Nintendo says that it will replace lost Wii Speak codes, but what about the secondhand market?
According to gameindustry.biz, Nintendo will not only reissue codes to consumers who lost the original number, but for those who replaced the Wii console since activating the add-on microphone. As reported earlier, the Wii Speak microphone comes with a code that will unlock the Wii Speak Channel, a requirement for voice-enabled games, social parties and Nintendo’s future Community plans.
"Nintendo can confirm that when consumers purchase the Wii Speak accessory, they are provided with a Wii Download Ticket with a unique number. The ticket, which can be redeemed via the Wii Shop Channel, will enable the user to download the Wii Speak Channel free of charge to a single Wii console," the company said in a recent statement. "Any consumer who may have misplaced their Wii Download Ticket number for the Wii Speak Channel or require a new number following a Wii exchange may contact their local Nintendo Customer Services department, where they can request a replacement Wii Download Ticket number."
A few weeks ago, Tom’s Guide reported that Nintendo originally planned to allow one activation for the Wii Speak device, locking the consumer to the device for all eternity. Thus the Wii Speak peripheral could not be sold used... ever. "A Nintendo rep further clarified to me that the channel won’t be able to be downloaded through any other means," wrote MTV Multiplayer’s Stephen Totilo. "You won’t be able to get it off the Wii Shopping Channel manually, nor would you be able to buy it. Essentially, the Wii Speak Channel will be available to new purchasers of the Wii Speak mic and that’s it."
This move seemed like a conspiracy theory to many consumers, a bold step on Nintendo’s part towards addressing the secondary market, and the money the company never gets to bank. By locking hardware to consumers, 3rd-party retail outlets like EB Games and local used game stores would not make additional revenue from used hardware sales. While piracy is a big issue for publishers and developers, the secondary "used games" market also takes its toll on both parties. Some developers are considering leaving game endings off discs altogether, turning the last portion into purchasable, downloadable content to that said parties can churn out a few bucks from those we only rent and purchase games used.
But with the one-time activation code accompanying Nintendo’s Wii Speak peripheral, the company discovered that consumers were not amused, and rightfully so. Thus, Nintendo is now offering replacement codes. But what of the used game market? Will the Wii microphones find their way into used-peripheral racks? Nintendo did not comment on that aspect, but it’s safe to assume that consumers will need to purchase the microphones new in order to enjoy all the benefits that come with Wii Speak. Don’t be surprised if Nintendo devises a plan to sell activation codes to those who actually do manage to buy the Wii microphone used.