The rise of purely digital online game sales has changed the industry in a number of ways, but the most important change might be the introduction of games as impulse buys. Anyone with a credit card tied to their Steam account knows how scarily easy it is to, with just a few clicks, dump more money than you intended on a whole passel of games that seem vaguely intriguing. You might not have read any reviews, or even heard anything about the game outside of the Steam description, but when it's so cheap and the purchase process is so seamless, your consumptive id can often act before your conscious brain even has a chance to question whether you really want the game you're buying.

Digital stores on platforms from Sony, Microsoft, Apple, and Google have similar setups to encourage this kind of impulse purchase—enter your credit card once, then buy with a few clicks forevermore. Nintendo is the lone holdout, as it often is with online features, refusing to store credit card information for users with a Wii or 3DS. But that might change in the next console generation, with Nintendo President Satoru Iwata announcing today that the Wii U will use near-field communication technology "as a means of making micropayments."

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