The trend of moving toward a completely digital distribution system for games is already beginning to snowball, and it only gains momentum as it rolls down the hill. Nintendo, however, doesn’t feel the need to lower prices as a result.
When speaking to investors, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata explains Nintendo’s rationale of not offering digital versions of its games at a lower price point: “Under these market conditions, although the mainstream idea regarding the digital business in the industry before we actually started selling software in both digital and packaged formats last year was that the digital version should or must be priced lower than its packaged counterpart, we decided that, since the contents are the same, the company would offer the software at the same price, be it the packaged version or the digital version. This is because we want consumers to value software as highly as possible and because we have been trying to heighten the value of our software whenever we produce it.”
Personally, I can see both sides of the argument. Many PC titles are typically cheaper than their console counterparts as a result of the port being less involved, thus allowing developers to offer it a bit cheaper. However, discounting a game like Mario would suggest that the price point has as much to do with the value of the box or disc rather than the game design itself (which just isn’t the case).
Iwata also goes on to say that gamers should expect Nintendo to offer the same level of great game quality, no matter if you choose the digital route or to purchase the boxed version.
Source: Nintendo Q&A