News Article

Reggie Defends High Download, Retail Price Point

Posted by Zach Kaplan

Calls cheap, "disposable" iOS titles "one of the biggest risks today in our industry"

A common thread among discussions of downloadable DSiWare as it compares to competing platforms, particularly iOS devices, is its relatively high price tag. While games available in the App Store often retail at $1 or $2, the majority of those in the DSi Store come in at 500 Points ($5) or more – sometimes for the same title. Speaking to GameTrailers on App Store vs. retail prices, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime explained why this was such a problem.

I actually think that one of the biggest risks today in our industry are these inexpensive games that are candidly disposable from a consumer standpoint... Angry Birds is a great piece of experience but that is one compared to thousands of other pieces of content that for one or two dollars I think actually create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be two dollars.

Reggie went on to joke:

I actually thinks some of those games are overpriced at one or two dollars but that's a whole different story.

How do you feel about Reggie's statements? Is the Apple App Store's "disposable" mentality really a threat to the industry, or is Nintendo's pricing policy unfair?

[via eurogamer.net, gametrailers.com]

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User Comments (90)

SpriteKing

#1

SpriteKing said:

I don't wanna go all fanboy or anything, but I do think developers are putting just enough bang for their buck in games.

Ravage

#3

Ravage said:

I pretty much agree with him... There are some good games on the service, but so many of them you can easily find some sort of flash version. Then again, some of the games on DSiWare I would not pay $2 let alone $5...

Hardy83

#5

Hardy83 said:

He's totally right, Apple should be charging 2-12 bucks for crappier software like Nintendo does with WiiWare and DSiWare. lol

Yes some of the game could sell for a higher price, but then again, being a buck makes A LOT of purchases.

Do you think Infinity Blade would sell for $40? Pffft, no, but at $7 it moved a lot.

drdark

#6

drdark said:

How did this get attributed to Eurogamer? It was said during and interview on GT.TV (go to gametrailers.com) AND they were comparing the appstore prices to Nintendo's boxed games, not DSiWare. Please amend, as the headline itself is also misleading.

Tut tut, and all that.

RYBlast

#7

RYBlast said:

Well, iPhone was never a gaming system. People have iPhones to listen to music and go to the Internet, they just have these games as side dishes, but if someone really wants a true gaming system to play real games on the bus, I'm pretty sure he would choose a dedicated gaming handheld. Nintendo should make 1 dollar first party titles to challenge Apple, a Mario minigame collection similar to the one in SM64DS or NSMB with online leaderboards would be awesome.

SilverBaretta

#8

SilverBaretta said:

I agree that it's a huge risk, and it's a somewhat better business strategy for Nintendo to charge more, considering not as many people use the Nintendo download services as they do the App Store, but Apple does deserve some credit for making this it's iOS App stuff as big as it is, I guess. Then again, you generally pay more for the iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad hardware then you do for Nintendo handhelds...

Zach

#9

Zach said:

@drdark Fixed, but I think the download price point comparison is wrapped up in that too, not to mention being the comparison most people complain about and thus a relevant topic.

JohnDoe123

#10

JohnDoe123 said:

The way iPods/iPhones are treated as "Gaming Devices" is an insult to real gaming devices.

Colors

#11

Colors said:

one of the most popular itouch games, cut the rope, is the same game you can play on a flash website for free

Colors

#12

Colors said:

so you can probably guess how crappy and pointless the other games are.

Slapshot

#13

Slapshot said:

I've never even really compared DSiWare/WiiWare to any apps with the exception of the $2 DSiWare apps.

The major complain with Nintendo's downloadable titles is that the prices never fall, even years after release. Microsoft and Sony both offer weekly sales on their downloadable games, and older games get discounted prices, but this doesn't happen on Nintendo platforms.

Zach

#14

Zach said:

Reggie's comments make sense, but I still don't understand why a game like Surviving High School, which would make sense as a 500 Point title, retails at 800 Points whereas at the App Store you can get it for $0.99 with free weekly updates. But maybe that's just the publishers taking advantage of the situation.

accc

#16

accc said:

I agree with Reggie too. If you flood the market with terrible games then people will get tired of trying to pick out the few good games from the sea of crap and stop buying games altogether. Kind of like what happened with the Atari 2600 in the early 80s which caused the entire industry to crash.

drdark

#17

drdark said:

@Zach: Thanks. Sorry for coming on a bit strongly there.
I agree there's need for debate on purely digital download prices. I just didn't feel that was being referred to here.

But as slapshot82 just mentioned too, Nintendo's other problem has been a lack of promoting their digital stuff and no sales, etc.

Plus of course, the ridiculous size limit which they kept, even after adding the SD Menu and allowing SDHC cards.

erv

#18

erv said:

When people start defending their old ways of doing things in the face of change, you know things start to become archaic instead of revolutionary.

In a way he's right, but why are so many 3rd party titles on my wii a boatload of crap?

It's hypocrisy to think the price point you aren't after is to blame. It is hypocritical to think there's no market for the large games of days gone by. But this is just a man who thinks about the risk of losing his just acquired audience: the casuals.

Welcome back to earth nintendo. I'll buy good games. High quality games. But shove Just Dance back up your ass. If you don't catch up, your competition will.

