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Nintendo not interested in free-to-play

Iwata: F2P model devalues software.

While Nintendo is making a lot of noise about how the Wii U will represent a major step forward in its online efforts, it appears it won't be supporting free-to-play titles.

CEO Satoru Iwata told The Wall Street Journal that he believed the microtransaction model devalues software in the eyes of the consumer and is unsustainable in the long run.

"We have no intention to provide a property to any other platform, or making them available in a mode that does not require consumers to pay at all," he said. "Nintendo is a company which is trying to maintain the overall value of video games.

"Of course, if Nintendo asks consumers to pay more money than the other platforms, then it's Nintendo's mission to provide the added value for which the people are willing to pay. In order to do that, we must remain unique and cannot be reproduced somewhere else. Something new, something fun and some surprise.

"If we were simply going to say okay, the only the way we could sell more products is by decreasing the price, then there wouldn't be a bright future and the entire industry will fold.

"I'm not interested in offering software for free of charge," he added. "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."

Iwata admitted that some publishers were currently enjoying great success with the freemium model, but questioned whether that bubble might be about to burst.

"Yes, it is true. There are great examples of advertising and doing the microtranscactions, and several companies who have come up with that kind of system. But on the other hand, if you ask me, is this the system that can be sustained for the long time?

"I don't know the answer. And, my point is that I'm not willing to go that direction, as well."

He insisted that Nintendo was interested in experimenting with new business models and revenue streams but if it did so, it will innovate its own strategies rather than following the pack.

"When you asked me if I'm interested in this kind of system or that kind of system, I have to say, 'No I'm not. No, I'm not interested.' And, if we do something similar, we are going to come up with something completely different ourselves."

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About the Author
Fred Dutton avatar

Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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