One of the bits of news most eagerly received by the Nintendo faithful last month was the announcement that Club Nintendo is coming to America.
Club Nintendo is a consumer rewards program that Nintendo already runs in Japan and Europe. In Japan it gets Nintendo fans free DS games and Nintendo-themed trinkets. The only thing that had been announced for the American version was that the program would be launching this holiday season.
While interviewing Nintendo executive vice president of sales and marketing, Cammie Dunaway, in New York yesterday, I asked for more details. Besides telling me that the program would be more like the Japanese version that the European, she walked me through how it’s going to work:
“It’s weighted more toward physical goods.”
“When you purchase a Nintendo product, you go on and you say that you’ve purchased a Nintendo product, you get points for that,” Dunaway said. “You also get points for filling out surveys to talk about your experience with the product. You actually get points before you purchase, if you indicate an interest in purchasing… So it really helps us to gauge marketplace demand. As you collect points — these are actually gold coins — you’re able to trade them in for real merchandise.”
The merchandise plans are being figured out in Nintendo’s New York office. Dunaway wouldn’t tell me what some of the freebies are going to be but did say that the program would be similar to the Japanese one. “It’s weighted more toward physical goods: more like the Japanese program than the European which is pretty much digital.” She described the offerings as a mix of items that were sold in Japan and some that will be new for the North American market.
And when’s the New York team going to be ready for this program to launch? “We will launch before the end of the holiday…They are working 24-7 to get this thing done.”
U.S. Nintendo fans, what kind of items are you hoping for?
(Bonus fact: It looks like you could still get a job in Club Nintendo!)