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Nintendo Told by German Court to Allow Digital Refunds up to Launch

Nintendo Told by German Court to Allow Digital Refunds up to Launch - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 07 December 2021 / 1,265 Views

Right now Nintendo Switch owners who pre-order games via the eShop are only allowed to cancel the pre-order if the game is a week or more away from launch. 

A German court via the Norway’s Consumer Rights Council and the German Consumer Protection Authority VZBV website has told Nintendo to allow people to refund pre-orders right up until it launches. 

The VZBV previously took Nintendo to court saying Nintendo violated consumers laws, however, a judge at Frankfurt regional court overturned the decision saying Nintendo's policy was legal.

The German court has now overturned the judges decision. The judge pointed out the European Union's law on the 14 day right of withdrawal didn't apply to video games, while Nintendo argued some of its games can be pre-loaded onto the Switch and is then activated on release. The VZBV said that even if a can be pre-loaded it isn't activated until the game has officially launched.

"Nintendo had offered video games for download in its e-shop even before the official release date," reads the VZGV website. "The download usually comprised a software 'pre-load' of the game as well as a symbol that was then displayed on the game console. The game was only activated by an update on the official launch date. Such online purchases can usually be canceled within 14 days without giving a reason. 

"Nintendo had excluded the right of withdrawal and invoked a statutory exception. The prerequisites for the expiry of the right of withdrawal did not exist, however, as the download made available after the pre-order did not contain any usable game. Until the release date, the game is worthless for the buyer and the Nintendo contract has not been fulfilled in any way."

With the judges in agreement, Nintendo has been ordered to change its policies. This has now been done on the eShop in Germany and Norway. It isn't known if the change will be made in other places yet.

Thanks, VideoGamesChronicle.


A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel dedicated to gaming Let's Plays and tutorials. You can contact the author at wdangelo@vgchartz.com or on Twitter @TrunksWD.


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15 Comments
Darwinianevolution (on 07 December 2021)

Nice to hear. I hope this becomes widespread worldwide, Nintendo's digital store gets away with too much.

  • +12
VAMatt Darwinianevolution (on 09 December 2021)

Nintendo in general gets away with too much. Way too much. Nobody soaks their fans like Nintendo. I say this is a Nintendo fan myself, though I have vowed never to re-buy a Nintendo game that I have purchased in the past.

  • 0
TheTitaniumNub (on 07 December 2021)

This warms my heart. One less way for Nintendo to squeeze every penny out of their fans.

  • +11
CaptainExplosion (on 07 December 2021)

Now if only courts in other countries told Nintendo the same thing.

  • +10
gtotheunit91 (on 07 December 2021)

Good! Nintendo needs to take a few losses from time to time.

  • +10
Radek (on 07 December 2021)

If Germany did this then pretty sure all of EU should follow as eShop is registered in Germany?

  • +5
Poliwrathlord (on 07 December 2021)

That's good. Steam's refund policy should be the minimum for all digital store fronts.

  • +4
Kakadu18 Poliwrathlord (on 07 December 2021)

How does Steam's refund policy work?

  • 0
Poliwrathlord Kakadu18 (on 07 December 2021)

You can cancel pre-orders at any time. For game purchases after release you can refund it if you have played it less than 2 hours and it has been less than 2 weeks from when you bought it.
For me the ideal would be 5 hours and two weeks.

  • +4
Kakadu18 Poliwrathlord (on 07 December 2021)

That is basically how it should be everywhere.

  • 0
TheBraveGallade Poliwrathlord (on 07 December 2021)

the thing is, I'd say that... exept that some games are shorter then others.

  • +1
VAMatt (on 09 December 2021)

Nobody should be pre-ordering games anymore. If you do so, you are encouraging publishers to release unfinished games. Always wait for reviews at the very least, preferably wait until the game has officially launched. Then, and only then, assuming that reviews indicate that the game is in a finished state, should you purchase the game.

  • +3
siebensus4 (on 07 December 2021)

I don't get it why people pre-order games on the e-shop anyway. You can buy, download and start playing the game within 10 minutes. There's really no need to pre-order digital games, except some rare pre-order discounts.

  • +1
Kakadu18 siebensus4 (on 07 December 2021)

You can download it before hand. Also excitement and hype when it comes to irrational reasonings.

  • +3
Mr Puggsly siebensus4 (on 08 December 2021)

Agreed, people shouldn't pre order. Especially in this era of everything launching buggy. If the reviews are good and the incentives are interesting, then perhaps. Otherwise just don't do it.

  • +5