Piranha Plant, Smash Bros. Ultimate’s first new DLC fighter, went live last night as part of the game’s 2.0 update, but Nintendo’s unusual way of providing fans access to the character has left some players frustrated and plantless.
Piranha Plant is free for anyone who buys Smash Bros. Ultimate before January 31, but the character doesn’t automatically appear in the Switch game. Users need to redeem a code sent to them by Nintendo. If they purchased the game digitally Nintendo is supposed to have automatically emailed a code shortly after purchase. Anyone who bought a physical edition needed to register the game manually with the My Nintendo Rewards program and then wait for Nintendo to send them an email with a code. Some players say they still haven’t gotten those emails though, while others have reported that even after redeeming the code the new character still wasn’t available.
Currently, the Nintendo Support Forum for North America is flooded with dozens of posts from people claiming to have these sorts of problems. “Another Person with no Plant Email,” reads one of them. “Just making it known that there’s more people with the problem of no emails with the plant, yes I checked promotions and spam,” the player wrote. “Piranha Plant won’t show up even though I’ve updated to 2.0.0 and have redeemed my code,” wrote another. Some eventually found the emailed codes hiding in their promotions or spam folders, but others are still waiting.
It’s hard to tell how widespread the issue is. While there are dozens of complaints, Smash Ultimate has sold millions of copies. It’s also hard to tell how many of the complaints are a product of Nintendo’s odd approach to offering the character and its caveat that the wait to get it after registering might be really long.
In some cases customer support reps have referred people to Nintendo’s Piranha Plant DLC FAQ page. There it says that codes can take up to 10 business days to arrive from the date the game is registered. Regardless, there were some complaints prior to today of people not receiving any email even after the 10 days was up.
At Kotaku, three of us have received codes but all at a different pace. One of us bought the game digitally on December 5 and received the Piranha Plant code e-mail two days later. Two others had physical copies that they didn’t register until this week. One got their code the same day, the other got it after a three day wait. It’s unusual in general that there would be any wait time involved in getting access to an early-adopter bonus like Piranha Plant, let alone a period of up to 10 days that varies from player to player.
Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Piranha Plant doesn’t radically transform the game, but it is still a new character for Smash. Players are understandable anxious to try it out. The game’s five other DLC fighters will be $5 each and are scheduled to arrive in the game in the coming months, beginning with Persona 5’s Joker.
[Update - 2/4/2019]: Nintendo sent Kotaku the following statement regarding reports by some players of delays in getting their download codes for Piranha Plant emailed to them:
“We are aware that some users are posting about possible issues with the latest Super Smash Bros. Ultimate update. After extensive testing, Nintendo has not been able to confirm that there is an issue, although we will continue to investigate and monitor the situation.”