With the advent of the Switch, Nintendo is finally altering its system for digital purchases making it so software will be tied to one's account rather than console.
Under the current system, all games are only linked to one's specific piece of hardware. So if your Wii U or 3DS is lost, broken or stolen, you'll have to actually phone Nintendo and beg them to let you reclaim any games on a replacement platform - and even then you'll need to provide serial numbers for Nintendo to issue a transfer.
"Your Nintendo Account contains your Nintendo eShop purchase history and current balance. By re-linking your Nintendo Account after initializing the console, it will be possible to redownload any software or DLC purchased using that account. (Software that has been discontinued may not be available to redownload in some cases.)"
So there you have it: Nintendo is finally joining the modern age of digital licenses! That's a switch I can get behind.