Cross Buy has been a feature many have been clamoring for ever since the Wii U launched. While it doesn’t apply to a vast majority of the Wii U and 3DS games, it can have implications for certain indie titles as well as titles on both systems through the virtual console. Either way, up until this point there was a partial assumption that it wasn’t yet possible with Nintendo’s current architecture, even though there has been some sales in the past when you bought one version of the game.
As of today, we now have our first true cross buy game, called Squids Odyssey. Currently, this cross buy has only been announced in Europe. Here is a PR email being sent out to current 3DS and Wii U owners in Europe:
Squids Odyssey (The Game Bakers) – €12.99/£9.99
Squids Odyssey is a unique mix of action strategy and RPG: build your team of Squid heroes for epic turn-based battles against corrupted crabs and shrimps! Steev and the rest of the Squids are in danger! An infectious black ooze is corrupting their world. The band of unlikely heroes need to fight back to save their kingdoms!
Special offer: If you downloaded Squids Odyssey on Nintendo 3DS, you can download Squids Odyssey from Nintendo eShop on Wii U for free! (Your Wii U and Nintendo 3DS must be linked with the same Nintendo Network ID.)
While this doesn’t confirm cross buy is now going to become a thing, it does prove a few points—namely that any game not made by Nintendo can do this (hello indies) and it is completely within their own control to offer it. The more indies that do it, the more pressure it puts on Nintendo to start offering the same thing with their games. Of course, the odd thing here is that Squids Odyssey has already been released on the Wii U in Europe, while the 3DS version is two weeks away.
What’s more so, it hasn’t been confirmed that it works the other way around—where if you already own the Wii U version you can get the 3DS version free. This may not be the case, but if it is possible one way it is certainly possible to do it the other, should the indie developers want to offer it.
Squids Odyssey is the first game on Wii U and 3DS to offer cross buy.
What we learn from all of this is that the infrastructure for it does it exist, should Nintendo or anyone else want to offer cross buy. Nintendo is naturally not making a big deal out of this yet, because this isn’t one of their games and they would have to plan to offer cross buy in the first place. It is always hard to know if cross buy will help or hurt sales long haul. Though, cross buy naturally puts the consumer first.
Just to address one more point—while there is still some work to do in making Nintendo Network ID’s more readily available (such as, being able to unlink an account over the internet versus needing that hardware right there with you), please remember if you sell a 3DS, Wii U, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or any other video game device that you should always remove and unlink your accounts from the console before sale. That is, of course, unless you like others parading around as you and if you have your card info saved to that ID—spending your money on new games. It’s just good common practice, and you shouldn’t blame Nintendo for the fact you sold a Wii U, never unlinked the account, and thus can’t link it to a new Wii U.
Nintendo has some stuff to work out, but still, it is technically your fault. That being the case, remember: we now have literal proof cross buy can occur should Nintendo or anyone else want to offer it. We’ll see if this becomes the first of many or a simple aberration.