Wii U May Introduce New Game Purchasing Method

Wii U May Introduce New Game Purchasing Method

Near-field communication could ease transactions

The disc is rapidly growing obsolete in the world of media consumption. We're buying more and more of our entertainment in its purely liquid form: the downloadable file. Ask any PC gamer the last time she bought a game on an actual CD-ROM and you'll more than likely get a raised eyebrow. The direct download works nicely with systems like Steam, but it's given other retailers some problems when their less secure networks become compromised. The PlayStation Network hacks, for example, were reason enough for plenty of gamers not to trust their console link to store their credit card information. But the only other real option, besides tediously entering in card numbers manually every time you want to make a purchase, is to go back to the ways of the disc. 

No one really wants to do that. If we wanted to go old-school, we'd go full-blown vintage with an N64 and its blocky cartridges. But what if there were a third option for companies who'd like to offer their customers direct download without forcing them to permanently store their financial info on their servers? The Wii U may have just the solution.

Nintendo says they might be introducing near-field communication technology to their latest console release. You know those little chips embedded in certain types of credit cards? The ones that let you avoid the whole magnetic strip business with a simple tap to the reader? The ones that make you look like a super spy gaining access to a secret vault with a stolen passkey? Yeah, you might be able to tap those to your console controller in a few years. 

If you don't have a PayPass card, don't worry--everyone might just have access to NFC technology pretty soon. NFC chips are already built into most Japanese cell phones, allowing consumers to pay for certain goods without even taking out their wallets. The idea of linking up your smartphone to your credit line is one that's already been catching on in the states, and future rounds of technology might just make the concept easier to carry out widely. 

That's an idea that's exciting beyond its capacity to improve game purchase transactions, but we'll focus on that aspect of it for now. If future controllers could read and transmit your credit card info without storing it on their network's servers, we could have a very cool and convenient method of buying our games in the future. That's big news for an industry that depends largely on impulse buys.