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This weekend, Nintendo unleashed New Super Mario Bros. 2 on its online store, the 3DS eShop, and Japanese retailers. The sequel to the popular DS platformer New Super Mario Bros. marks the first time that Nintendo has released a major title as a physical copy and a digital download simultaneously. The Kyoto-based publisher struggled to keep up with demand as the eShop’s servers experienced intermittent outages over the game’s first few hours of availability.
According to the Japan-focused blog Andriasang, Nintendo quickly updated its website with information about the eShop’s stability issues. The company has since ironed out the difficulties, and fans in the Land of the Rising Sun should no longer have any problems getting their hands on the famous plumber’s latest game.
To gamers, straining a server to the breaking point is not an unfamiliar phenomenon. Nearly every major online game suffers from some initial growing pains in its first few days, although that isn’t exactly what’s happening in this case. Nintendo’s struggles have little to do with hosting servers for an Internet-heavy multiplayer game. The gaming company can’t handle a crowd of people who just want to buy something in its online store. Other publishers’ digital-distribution outlets, like Microsoft’s Xbox Live, solved this issue a long time ago.
If Nintendo can’t sell a 3DS game without overburdening its infrastructure, then what hope does it have of supporting an entire online-gaming network?
Of course, this could be a good sign for the publisher. It’s possible that New Super Mario Bros. 2 simply sold extremely well and is proof that 3DS owners are ready to spend a lot more money on the eShop. Even Valve’s Steam service limps through parts of its busy summer sale.
We’ve contacted Nintendo for comment on the success of its first fully featured digital-download title. We’ll update with any new information.