Rumor: Pre-Owned Wii U Consoles Can Download Prior User’s Games

Unconfirmed reports claim that pre-owned Wii U consoles are still able to redownload any software that was purchased by the prior owners, even after the system has been wiped and loaded with new Nintendo Network user accounts.

NeoGAF user DSN2K made the discovery yesterday after buying a pre-owned Wii U and setting up a new account over Nintendo’s network. He then took to the NeoGAF forums and made the following post:

“Whoever owned the console before me purchased multiple games, meaning all the games he purchased are available to redownload for free….This is with a new account btw I setup as well. Games are clearly linked to Console itself.”

“Advice to those buying a second hand WiiU’s…check all the games on the Store…you might be in for some “free” games!”

Several other GAF users replied with their own reports of “free” pre-owned digital games, indicating that it was not an isolated incident.

Assuming the reports are correct, the situation with the pre-owned Wii U systems hints that Nintendo has decided to tie digital purchases to the actual hardware instead of to the user account that made the purchase. Backing up this theory is the fact that all the accounts on a single console can access the same digital purchases, and users have to send their hardware to Nintendo in order to transfer a Nintendo Network ID (and any digitally purchased games) between two systems.

It is also worth noting that this is the exact same system that Nintendo employed for the Wii’s digital content, with the only difference being the Wii U uses a Nintendo Network ID instead of (un)Friend(ly) Codes.

The ironic part of this is that the whole system seems to have been set up in an effort to prevent users from handing out free copies of their digital purchases, and now that exact situation has happened as a result of Nintendo’s own preventative measures.

The morale of the story, consider buying a pre-owned Wii U instead of a new one.