Nintendo Considered Monthly Fee for 3DS Always-On Internet
Posted by James Newton
Went with SpotPass instead
Nintendo's idea with the 3DS is, in the company's own words, "Carry Around, Affect Each Other and Something New Every Day". At one time there was a rumour that 3DS would contain 3G functionality, allowing gamers to access the Internet wherever they were as a modern mobile phone would, and president Satoru Iwata confirmed the company looked into the feature but ultimately decided against it.
Discussing the disappointing uptake of online features among Wii and DS owners, Iwata believes the key to getting players online with 3DS is by making everything as simple as possible, and part of that means making it free.
Should the purchasers of Nintendo 3DS be willing to pay monthly fees, we could integrate a function similar to the ones embedded within mobile phones so that the machine would always be connected with the Internet. However, people who are willing to pay monthly fees for entertainment products will not become the majority. Because of this background, we wanted to create a situation where Nintendo 3DS could connect to the Internet from time to time just as long as their owners carry it around wherever they go in their daily lives, so that they could receive new messages, offers or even new software, from Nintendo. This is why we have incorporated the function called, "SpotPass."
The company is set to roll out a new wave of "Nintendo Zones" in its native Japan, beefing up the number of locations at which players will be able to connect to the Internet simply and easily, preferring to do this rather than charge monthly subscription fees to gamers.
By encouraging users to connect their console at home regularly with the SpotPass feature, a 3G connection may not be necessary, but would you rather have a 3G connection too?