For years now, since the dawn of the DS / Wii, Nintendo players have been able to register their purchases for virtual coins (or stars, depending on the region) that can be traded in for fun prizes like digital games, t-shirts, and other rewards. There’s also been some criticism over the program, especially over the past year, in regard to how slowly the rewards catalogue is to update (and the disappearance of physical rewards in North America).
Nintendo has now confirmed that the service will be discontinued this year and an alternate loyalty program will be started later this year.
The timeline for shutdown has also been announced, so you do have time to use your coins—but don’t rush in and do it just yet, because there will be expanded reward catalogues posted very soon.
In North America, you’ll be able to earn new coins until the end of March, at which point no new accounts can be created. Coins can be redeemed until the end of June. As a thank-you to Club Nintendo members, the long-delayed Flipnote Studio 3D will be given to Club Nintendo members for free (coming to North American accounts in Feburary).
It seems like a very sudden announcement, but it’s also a relief to know that there will be a new program coming to replace it. Hopefully the new system is more user-friendly and won’t require lengthy surveys—and in truth, Nintendo has been tossing around the idea of a revamp for at least a year now.
At the time of writing, Club Nintendo’s North American site was down for an upgrade, so hang onto those coins—perhaps they’re updating the catalogue at this very moment.