Nintendo has announced its intention to increase its stake in digital distribution, by making the majority of future 3DS and Wii U first party titles available for digital download as well as retail disk versions.
The Japanese gaming firm may need to tweak its strategy however, as it's so far said that games will be locked to devices, not accounts. This makes it impossible for family members to share a game amongst themselves, or friends to trade them about. This isn't exactly a popular activity among developers, but they fail to realise the great marketing that people lending or sharing games can achieve.
When discussing the digital download of Nintendo games, president Satoru Iwata said: "[the games] will be stored in the consumer's SD memory card and be playable only with the hardware to which it was downloaded so that, unlike how you can share the packaged software which are stored in game card format, the consumer cannot share the software with other Nintendo 3DS systems owned by other members of the family or friends."
This is a problem that any digital distribution platform must figure out. Does it link games to devices, or accounts? Steam, Xbox Live, Sony's Entertainment Network and Apple's iTunes all work on an account basis.
Making it all the stranger than Nintendo chose to go the opposite way.