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Revolution oldies not free

SNES games etc. to cost.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has denied rumours that the company plans to distribute its first-party back catalogue for free on the forthcoming Revolution console, but said that some old games may be used as bonus or trial content.

Speaking to a business strategy conference in Japan, Iwata touched briefly on the topic of the "Virtual Console" - Nintendo's name for the Revolution's ability to download and play the company's old titles.

Referring specifically to online rumours that the company would give away its back catalogue for free on the service, Iwata said that "we have no plans to distribute [our back catalogue] without a fee."

He would not be drawn on what pricing schemes the firm has in mind, but he did concede that some games might be used as promotional bonuses - for example, offering a free download of an old game with the purchase of a new game, or running special marketing campaigns which allow games to be downloaded for free for a limited period.

This is in line with Nintendo's policy on old games at present; while the firm makes a profit from the sale of its back catalogue through schemes like the NES Classics range on the GBA, it's also not averse to bundling old titles as bonus content with their modern updates.

Iwata made clear that the ultimate motive for the Revolution download service is to continue to capitalise on Nintendo's back catalogue, telling the conference that "we hope to create a system which allows both Nintendo and [third-party publishers] to make a profit by using [software titles] from the past."

Interestingly, the Nintendo boss also confirmed that Revolution users will be able to download demos for the Nintendo DS to the console and then transfer them wirelessly to their handhelds.

Much of the rest of the conference, however, was recycled material from Iwata's presentation at E3 in Los Angeles last month, with products such as the Game Boy Advance Micro and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service for the DS, both of which made their debuts at E3, being unveiled for the first time in the Far East.