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You can no longer buy digital codes of Nintendo games from European retailers

Nintendo has implemented a new policy that prevents retailers in Europe from selling digital codes of its first-party titles on Nintendo Switch, meaning you’ll need to purchase them directly from the eShop going forward. 

The new policy first surfaced in a tweet from popular retailer ShopTo, who was quick to notify customers that it will no longer be able to accommodate digital codes for certain Nintendo products. However, it can continue to sell expansion passes and similar things with no issue. 

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A statement was also issued to Nintendo Life from Nintendo itself, providing a deeper explanation into why such a move was made, since at first glance it looks like a negative one on the part of players. 

“After careful examination of the evolving European marketplace in recent years, Nintendo has decided to end the availability of download codes for its own-published software via retailers, effective 1st July 2020,” the statement reads.

“Customers will still be able to purchase Nintendo eShop funds, Nintendo Switch Online memberships, and add-on content such as the Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield Expansion Pass, at retailers across Europe. Download codes for Nintendo Switch software from other publishers will also still be available.”

Policy only applies to first-party titles so, in theory, retailers shouldn’t run into obstacles selling digital codes for other titles on Nintendo Switch. It’s still a shame though, since games are always more expensive when bought directly from the Nintendo eShop.

This is likely a way of Nintendo centralising its digital purchases and maximising profit, since we assume they earn a greater share of revenue when things are bought directly. It’s not the first time a company has limited titles to its own storefront, and likely won’t be the last.