How Nintendo Hopes Miiverse Will Make Money Without A Subscription Fee

By Ishaan . July 3, 2012 . 3:31pm

Nintendo’s Wii U will have a central hub that will serve as the system’s online service, called “Miiverse”. Last month, prior to E3, Nintendo demonstrated Miiverse and explained its many functions, including a messaging system, a social media network-like “Wall” of sorts where you can post screenshots and communicate with other players, and a system that recommends games to users.

 

Nintendo don’t plan to charge a subscription fee for Miiverse. At an investor Q&A, company president, Satoru Iwata, confirmed: “We cannot promise here that Nintendo will always provide you with online services free of charge no matter how deep the experiences are that it may provide, but at least we are not thinking of asking our consumers to pay money to just casually get access to our ordinary online services.”

 

Instead, Iwata feels that Miiverse will help bring in profits in a different manner—by recommending games to Wii U users, and hopefully increasing the number of Wii U games sold in this way. Iwata says that Miiverse could, for instance, increase a casual user’s interest in certain games to a point where, instead of only buying two games a year, he’s willing to try out three or four games a year, based on recommendations.

 

“In short, we expect that online services will contribute to our profits in the form of increasing the number of games to be sold for one platform,” Iwata says. “From an economic standpoint, with that as an objective, the company is considering the necessary and appropriate services.”

 

While Miiverse will initially only be available on the Wii U, Nintendo also have plans to make it available on the Nintendo 3DS.


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  • Nemesis_Dawn

    Seems to me like the most important part of the article is, “We cannot promise here that Nintendo will always provide you with online services free of charge no matter how deep the experiences are that it may provide.” That sounds very ominous. Like they’re taking the “get ‘em in free and then hose ‘em when they’re hooked” approach.

    • Paradox me

      That doesn’t really strike me as a business model that Nintendo would employ.

      It sounds more like they’re simply covering their butts in the event they’re unable to provide certain services for free. It’s not a bad idea to get that out there up front; the very last thing I’d ever do in this business is make promises (or let people assume).

      • Nemesis_Dawn

        I dunno. I think people have way too much faith in Nintendo, to be quite honest. I always think Yahtzee from The Escapist said it best when he said, “Nintendo is like a stripper, they don’t really like you, they just pretend to so you give them your money.”

        A PS+ thing would be what I would hope he’s talking about, but the wording…it’s just…as was said above, dodgy.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          I wonder what someone has to do in order to not have their words twisted and taken out of context nowadays. I mean, if one understands the English language, this part of his quote makes it clear what he’s saying:

          “…but at least we are not thinking of asking our consumers to pay money to just casually get access to our ordinary online services.”

          That would imply exactly what was inferred by other people in this thread–that they don’t plan to charge, but in the event that they do, it will be a PlayStation Plus-type of service.

          • Nemesis_Dawn

            I try not to be one of those people who argue with mods on their own sites, so I’m going to keep quiet on this thread after saying just one thing. The wording could still very much lend itself to my particular interpretation of what he could be saying. Take out “thinking of” and the statement is a lot stronger in favor of what people are saying. When one thinks, one can always change one’s mind.

            No further arguments from me on this.

  • SirRichard

    “We cannot promise here that Nintendo will always provide you with online services free of charge no matter how deep the experiences are that it may provide”

    That sounds really dodgy, doesn’t it? Maybe he’s talking about stuff like MMOs and worded it poorly, or something like PS+ and again worded it poorly. I would hope they’re not considering following Microsoft’s example, however successful it is.

    Also I daresay he’s very optimistic about the effects users interacting can have. Sure, it might lead to more sales and exposure for smaller, lesser-known but deserving games, but will they actually act on it, or will casual players just file it away and go back to Wii Sports and Mario?

    • Herok♞

       It probably will be something like ps+ or maybe after wiiu is off the market we would have to pay for online.

    • isfuturebright

      I think they’ll follow PSN steps which I think is good. You can do anything there without paying but if you pay you get games cheaper and other goodies wich is something hardcore want :)

  • http://twitter.com/VXLbeast VXLbeast

    Certainly makes sense.  It’s kind of my same line of thinking with making PS3 users able to see Vita users online.  That way my PS3 friends will say, “What is Gravity Rush?”  And I will say, “It is awesome!  But it is only the Vita.”  Free advertisement, really.  

  • keithmaxx

    We seem to be missing an important point here: Iwata mentioned this at an /Investor’s/ meeting, so he can’t exactly dictate plans that say something investors won’t be pleased about (i.e. we have no plans making money out of this somehow). That said, it does not always translate to cashing anything out of the consumer, hence his rather safe statement.

    For now, I’m grateful that this Miiverse is a free-to-use service, and I surely won’t have any rants about opening a PSN-like marketplace of sorts!

  • revenent hell

    uhm well I for one never got that in to the whole Mii thing to begin with so this aspect is kind of a reundant thing for me I guess? But I think for the rest its either a good hope or a bad hope,while it implies money wont be needed to be spent on it it also implies in the future who knows if this will be the case….Ah arent 50/50 cenarioes lovely?

  • komiko12

    Word of Mouth is still one of the great advertising strategies.

  • Ferofax

    Nintendo should totally aim for a “social networking” experience here. It doesn’t have to be like Facebook, but if they can get it to feel as natural and as conducive to social activities, then I’d say it should catch on fire.

    Also, they have to make sure to be able to provide “portals” for other platforms — apps that let you access Miiverse content from smartphones, PCs, 3DS, etc. people who own an iPhone tries it and sees it as fun could eventually be converted into an actual WiiU owner.

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