’t complain because all this is technically free to consumers while Nintendo eats the costs to main this program. But at the same time, I can’t help but think how much better this program could be. Both Microsoft and Sony give away several games each month to Xbox Live and PS+ members whereas Nintendo users get 15% off a game they probably already own after spending $20 on the eShop. The comparison is night and day. Granted, Microsoft and Playstation users have to pay an annual fee to earn these free games but the cost of admission also goes into hosting online play, leaderboards, messaging, Achievements/Trophies and matchmaking, something most Nintendo games lack.
If I had my choice, I would wish to go back to the old Club Nintendo format because at least I earned an occasional free game and not some dumb coupon or worthless theme. In the meantime, check your account, fellow gamers, and spend your coins before they expire.
Let me know what you think of My Nintendo program and if any of your Coins also expired in the comments below.
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com