Nintendo To Avoid Releasing DLC For Every Game, Says Iwata

By Ishaan . October 29, 2012 . 8:50am

As reported in September, Nintendo have seen great success with the sales of downloadable content for Fire Emblem: Awakening on the Nintendo 3DS. Accumulated Fire Emblem DLC sales (as of September) brought in revenue of about 380 million yen (about $4.8 million) for Nintendo in Japan alone.


With profits like those to be had from add-on content, it isn’t surprising that Nintendo president, Satoru Iwata, was asked about the company’s stance on DLC and what kind of role it will play in terms of profits over the next year and beyond at a recent investor Q&A.


“As we have already seen such results as the ones yielded by the Fire Emblem title, we will see more downloadable content and add-on content from now on,” Iwata said. “However, we do not intend to make downloadable or add-on content available for every type of game. We would like to supply consumers with only add-on or downloadable content which they are happy to pay for as compensation for creative work.”


Iwata goes on to confirm that, for example, Nintendo will not be releasing paid DLC for the upcoming Animal Crossing: New Leaf on Nintendo 3DS, as they want to avoid a situation where the game turns into one that you enjoy more “by the power of money”. However, he pointed out, Nintendo are releasing downloadable content for New Super Mario Bros. 2, a game where they feel it is more appropriate to do so, and are seeing a good response from consumers.


“In short, we would like to find the type of add-on content consumers will find enjoyable in each game,” Iwata concluded. “We intend to basically create add-on content with which we will be able to make long-term relationships with our consumers.”

  • SirRichard

    They’re taking a really cautious approach to DLC, and I quite like it. Anyone else wouldn’t bat an eye at dropping a mountain of priced clothing and furniture DLC on people in Animal Crossing, for instance, so intentionally drawing that line themselves is an encouraging move.

    I’m curious to see how they’ll use DLC for games like Zelda and Pokémon, if at all. Like, there’s the obvious “event Pokémon are now DLC” that would be very nice indeed, but would they add new dungeons to a Zelda game? Or new regions to Metroid?

    • AuraGuyChris

      I’m guessing that event-only Pokemon should remain free for when they put those dates to get them, and after that date passes have them still available but now with a really low price tag to activate them whenever you want.

      It’s really infuriating to miss out on those events.

    • Smash Bros. 4 is the big one to watch in my mind, hahaha. That’s going to be really interesting to see when it comes out.

      • SirRichard

        I almost feel sorry for them now, you just know they’ll be hounded for DLC of anything not in the game. And any DLC they do release will just be used as fuel for “ADD GENO IN AS DLC”, god help them.

    • Xmas Lopez

      Event pokemon have always been free. It’s just that they’re available for a limited time and/or a event (i.e. tournaments)

      • SirRichard

        My point was more about event Pokémon just being DLC in general for user convenience, I probably shouldn’t have specified free.

  • XYZ_JolteonZ980

    I guess Im confused, it doesnt make sense, in 2012 and beyond, to have a game lacking DLC/Add-On Content. Perhaps he is meaning to say, they will gauge each title respectively and decide if the DLC provided for it will be for cost or not for cost? Instead of saying, not every game will have dlc.

    Add on content is important in the context of the gaming community today to continue to make games something you come back to play days, weeks, and months after release. They add additional trinkets to decorate characters with to make playing through a game again a more fun experience. For others additional levels, and modes, and etc continue to keep it fresh both in single player games as well as multiplayer. If he is truly saying that not every game is going to have DLC then Im potentially afraid at what games will just be released in a barebones version with no additional support.

    • This reply scares me, if this is the mentality of modern gamers, I fear for the future of gaming.

      Your views are very valid, and respectable, but I strongly disagree with them. Calling a game barebones because it lacks DLC is something that doesn’t sit right with me, sorry.

      • keithmaxx

        There will always be people, sadly, who are unhappy that either the DLC is not in the full game or there are no DLC for the game itself. Is it any surprise, then, that publishers are nowadays tending to make paid DLC to make profit instead.

        I’d say kudos to Iwata-shacho for keeping a balanced take on DLC.

    • Spirit Macardi

      You know, the way the game industry used to make games that you’d want to play days, weeks, and months after release was by making a game that’s fun to play.

      • $30632660

        I miss those days of being able to buy games day 1 with no worrying about missing content or content created after the fact of the final product being released.

        I don’t see how people who buy dlc won’t still trade in their games.It’s still gonna happen and even if the used copy rates slow down a bit, there are still people like me who will wait for a price drop.

        • Barrylocke89

          But sometimes a developer might have came up with ideas for content after the game came out. Before DLC was popular, most of the time this content would never see the light of day unless the game is greenlit for a sequel, or it’s one of those rare games that had Mission Packs. DLC helps to keep new ideas for older characters going.

      • puchinri

        This is kind of my problem. A game shouldn’t need DLC. . . it works for some games, but I don’t feel it should be something that would be necessary or a benefit later. I can see the bonuses for having it now, but I also feel like that’s mostly because of how the industry has shifted. (Well, what I’m saying either way is; I agree with you.)

    • komiko12


      They can use free DLC to attract buyers!
      It is a good incentive for players to keep playing the game.

    • I believe the distinction he’s making here also extends to paid versus free DLC. Animal Crossing will most certainly have loads of add-on content, judging by the last game, but it will be free DLC.

      DLC has uses beyond just additional revenue. It has indirect benefits as well. For example, a steady stream of content (whether paid or free) makes more and more people want to buy your game, as they start to see that they’ll get get a lot out of the game in question.

      Another benefit it has is that it prevents people from trading in their copy, and helps keep used copies off the market.

