There was a time when Club Nintendo was pretty cool. Rewards like Game and Watch systems, Mario hats, and more were offered to avid players of Nintendo games.
Towards the end of the program’s life cycle, however, the rewards became stale and boring, and many lost interest. Meanwhile, PlayStation and Xbox developed programs where players get free games consistently, whereas Club Nintendo will give you a small and repetitive handful of titles to choose from.
These days, we expect that game companies offer great deals and free games for our loyalty, and Club Nintendo had been falling behind.
Let’s be honest, these companies have no obligations to offer us anything for free
However, Nintendo’s efforts in rewarding their players paled in comparison to PlayStation’s and Xbox’s.
While I suppose it is the end of the Club Nintendo era, I look forward to Nintendo going back to the drawing board and figuring out how to properly reward their fans.
Right now Assassin’s Creed IV is free for Xbox Live Gold subscribers, while Elite Club Nintendo users were essentially offered 1 decent game for all of their purchases over the year, mixed in with $5 NES games. From PlayStation, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is free. In two weeks, Xbox Live Gold subscribers will get Gears of War 3 for free.
You do not have to buy anything other than PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, both of which you need anyways to fully experience the PS3/PS4 or Xbox 360/Xbox One. There are great games on these services that people want to play. Add in smaller titles and update the free games every month, and you are providing your users a reason to remain loyal.
Club Nintendo being gone is a good thing
Club Nintendo’s extinction means that Nintendo needs to take a long hard look at how they need reward their fans. Competition creates excellency. It means that we don’t need to accept underwhelming rewards, awkwardly smiling as we are offered Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda for the millionth time.
It is time that Nintendo gets with the times and offers a premium rewards program for it’s users, that also offers cross-buy. Because even though we received our digital code for Super Mario Bros., or The Legend of Zelda, we could not play on 3DS and Wii U. You can only pick one.
For those like me who suffered through the painfully repetitive rewards offered by Club Nintendo, it is time to move on and hope that this time Nintendo gets it.
We do not know what Nintendo’s next reward program will be, but it better be a much stronger effort, because that is what we have come to expect.
Here’s hoping for more physical rewards, and what originally made Club Nintendo a cool and special service.