Believe it or not, Nintendo is worse than MS when it comes to recovering downloaded games:
A) If you bought an in-store warranty and decide to use that warranty, you're screwed because your VC games will be gone with NO way to recover or transfer any of them.
B) If you decide to use Nintendo's "Fast Exchange" option to avoid weeks (or more) of waiting for a replacement console to be shipped to you by Nintendo, you're screwed because your VC games will be gone with NO way to recover or transfer any of them.
C) If you ever decide to buy a different console for any reason (Limited Edition console or different color console or upgraded console or whatever) you're screwed because your VC games will be gone with no way to recover or transfer any of them.
The only way you can keep your VC games on a different console is to send your broken console to Nintendo with a letter stating you want them to transfer the "license for all your VC games to your replacement console before shipping the console to you". Nintendo will then assign the license for your VC purchases to the new console and when you receive the console you can then re-download your games.
What's even worse is the fact that Nintendo does not openly advertise this policy (is buried within a long agreement page at the VC store) nor do stores make it known to customers when they pitch an extended warranty at purchase time.
I feel sorry for those people who purchased a 1 or 2 year in-store warranty for the Wii, made a bunch of VC purchases, then encountered a problem with their console. These people now face a choice: lose all the money they paid for VC games and exchange their console at the store or lose the money they paid for the warranty but keep their games by shipping their console to Nintendo.
Since learning of the policy that Nintendo implemented regarding VC purchases, I have purchased NO VC games, and that angers me because I bought the Wii for two purposes: Nintendo brand games (Zelda, Mario, etc) and VC games. MS and Sony at least have policies that enable you to recover your purchases on a different console but Nintendo is totally customer unfriendly when it comes to VC games.
I've written several letters to Nintendo informing them of my displeasure with their policy and that they have lost VC sales because of this policy, but all I ever received was a nice form letter/canned response.
(SIDE NOTE: sorry for the Nintendo rant in the Xbox forum but decided to do so since usage policies were being discussed in this thread)
Mendon, thanks for all that great info man. I'll keep that in mind.
But what i really need to know now is about 360. You see, I just bought one the other day at Best Buy along with an in store warranty and was wondering if my xbox dies, can I replace it at Bestbuy and retain all my downloads and saves that are on the harddrive, or should I cancel the warranty and just stick with MS's warranty so I can keep my games and saves?