Nintendo To Use “Free-To-Play” To Gain Interest In New IP
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has made a rather interesting announcement, saying that the company will use the free-to-play model to introduce and gain interest in new IP, as these games need to earn the “trust” of consumers.
Iwata says that, while Nintendo’s leading platforms Wii U and 3DS afford the company flexibility with software monetization, Nintendo will only pursue free-to-play with franchises that aren’t established.
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“We are not planning to offer, for example, Mario or Pokémon games in a free-to-play format,” confirmed Iwata in a recent E3 analysis briefing.
“With games like Mario and Pokémon, we already have a sufficient degree of trust with our consumers who are willing to pay a certain sum of money to purchase our products as packaged software.
“On the other hand, what are we to do when we want to offer a completely new product whose value consumers are yet to understand? Consumers are not sure if it is worth outlaying a certain sum of money for such a product.
“In such circumstances, our current platforms (Nintendo 3DS and Wii U), which give us various monetization options that would not have been possible on past Nintendo platforms, enable us to make propositions in a free-to-play format,” he said.
As it stands right now, free-to-play games often get criticised for the way they enforce overly restrictive measures in order to force players into the microtransactions system, which can be quite expensive over time. Iwata instead stressed the importance of a model that doesn’t extort the player.
“On the other hand, free-to-play games, if unbalanced, could result in some consumers paying extremely large amounts of money, and we can certainly not expect to build a good relationship with our consumers in this fashion.,” said Iwata.
“In order to have a favorable long-term relationship, we would like to offer free-to-play games that are balanced and reasonable.”
In the same briefing, Iwata cited the lack of Wii U games this year on the necessity for software to be more polished and offer more value than before.