Nintendo’s Dirty Little DSiWare Secret


If you currently own a DSi, have purchased a lot of DSiWare apps and are thinking about upgrading to the husky new DSi XL, you may want to think twice. Numerous sites have confirmed (or reconfirmed, I should say) that all previously purchased DSiWare content is “tethered” to the original system it was downloaded on and can never be transferred to another system. That means if you decide to change systems or your DSi dies and you have to buy a new one, you’ll have to re-buy all your software too.

Wha? How incredibly lame is that!?

OK, so this isn’t exactly a secret since Nintendo apparently already confirmed this method of DRM last year. But, to my knowledge, it’s not something that’s been heavily reported and therefore you may not have heard about it before (maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention, but I didn’t know about this until now myself). So in light of the DSi XL’s launch on Sunday, this limitation has bubbled up as one of many reasons the device has been widely deemed undesirable, at least for anyone who already owns a DS or DSi.

Knowing this now, I’m glad I stuck with my DS Lite and resisted the urge to upgrade to the DSi. I would never buy DSiWare content with this DRM system in place, because DRM like this takes away personal ownership of purchased software. On other platforms, digitally downloaded content is tied to the user, not the system. That way if you ever upgrade to a newer model or replace a broken system, all previously purchased content can be easily re-downloaded at no additional cost. Why Nintendo decided to take a different approach with DSiWare is beyond me. I just know that I don’t like it.

Any DSi owners out there? Had you heard about this DSiWare DRM before? What do you think about all this?

No DSiWare transfers to DSi XL [GameSpot]

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!