Club Nintendo

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Club Nintendo
Official logo of the Club Nintendo program
Developer Nintendo
Type Loyalty Program
Launch date
  • JP October 31, 2003
  • EU May 3, 2002
  • AUS April 24, 2008
  • NA October 2, 2008
Website Official US website
Official Europe/Australian website
Official Japan website

Club Nintendo is the name of several publications and a more well-known customer loyalty program provided by Nintendo. The loyalty program is free to join and is committed to providing rewards in exchange for consumer feedback and loyalty to purchasing official Nintendo products. Members of Club Nintendo may earn credits or "coins" by submitting codes found on Nintendo products and systems, which may be traded in for special edition items only available on Club Nintendo. Rewards include objects such as playing cards, tote bags, downloadables, and warranty extensions on select Nintendo products.

Publications[edit]

Europe[edit]

In Europe, Club Nintendo was the name of three magazines which started publishing in 1989. The European version was published in several languages, and there were separate publications for Germany, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Slovenia. All were later discontinued and eventually replaced. The last German issue was published in August 2002.[1]

Mexico[edit]

Club Nintendo is the name of the official Nintendo magazine in Mexico. The magazine was founded in December 1990 by José "Pepe" Sierra and Gustavo "Gus" Rodríguez. It was the first magazine in Mexico about Nintendo made by fans of video games, and quickly became the leading game magazine in México.[citation needed]

Australia[edit]

In Australia Club Nintendo was a magazine that started in 1991 and was published by Catalyst Publishing in Melbourne. Roughly 31 pages in length, it featured very few screenshots of games. Australia eventually received their own version of Nintendo Magazine System by which time this magazine had ceased. Catalyst Publishing later took over Nintendo Magazine System in 1996 from the previous publisher.

Loyalty program[edit]

The Club Nintendo loyalty program offers rewards to members who collect points (sometimes referred to as "Stars" or "Star Points", the program is also commonly known as the Stars Catalogue; the North American Club uses "Coins") which are gained primarily by purchasing and registering certain first-party hardware and software titles by Nintendo. Points are also awarded for the purchase of select third-party titles, and can also be obtained by participating in surveys, inviting others to become a Club Nintendo member or even simply visiting a web site.

Rewards range from digital content such as computer wallpaper, music and mobile phone ringtones, to physical items such as keyrings, calendars, t-shirts and other clothing items, to premium items such as soundtrack albums and game controllers. Some of the premium rewards are even Club Nintendo exclusive video games. These video games can be either digital content (WiiWare, DSiWare) or a physical item (Wii, DS) depending on how, on a game by game basis, they are offered. Many reward items are exclusive to particular Club Nintendo territories, and physical items are sometimes only available in limited quantities.

South Africa[edit]

Club Nintendo launched in South Africa in June 2008.[2][3]

Japan[edit]

A reward released in Japan.

Club Nintendo (Japanese: クラブニンテンドー) is an official Nintendo club for Japanese fans. It launched on October 31, 2003 and was the second Nintendo reward program to be set (Coming after the European Nintendo VIP 24:7 program) but was the first to be called Club Nintendo.

The Japanese Club Nintendo offers rewards such as Wii Remotes with television remote control functionality, exclusive and unreleased games such as Tingle's Balloon Fight DS and Exclamation Warriors Sakeburein, game soundtrack CDs (like Touch! Generations Soundtrack) and exclusive accessories such as a Super Famicom style Classic Controller for the Wii.[4]

Europe[edit]

Club Nintendo in Europe was launched as Nintendo VIP 24:7 on May 3, 2002, to coincide with the European launch of the Nintendo GameCube. It promised exclusive news, reviews, previews and forums to members. However, because released titles are often delayed in European countries (usually due to localization), the exclusive features could be often found elsewhere on the Internet.[5] To coincide with the release of the Wii, VIP 24:7 was renamed to Club Nintendo and adopted the Japanese Club Nintendo logo.

The Club Nintendo of Europe features a Star Points system where members can exchange stars earned by registering games and consoles for items in the Stars Catalogue, and for Wii Points to use in the Wii Shop Channel, which are available only in sets of 100, 300, 500 and 1000 Points.[6] Originally, a maximum of two Wii Points Cards per day per account was available for purchase; this later changed to one a day.[7] Since September 2008, stars can also be used to buy singles and albums at the music online store emusu.com. At the time of writing, June 2010, music download vouchers no longer appear in the Club Nintendo Stars Catalogue, and the actual download site www.emusu.com/backstage is unavailable.[citation needed]

Members enter PIN codes found on inserts included with certain games and hardware to earn stars. These can range from 100 to 1000 stars in value. Upon registering as a member on Nintendo of Europe's website, one is rewarded with 250 stars. Encouraging other people to register with Nintendo of Europe earns members 250 stars per sign-up.[8] After registering, members can choose to receive special emails from Nintendo, which can include surveys which also reward members with stars. Daily visits to the website also once earned members 5 stars per day, but this was later removed.

