Nintendo has said some words when it comes to free-to-play games. Iwata seems to think that mobile games and the free-to-play movement are directly hurting hardware sales for Nintendo. The question I want to know is : Why doesn’t Nintendo join in on the free-to-play movement?
“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,” Iwata said during last week’s Q&A with investors.
Think about it for a second. Nintendo is the only console Manufacturer that does not currently supoort the free-to-play model. Nintendo is also the only console Manufacturer that is struggling to move units. Coincidence? Sure, the 3DS is doing phenomenal, but Nintendo needs their home console to be successful in order to survive this console generation. This article isn’t intended to be a “Nintendo is Dying”, “No Hope for Nintendo this Generation”, type of article. I would really like for you, the reader, to think about this for a second. Would the Wii U and 3DS sell more units if they had quality free-to-play titles?
“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,” he added. “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.”
Nintendo already does an amazing job at creating first party exclusives, there is no denying that. But, imagine if they could somehow offer that same quality of game for free. Of course the obvious question would then be -How would Nintendo monetize content for a free-to-play game? As gamer’s we don’t want to see Nintendo go the EA route when it comes to paid content. This may be the hardest part for Nintendo to decide when considering free-to-play. Would they offer paid Kart skins in a free-to-play Mario Kart? How about new character skins for a Smash Bros game? Something that adds to the game, but doesn’t feel like it was left out intentionally would be key. On the other hand, Nintendo could create a new IP that is strictly free-to-play. This would give Nintendo fans a new IP to play and support if they choose to, without hurting Nintendo’s current line of first party IP’s. What do you guys think? Should Nintendo consider the free-to-play market?