As recently reported, Nintendo will release their first free-to-play game sometime before March 31st, 2014. At a Q&A session with analysts, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata elaborated on the company’s free-to-play plans.
“The ability to offer software in a digital format has given us greater flexibility in terms of how we offer our products to consumers and how to monetize them,” Iwata shared. “However, we are not planning to offer, for example, Mario or Pokémon games in a free-to-play format.”
Iwata continued: “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.”
Iwata added that Nintendo are aware of the need to develop free-to-play titles that feel fair to play and balanced.
“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,” Iwata said. “In order to have a favorable long-term relationship, we would like to offer free-to-play games that are balanced and reasonable.”