What Nintendo Thinks of the 'Free-to-Play' Space

February 3, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

One of the things that might have been missed in Nintendo's investor briefing last week (as Kotaku points out) is the fact that the company is really down on the idea of free-to-play and micro-transactions.

According to the quote dug up by Kotaku Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has no intention of getting involved in that space anytime soon and it thinks that the business model damages the hardware side of the industry in some ways. From the investor briefing:

However, it has been 30 years since Nintendo started its business of dedicated video game systems, and if I want to maintain that size for the next 10, 20 or 30 years, leading a software-only business would only put us at a big disadvantage, which is another reason why we insist on our integrated hardware-software model. On the other hand, the integrated hardware-software model has a significant handicap today, as the traditional way of explicitly telling consumers the investment they need to put in to buy hardware and software now comes across as being relatively more expensive due to changes in our environment.

Although people may actually be spending more money (to play games on other devices not dedicated to video games), it is less visible, so the hurdle we have to clear in order to encourage them to purchase dedicated game systems has comparatively become higher. As with games that are free-to-play, or "free-to-start" as we like to call it, there is a tendency within the entertainment industry to make gaming as easy as possible to start playing. Because our hardware and software are integrated, we first need consumers to purchase our hardware to get our business off the ground, a challenge I outlined when I talked about changing the way we sell our products. Our mid-term goal would be to give an answer to this question in a way that had never been seen before.

I do not think that hardware-software integration is equivalent to making people smile, and I do not intend to say that making games on smart devices will not lead to putting smiles on people's faces. There are games on smart devices that are indeed making consumers smile, I think.

However, only two years ago, many people urged Nintendo to follow other companies into what was then a very lucrative area, but no one says so any longer. In a similar vein, those who now claim that we should make games for smart devices might or might not be saying so in three years. It is our determination for our mid-term future to make efforts to devise our own solutions different from others.

Source: Kotaku


Comments

Re: What Nintendo Thinks of the 'Free-to-Play' Space

I am actually rather impressed by this statement given the rather strong language we often see coming out of industry figures.  Measured, reserved, long term thinking, and respectful.

Re: What Nintendo Thinks of the 'Free-to-Play' Space

I love the term they used "Free-To-Start" it's a great way to describe many of the titles out there on the mobile market.

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