Earlier today Nintendo quietly launched a digital store on Amazon's website, allowing players to purchase digital games like Splatoon for Wii U or Pokémon Omega Ruby for the 3DS directly through the retailer's website.
All you have to do is pick the game you want, log into your Nintendo Network Account, and redeem the code to start downloading it on the relevant platform.
So far, the vast majority of games on offer, which are far short of Nintendo's full digital catalog, are developed and published by Nintendo.
This is a surprising choice for Nintendo, which is notoriously unsavvy and hesitant to embrace anything to do with the internet. It took the company far too long to get it's own digital store up and running, and to see it integrate with a third party, online retailer like this is unexpected. It's also kind of a nice option, as buying games through the Wii U's eShop, for example, is still not the best user experience.
What's even more surprising is that Nintendo is doing this with Amazon. For a couple of years now, Amazon hasn't sold Nintendo products directly, instead fulfilling orders through other retailers connected to its site, indicating that the relationship between the two companies went sour at some point. One popular theory is that they had disagreements on how to compensate users for broken Nintendo 3DS systems, which tended to break at the hinge.
As Engadget notes, Amazon started selling some Nintendo products again earlier this year, and now Nintendo has a digital store on Amazon, so it looks like the two companies might be getting cozy again.
If you want to put on your tinfoil hat and begin speculating wildly, the fact that Nintendo is giving its fans more options on where to buy games online could be related to a recent patent it filed for a stationary console without an optical drive. If Nintendo's next console, the NX, really is ditching physical media, it certainly would be nice of Nintendo to give consumers more options on where to buy digital games.