Nintendo President Satoru Iwata recently made it clear that Nintendo will not be participating in free-to-play games. In an interview with AllThingsD, Iwata said flatly that “Nintendo is not interested,” going on to emphasize the “value” of games.
“I’m not interested in offering software for free of charge,” he said. “That’s because I myself am one of the game developers, who in the future wants to make efforts so the value of the software will be appreciated by the consumers.”
Although Iwata admits that free-to-play games can be profitable, he expresses concern over them ultimately “destroying the value of game software.”
Analysis: There’s a reason why I personally do not bother with free-to-play games: they usually play like crap. To make matters worse, some of these “free” games want you to whip out your credit card in order to deepen the experience, of which most of the time isn’t even worth it. Yeah, so maybe there are a couple that may in fact be worth my time, but with the seemingly endless oversaturation of freemium games floating around in cyberspace, I wouldn’t know where to look. Sadly, I’d probably have to weed through a crap load of titles just to get to something decent. Or, I just could just Google “best free games on the web,” or something.
Note: I did that by the way, and as expected, there’s a crap load – but supposedly there are some gems out there.
Above all else, Iwata seems to be stressing the factor of quality. I don’t see much of a point having free games (unless we’re talking demos – but we’re not) available on consoles – it just doesn’t make much sense. What with Nintendo having a (mostly) great track record as a first party developer, I don’t blame them (or Iwata) for wanting to stick to their “comfort zones.”
Nintendo wants to make deep, rich gaming experiences for their consoles, even if only to make more money. If they are in fact backing out of making free games to gain an extra buck – well, then I guess that’s their business. Of course, they’ll never admit something like that, and it sounds a lot better to say, “we don’t want to destroy the value of our games.”