I adore the Ace Attorney series. It’s one of my favourite series on one of my favourite systems, so by default the games are up there in my favourites of all time. Some of the best writing, the best music, the best story in any game. It convinced me of how good the visual novel genre can be, which is another untapped vein of unique gaming experiences.
But as much as I’d like to, I won’t be playing Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, which was today confirmed for an English translation.
Believe me, I really do want to play it. It was a major factor in my decision to finally jump on the 3DS bandwagon, after all. But I won’t as long as my only option to purchase is through Nintendo’s eShop.
For those who don’t know, whereas the likes of Xbox Live Marketplace, PSN, Steam and the App Store attach your digital purchases to your account, allowing you to play them on any compatible platform simply by logging in, the eShop links them to your hardware. This is annoying on the home consoles but, in the eyes of me and many others, an unacceptable risk when buying for portable hardware. If your 3DS is lost, stolen, or breaks outside warranty, you’re at the mercy of Nintendo’s customer support as to whether you can redownload your games. Sell your console without buying a replacement beforehand and you have to let all your games go with it.
Conceivably, a 3DS with an extensive library of games on it could be worth thousands. Good luck getting that much out of your insurance company if your £150 piece of hardware gets nicked.
And of course, none of these are issues for your games on other digital distribution platforms. Losing an iPhone is an annoyance, but get a replacement and you can download every one of your purchases again. Ditto for any other gaming hardware that isn’t manufactured by a company intent on staying a generation behind everyone else.
This is all especially relevant to me at the moment, as my 3DS has been in for repairs for the last three weeks. (That’s some 3-7 day turnaround you’ve got there.) Were a 3DS game I really wanted to play to come out right now, I’d be out of luck. Any current system from any other manufacturer would let me borrow a friend’s machine, log in on my account, and play the new release until my one came back.
That next-generation experience, detaching the games and service from the hardware, is clearly beyond Nintendo, and I won’t be supporting even my favourite series while they’re propping it up.
In a word: OBJECTION!