In the age of gaming that is becoming more digital oriented, this bit of news perhaps comes a bit obtuse from the Nintendo camp. As per a ruling, a European court has favored in Nintendo their right to refuse refunds on eShop pre-orders.
According to the Norwegian video game site, PressFire, Norwegian and German customers sued Nintendo for changing their practices. Hearing for the case took place before Christmas. As of this writing, the case has been taken to appeals. Nintendo has seen its share of lawsuits in recent years. A recent $10 million dollar case against the gaming company for pre-existing patents of the Wii remote from 2017, which the judge turned over. There was also the case of Nintendo winning a $12 million dollar lawsuit against emulation sites LoveROMS.com and LOVERetro for hosting pirated games, a decision and action that has still left the community split on their feelings of cracking down so heavily.
I don't feel that this is an outcome that will damage Nintendo, as they continue to ride the success of a successful Switch launch and a profitable 2019, it appears to be a decision that isn't too consumer friendly. Last year, prior to the release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, a consumer posted a Reddit thread wherein she accidentally pre-ordered a digital copy of the game when aiming for a physical copy and wasn't able to receive a refund. This is a stance that I think Nintendo can benefit from if they reconsider this exercise. As a digital pre-purchase isn't fulfilled until the release date of the product, the ethics are very questionable and archaic compared to Steam's refund policy. Or at least place a continued damper on the notion of preorders in the future.