Nintendo have started upping their game recently in regards to digital downloads and the online space in general, however it looks like they are still missing a big part of the beauty of digitally downloaded software.
According to an email response from Nintendo the digital games you purchase via the 3DS are tied to the system and if your 3DS is stolen or is broken then the games you have downloaded are also gone for good.
Thank you for writing. I’ll be happy to answer your questions regarding virtual content on the Nintendo 3DS. All virtual content downloaded on the Nintendo 3DS is tied to the system itself. As our warranty doesn’t cover lost or stolen game cards and systems, if this were to happen regardless of your games being virtual or you owning the physical copies, they would not be covered for replacement.
If you happen to want to upgrade from your current Nintendo 3DS to a Nintendo 3DS XL, you will be able to perform a system transfer yourself. The system transfer requires both systems to be present and connected online. This is the only way to insure your content gets transferred over to your new system.
Please feel free to respond to this email if you have additional questions.
Nintendo of America Inc.
Now granted Nintendo would be worried about people simply logging onto their friends 3DS and downloading all their games there but my Xbox 360 was recently stolen and when I replaced it I simply signed in with my gamertag and re-downloaded the titles I wanted back.
It’s a misstep from Nintendo and one that is occurring simply because they don’t have a unified account system like the PlayStation or Xbox. Something which I expect to be rectified at E3 this year.