Regular readers of the site or viewers of my video podcast might know that I was eagerly anticipating the release of LEGO City Undercover today. Both because I am a fan of the LEGO games and also because it’ll be nice to show my Wii U some love. Nintendo even sent out a press release today touting the release of the new, open-world LEGO game on their new system, and in the MiiVerse, the LEGO City Undercover community had already started (although mostly with people saying they wanted the game and others saying that they’d started downloading it but it was huge and taking forever). But interestingly, when I went into Best Buy to purchase the game, I was told that it wasn’t going to be available until Wednesday.
I’m sorry, what?
While LEGO City Undercover is currently available for purchase in the Nintendo eShop on the scheduled release date of March 18, stores such as Best Buy and GameStop apparently will not have it for sale until Wednesday, March 20. This discrepancy is very disconcerting to me, mostly because I don’t understand why it’s happening. And if it’s so Nintendo can squeeze some extra purchases into their own coffers before the game hits stores, it’s a little annoying.
I don’t mind downloading a game when it’s something like SingStar or Sing Party or Animal Crossing or Style Savvy, something that I’m going to go back to again and again for a very long time, and I don’t want to have to keep swapping discs/cartridges in and out with whatever else I’m playing. But if it’s just a regular game, I’d rather buy the disc version in a store. I’m not as concerned with cluttering up my game shelf as I am with filling up my Wii U hard drive. It’s only 32 GB, so I’m not as eager to download games for it as I am with my 120 GB 360 or PS3.
I understand that the gaming industry is slowly inching its way towards downloads as the primary way to purchase new games. Music has already pretty much crossed over to downloads and movies are on their way. But I feel like games might take a little bit longer. Yes, downloads are convenient and take up less storage space in the physical realm, but there’s something about owning a physical copy of a game that I like. I’m not ready to make the switch completely yet. And like I said, there’s something about making the game available directly from Nintendo for two days before it becomes available at other retail outlets that just rubs me the wrong way. Being a LEGO game, I doubt it’ll be that big of a deal, but imagine if they do the same thing to a Mario or Zelda game? I don’t think people will be willing to wait a few days for those, and Nintendo will really rack up the sales then.
Now I guess I’ll have to wait until I come back from PAX East before I get it, since I wouldn’t have time to play it Wednesday night with all the packing and preparations. Although now that I think about it, I wonder if I might have found a copy at the Nintendo World Store…