December 2014

I decided to buy a Nintendo 3DS XL off of eBay, and found one with hard copies of games, and Ocarina of Time 3D installed onto the device, so when it arrived at first I was super happy as I had these games, but soon realized that I wanted to make the 3DS my own, by factory resetting it so I can create my own profile and change the settings to my choosing. However, I was told that by doing this it will delete the system installed games, as a game is linked with the previous owner's account or something. So long story short, I want to know if there is a way to keep these games after a factory reset. If there isn't a way then I wasted money on a game that I can't even keep.

Update - January 2015

I decided to perform a factory reset on my 3DS as I wanted a new NNID more than I wanted the downloaded games. I removed the SD card and began the process. After I did this I fully expected for the titles to no longer be on my 3DS. So I set it up, and they weren't there. No surprise there. But, I made an account on e-shop, and decided to check on the re-downloadable software thing, just in case the games happened to be there. AND THEY WERE! I downloaded them and they work perfectly fine! I have no idea how this happened! So so shocked, but happy. Can anyone explain why this happened? As the games should have been linked to the previous owner's NNID, so how did I get them back when I made my own NNID on a factory reset console?

1 Answer 1


According to Nintendo Support:

A Nintendo Network ID is required to download game demos and other free software.

Once deleted, Nintendo eShop purchases can be redownloaded at no cost. Downloaded items appear as a gift on the HOME Menu. Once they have fully downloaded, you can tap them to access the software.

What to Do:

  1. From the HOME Menu, select the Nintendo eShop icon and tap "Open."
  2. Scroll left and select "Settings / Other."
  3. Scroll down and select "Redownloadable Software."
  4. Select "Redownload" next to the software you wish to redownload.
  5. Select "Download."
  6. Select "Download Later" or "Download Now." Items downloaded now will begin immediately. Items downloaded later will begin when the system enters sleep mode.

TL;DR: You need the original Nintendo Network ID to redownload the previously downloaded softwares after a console format.

You can transfer data between two consoles before a console format, but that will transfer the Nintendo Network ID account, too. You cannot transfer data on a console with another Nintendo Network account.

You cannot perform a system transfer if the target system has a Nintendo Network ID linked. You must format the target system to remove the Nintendo Network ID link prior to transferring content.

  • Ok that helped thank you :). One thing though... My brother does have a DS as well (2DS), but it already has his games, accounts etc on it... If I need to do a system transfer to play these games on my device, would I need to transfer it onto an empty device? Or could I simply transfer it to my brothers already in use 2DS? I don't want to mess up his profile and console is all :)
    – Stebon95
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 1:15
  • Nintendo Support also says: "Deleting a NNID will also delete any purchases or digital content that is associated to that account. Nintendo 3DS family systems can only support one NNID at a time. However, you can format the system to deactivate the current NNID and create a new one. (The existing account and purchases will not be deleted, and can still be re-linked to the same system in the future.)" Maybe you still have a chance.
    – pinckerman
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 1:18
  • You can only transfer data on a console without any NNID linked, so if the 2DS already has an account linked you won't be able to transfer any data without deactivating it.
    – pinckerman
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 1:24
  • Ok, so say the 2DS doesn't have an NNID, and I do the system transfer from my 3DS, to his 2DS, in order for me to get ocarina of time re-downloaded onto MY 3DS, will I need the previous owners username and password for his NNID to access the game download? As I have no idea what his password will be, and I imagine he won't be keen giving it away either... Also, will this persons NNID be attached to my brothers 2DS after the system transfer? (Sorry about all the questions this is all new to me!!)
    – Stebon95
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 1:39
  • Yes, if you do a console transfer I'm pretty sure you'll transfer the NNID account. But you'll transfer the entire game, too, so you won't need to re-download it again. You need NNID access data only if you want to format the console and re-download the game.
    – pinckerman
    Commented Jan 3, 2015 at 1:46

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