Buyer beware: Nintendo nukes $400 worth of downloaded content during DRM-fail migration to Wii U

On Ars Technica, Kyle Orland writes about his experiences trying to migrate his downloaded games from his old Wii to his new Wii U. This could be as straightforward as doing a local network transfer, or moving them around on SD cards. But Nintendo conceived of an insanely complex, slow, and ultimately nonfunctional DRM system for "securely" transferring games, and the result was to take away Orland's purchases. Because, you know, piracy.

The larger issue remains: the fate of dozens of Virtual Console games I've purchased for my Wii over the years hangs in the balance. The collection is worth about $400 by my estimates. Most of these games are backed up on that same SD card (since they wouldn't all fit on the Wii system memory), but Nintendo's copy protection ties their license data exclusively to the Wii system on which they were originally downloaded. The Wii Transfer Tool would move this license data for me, if it worked. As it stands, the games stay jailed on antiquated hardware.

If I want to re-download my purchases to the Wii U, there's no way for me to confirm to the new system that I am, in fact, the person who purchased all these games. My Wii Shop account data is also tied to the Wii on which it was set up. (Naturally, shifting it to the Wii U requires the Wii Transfer Tool.) The 300 Wii Shop Points (worth only $3) I had left over are a small casualty of this situation, but I'm suddenly glad I didn't keep a larger virtual currency balance. Any Miis I created or stored on the Wii are also trapped if the Wii Transfer Tool won't ultimately work, but I can't say I'm too broken up about that.

I asked the Nintendo support representative whether there was any way to just transfer my license and account data from the Wii to the Wii U. This could prove to the system that I am me, without having to use the non-responsive Transfer Tool. The short answer? No.

How Nintendo DRM trapped $400 of downloaded games on my failing Wii