Amazon and Nintendo have revealed a digital online store for Nintendo games. Much like digital Steam games sold on Amazon, purchasing a game gives you a code that can then be redeemed on the Nintendo eShop. The new service is just in time for the release of Super Mario Maker on Wii U.
The store itself is rather surprising as Nintendo and Amazon have had a rather cold relationship for a long time. Since 2011, Amazon has rarely sold Nintendo hardware directly. You can purchase a Wii U or 3DS on Amazon via one of their third-party sellers, with Amazon many times handling fulfillment, but for the most part Amazon stays out of it.
"We don't talk about our specific business practices with individual retailers, and so you're not going to get any more information from me specific to Amazon or any of our different retail partners," Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime told Kotaku in 2012. "What I can tell you is they are selling software, and [there] are resellers that are on the site selling hardware as well, but you're right: Amazon as a direct sale company currently does not sell Nintendo hardware."
The status quo changed slightly with the launch of the New Nintendo 3DS XL in North America - Amazon sells the Red and Black systems directly - but otherwise, the standard operating procedure remains. Regardless, if you're in the market for digital Nintendo games, Amazon has a fix for you instead of browsing the eShop. And all those Amazon gift cards can be used for immediate Nintendo pruchases instead of waiting for shipping turnaround. Warning, Wii U hard drives can fill up quickly if you're not prepared.