North America[edit]

Previously, questions were raised over Club Nintendo's conspicuous absence in the region. In 2007, then-vice president of Marketing and Corporate Affairs for Nintendo of America Inc. (NOA) Perrin Kaplan stated that the inclusion area of the United States is much larger than all the other Club Nintendo countries, and that the program was considered prohibitively expensive to set up. Kaplan also said that the company considered the pre-order bonuses and game registration promos it offered were an alternative to Club Nintendo.[9] Nintendo of America ultimately relented due to customer demand[10] and announced that a Club Nintendo program for North America in October 2008.[11]

The program was launched on December 15, 2008, retiring the My Nintendo registration program.[12] The site experienced high traffic at its initial launch, resulting in login problems and slow load times for users.[13] It was taken offline on December 24, 2008, reopening almost a week later on December 30 with noticeable infrastructure improvements. The North America catalog was developed in conjunction with Nintendo Australia[citation needed] and uses Coins instead of Stars.

Program participants who meet 300-Coin "Gold" or 600-Coin "Platinum" benchmarks within the Club Nintendo year (July 1–June 30) also receive exclusive items. Platinum Rewards are usually premium items, such as plush hats or posters. However, in 2014, there were no physical rewards for either Platinum or Gold, instead a selection of Wii/3DS games which were already released on the eShop were offered. In the past, some of the most notable Platinum Member rewards were a special standalone WiiWare version of Punch-Out!! titled Doc Louis's Punch-Out!![14] and a plastic statuette featuring the main characters from the Mario games.[15]

In 2011, Nintendo of America started offering download codes for downloadable games as rewards. Currently, this is available for the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U consoles as well as the Wii or the Wii U via Wii Mode. These typically range from 100 to 250 coins. There are currently eight games offered (originally two to four), which change roughly each month. When orders for the non-game rewards were closed from April 18, 2014 until May 13, 2014, 5 different games were added, making a total of 9 games.

Nintendo of America customers having legal home addresses in the United States and Canada are eligible to be Club Nintendo members, and Nintendo has yet to make any announcements in regards to expanding the service to other official NOA territories.

Oceania[edit]

Club Nintendo in Australia was launched on April 24, 2008 to coincide with the release of Mario Kart Wii, with the website, catalogue and product registration going live on March 11, 2009 using the same system offered by Nintendo of Europe.[16] Nintendo Australia has asserted that the Australian Club Nintendo reward catalogue will be unique from that of Club Nintendo Europe and Club Nintendo Japan, and was developed in conjunction with Nintendo of America. However, unlike its North American counterpart, the Australian service uses Stars instead of Coins - the same as its European counterpart.

Most games either distributed or published by Nintendo Australia after Mario Kart Wii will contain a card that allows buyers to register their games for Club Nintendo points.

Club Nintendo Australia is for both Australians and New Zealanders, as Nintendo Australia manages Nintendo's operations in New Zealand as well.[citation needed]

Other[edit]

Club Nintendo was also the name given to a customer service program operating in Spain in the 90's. Players buying a console, a videogame or an accessory were able to fill a form and send it to Nintendo's headquarters in the country by mail. After doing it, the player would receive a Club Nintendo plastic card with his name, an associate number, the image of Mario and Nintendo's logo. The main purpose of this was to receive telephone support about clues and tricks on how to progress through the games and being able to receive the Club Nintendo magazine for free during a year.[17][18][19][20]

Criticism[edit]

Some criticism comes from the fact that the Nintendo of Europe Stars Catalogue is only available to members in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and later Portugal and Russia. Bergsala, which is responsible for all Nintendo-related distribution in Scandinavia, closed down Club Nintendo in the region at the end of the year 2006 because it was not economically viable to keep it going.[21] In 2014, the American Club Nintendo came under fire for offering only digital games for its Platinum and Gold members, who need to spend lots of money to get to that position. During the same timeframe, news sites have repeatedly pointed out that Nintendo of America's offerings are much smaller than that of Europe and Japan.[22]

References[edit]

External links[edit]