I bought a second Wii U.
I wasn't planning on it, but our local drug store had a bonus points day. We've been accumulating points for a while at this business, but we didn't really find much to spend it on and blowing all the points on everyday items seemed boring.
So, with the bonus points day I was able to buy a Wii U - Super Mario 3D World Bundle for $70.
We already have a Wii U, but there were a couple reasons why I never really got into playing it.
First, it is in our family room. I'm lucky enough to have a dedicated game room, a bigger TV there, and a couch that fits my ass just right. Basically, I'm more comfortable for serious gaming in my room that's been configured specifically for such activities. Since we bought the first Wii U for my son for his birthday, it would hardly be fair to move the machine to my gaming lair.
The other reason I can't get in to playing our first Wii U is that our surround sound speaker system in the family room is DTS/Dolby Digital only...no PCM. I think one of the biggest features missing from the Wii U is DTS/DD sound support. This causes no end of problems for sound bars, headphones and other devices that rely on a toslink connection and DD/DTS signal. Without these common standards in the machine, many people who already have surround sound systems can't actually get surround sound out of the Wii U.
I'll admit it, I'm a bit of an audio snob. The idea of playing the Wii U in stereo when we have a perfectly good 5.1 surround system in the family room really rubbed me the wrong way. I think games, especially first person shooters, almost feel like they've been crippled, or one of my senses has been taken away, when you play them with just stereo sound. I know, many of you play with stereo sound and it suits you just fine, but I've been gaming with surround sound since surround sound became available for home. Having a game that supports 5.1 sound and yet can only be played in stereo is just unappealing to me.
My sound system in my game room does support PCM audio and this was probably the biggest reason for getting another Wii U. And for $70, it was hard to pass up.
So, I hadn't looked much into the digital software from the eShop and how friendly it was moving from system to system. Given the track record for Nintendo, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to take my purchases from one system to the other.
And of course, I was right. You can't play digital downloads on both machines. Never mind that Sony, Steam, Microsoft, Apple, and basically every company other than Nintendo allows this and has allowed it for a while. I mean, Sony is working on allowing you to share games with friends who don't even own the game. Nintendo can't even get it together to let me use the game I purchased digitally on two separate machines of the same type, in the same location, by the same user. The PS4, PS3, 360 and Xbox One all work fine to play your digital purchases from multiple machines, why is this so hard for Nintendo?
So, instead of moving forward to digital purchases, I now have to begrudgingly go back to buying physical copies of games to be able to play them on two machines.
But this isn't the end of it. Not only can I not play the digital games on both machines, I can't link my second Wii U to my Nintendo Network ID or to my Club Nintendo account. So, I have to create a whole new online identity that is completely separate to my identity I've been using since the Wii. None of my digital purchases on the second Wii U would earn coins for my current Club Nintendo account. (Edit: As Falsoman reminds me, I could link the two Club Nintendo accounts as a family and earn coins for the parent account. This is indeed somewhat of a solution, except that I'm still making purchases for digital content for two completely separate online accounts that are locked to each machine. I'd rather go the physical media route and just redeem the codes for my coins on my original account.)
Now, I could unlink my account to our first Wii U and transfer it to the new Wii U. At the very least you can do this, which will save some headaches if your Wii U dies and you need a replacement machine. However, we've already invested heavily in digital purchases for our first Wii U and my son plays the Wii U more and more now. Since I am the parent account and I make all the purchases, if I were to transfer my account to the other machine, my son wouldn't be able to play all the games we've amassed.
Considering how long this hasn't been an issue on the other platforms, it really saddens me that Nintendo seems so much in the dark ages when it comes to online connectivity and digital rights management. As I said, I can buy physical copies of games and play them on both systems, why Nintendo doesn't see that the same privilege should be applied to digital versions makes me shake my head. They haven't even caught up to the wonders of digital rights management that users of the 360 and PS3 have been enjoying for many years.
And no, I don't want physical copies of games. Yes, it is a solution, but not one that I like. I love having just digital versions of games. No messing with discs, no storing of plastic cases. I'm well beyond wanting to display my games and I have no attachment to physical copies. I have almost four decades worth of games in this house, the amount of storage required is ridiculous. Digital downloads are the way I want it. It makes the most sense to me and offers the most convenience...well, everywhere except on Nintendo machines.
Come on Nintendo. Get with the times. This isn't a big deal, just copy what everyone else is doing. It works just fine for them. Hell, even if you want to make me buy a copy of a game for each machine, at the very least you should allow me to have my account linked to both machines. Online identities are important to people, I don't want to have separate accounts on separate machines.
I'm a sad panda...but at least I can now play ZombiU in earnest with surround sound.