      • Barrylocke89

        DLC seems like a great way to extend the life of a game that has a heavy online component as well. Less people may be interested in playing a game with an online component if they purchase the game after everyone has uncovered everything and has moved on to something else. DLC lets people return to those older games, and help to keep some of the sales in (and the servers up)

        • Yeah, agreed. I have nothing against DLC at all, personally, especially if it’s free. I honestly don’t think there are very many games out there that have really done DLC badly. Most publishers are rather conscious of how much content people expect for their $60.

  • malek86

    Actually I wouldn’t mind having DLC for every game, if possible. Just that some games would do better with free DLC (ie. puzzles in Professor Layton, events in MH), while others would be ok with paid DLC as well.

    I’m not sure, is Iwata only talking about paid DLC here? It seems like he is, since he says “we would like to supply consumers with only add-on or downloadable content which they are happy to pay for as compensation for creative work”.

    He almost says it like Nintendo won’t release DLC unless it’s paid. I must be missing something.

    • puchinri

      I thought he was clearly stating that even if a lot of games do get DLC, most will not have paid DLC. I don’t think he’d have most games rely on DLC anyway, considering what he had to say about it previously, but I feel that the comment mostly applies to the paid stuff specifically.

      Also, I would mind having DLC for everything. It wouldn’t be bad in cases like AC, but I don’t think DLC would benefit every game anyway. I’m sure it can be done well, but it just opens up other questions for me about the game and its development.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    I would gladly pay  add-on content but not for useless things I doubt Nintendo would go that root 

  • Curan_Altea

    Sounds good to me. Some games don’t really support paid dlc. But with Fire Emblem it seems completely fair. Bonus maps that add challenge, characters, or other fun scenarios that are not really part of the story. 

  • Nitraion

    DLC should be free or at least cheap, not to do with main story and for most its extra stories after main arc or something and not pre-planned before release and not a rip-off Ie: like costume or story that should be there…
    and DLC should be a service to consumer for long play not forcing to buy it and agree to avoid game to enjoy by power of money unless it’s MMO game because usually MMO is free…well that piece of my mind
    o yeah and i really hate online pass scheme period… 

  • FitzpatrickPhillips

    I personally think DLC shouldn’t be used for every game. They should pack the game full with whatever they want and release a fully made product. Then, sometime in the future they’ll go “Hey, why don’t we make an extra level or something?” and it’s born like that. Unfortunately I doubt this will ever happen.

    • Barrylocke89

      Sometimes DLC is also used as a way to release content that was in the works, but couldn’t be finished due to deadlines, which I also think is a pretty valid reason. Of course, it doesn’t come off as too valid if the pricing is bad…

  • MrRobbyM

    PHEW. Good. At least they’re handling it well. I was afraid Animal Crossing would become like The Sims.

  • Im glad they are trying to handle DLC properly, as someone stated below me Im also pretty afraid that modern gaming might be tied with DLC content as a must, that’d be pretty sucky.

  • I hope more people learn from this…
    Sure I understand SOME paid DLC… but not costumes, songs, or little additions (at least not for $1-3).

  • It’s cute how people still trust companies to be honest about DLC policies.

    Does anyone really believe that Nintendo won’t start Capcom/EA’ing the crap out of people the second they realize they can get away with it? They are the masters of superfluous plastic accessories after all.

    • $29082171

      So why haven’t they started yet? I mean the DLC craze started with the 7th gen and Nintendo could have done so at any moment.

      They’ve also been doing free DLC for years with Pokemon and Animal Crossing, including the latest entry for these two.

      • Curan_Altea

        But Nintendo lies to us all the time. What about that one time they…………

        Huh. But really, Nintendo is known for being user friendly and having mass appeal. 

        • Yeah, they totally don’t release overpriced accessories with poor support.
          Look at all the E-Reader games! And the dozens of Circle Pad Pro Games! And the Wii Fit Pad Games!Oh wait…

          • Curan_Altea

            There’s a difference between selling underused overpriced accessories and being dishonest and betraying us. Nintendo works differently then EA, Ubisoft, etc. I’m sure Wii U and 3DS will get plenty of overpriced or should’ve been included anyway content. Just not from Nintendo. 

            And I bought the move…… Don’t get me started on poor support.

          • Killzone, Resistance 3, Infamous 2, Little Big Planet 2,  RE5, Bioshock Infinite… 

            That’s just the AAA/AA franchises off the top of my head, not even counting the PSN games and crappy Wii Knock Off games.
            Not that I have a move, or even like the idea.

            EDIT: Heavy Rain, Until Dawn, Unfinished Swan… ECT. There’s actually a lot of great games that support Move, and even still a few announced future games. Way more than Circle Pad Pro, or even GOOD Kinect games that aren’t just voice support.

          • frumpus

            How about you get off your high horse and stop being a dick? Nobody cares that Nintendo’s Circle Pad Pro wasn’t as much of a success as it hoped. You’re only bringing it up because you’re an asshole who wants to prove a point that isn’t worth caring about.

      • Nintendo is just now in 2012 releasing a system with Full HD capabilities and a proper online infrastructures. They are about 6 years behind the tech curve. Give them time.

        EDIT: They also have a general fanbase not used to the concept of DLC, of course they are going to start slow with crap like Coin Rush.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      And yet, Pokemon and Animal Crossing never had all those problem. Not to mention FE DLC is only add-on there while the main game is already so big.

      • The E-Reader cards for Animal Crossing GC were basically a low-tech DLC idea…
        So yeah.

        • frumpus

          And nobody bought them. Nintendo learns from its mistakes.

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