Sylverstone

#19

Sylverstone said:

What I believe is that with all these "cheap" cash-ins on the App Store, it is susceptible to some sort of crash, like the famed crash of '83.

I mean, a lot of companies are cashing in on the "app" and it may just be too much to handle eventually.

Hardy83

#20

Hardy83 said:

"I agree with Reggie too. If you flood the market with terrible games then people will get tired of trying to pick out the few good games from the sea of crap and stop buying games altogether. Kind of like what happened with the Atari 2600 in the early 80s which caused the entire industry to crash."

Wait, are you talking about the Wii or Nintendo's digital platforms?

ZING!

accc

#21

accc said:

I was talking about the Playstation 3, obviously.

DOUBLE ZING!

drdark

#22

drdark said:

@Sylverstone: Indeed. And that isn't a new viewpoint, many were feeling the same over a year ago (including me - but I seem to remember a well-written gizmodo article floating about which may be worth tracking down). In fact the effects can be felt already. Some companies are naturally blaming piracy for their newer games not selling (that's everyone's favourite excuse - see: Ubisoft).

Rockmirth

#23

Rockmirth said:

the only good games i played on an iphone was angry bids cut the rope plants vs zombies and some racing game (dont remember the name) witch is also on the andorid market now. so i agree with reggie its better to make some better games for more money!

drdark

#24

drdark said:

Oh, and to everyone being negative about the Wii. I recently looked through a selection of used PS2 games and that had at least as much shovelware (I'm being polite - it probably had loads more).

Also, Enslaved, which garnered critical acclaim from many corners, and was released on both "HD" platforms, sold under 500K copies. Not sure why people are acting shocked about that; yes, it DOES happen on other platforms let's jaw drop in mock fashion.

And finally, the Wii has so far had more first-party support than either the N64 or GameCube, yet someone gets loads of hate for "abandoning the hardcore".

[Sorry, I seem to be in snarky mode again... not a good day...]

SwerdMurd

#25

SwerdMurd said:

I feel you Reggie. I have a metric ton of "omg amazing deals" games on iPhone...I play literally none of them today. I have 3 pages of games and I don't remember the last time I actually wanted to play one.

@dr - i will never understand why enslaved sold poorly...it had a lot of really solid mechanics--nothing was perfect, but it was crazy-enjoyable.

drdark

#26

drdark said:

I didn't know putting things in asterisks made the text go bold, so the jaw-dropping thing was supposed to be a simulated action...

@Swerd_Murd (interesting name!)
I was a bit surprised to, I expected it to do better. Perhaps timing and "no multiplayer" affected it. There was also something about the graphics engine and main character that didn't quite grab people in the same way as whatsername from Heavenly Sword.

The_Fox

#27

The_Fox said:

Since DSiWare (and WiiWare, to a lesser extent) is abysmal its pretty amusing to hear Reggie chime in on this.

chiwii

#28

chiwii said:

Reggie can think whatever he wants about the App store pricing, but it's not going to change. I don't think Nintendo is going to win this battle by just continuing to charge double for the same games.

HugoSmits

#29

HugoSmits said:

As a developer I can say that having low-price points is really, really bad.

People really believe that games on Iphone should be 99 cents... even if you pack it with content and hours of gameplay.

KDR_11k

#30

KDR_11k said:

On the iPhone people wait for a sale if the game costs 3 bucks. That's the mentality that race to the bottom has created. The game developers adapt, producing low budget shovelware that lies about its real cost by nickel and diming you with IAPs. Nowadays the big buzzword is "Freemium" which means a free base game and expensive stuff to actually play it well (not that the latter is constrained to free games, mind you). This creates specific game designs that maximize the opportunity to sell items for real money, just like arcade games were designed to suck quarters out of your wallet. Practically all freemium games are low grade rubbish that's just a minimal framework around selling you stuff, going as low as charging real money to get continues or a level skip feature.

iPhone devs don't make it up in volume either, while 3 million sales for Fruit Ninja may sound impressive that's 3 million dollars minus the chunk Apple takes out of it (30% I'd guess). That's a major hit. Even a mediocre seller can make more money than that on a real console, the big hits go orders of magnitude higher.

Nintendo is a company that has sold more copies of a 50$ game than iPhone devs have of a 1$ game.

LordJumpMad

#31

LordJumpMad said:

what dose Reggie call DSiware?
I play better games on the iPhone download, then The DSiware

brandonbwii

#32

brandonbwii said:

@31
DSiware is Nintendo's somewhat flawed answer to the app store. The fact remains that you can still buy more big budget fare at retail. So it's having your cake and eating it too.

I mostly agree with Reggie. The main thing I ask for from their digital platforms though is the occasional "spotlight deal" or whatever. I know it's hard for a non-phone company to offer very cheap product, but it does seem beneficial if say, they announce a one week 50% deal for Shantae, Cave Story etc.

drdark

#33

drdark said:

@The Fox: Do you even know the meaning of the word abysmal? There's more decent (and exclusive) DSiWare titles out there than there are PSPGo Minis, which given Sony's resources is pretty disgraceful. I'll hand you the phrase "poorer than Xbox and PS3 offerings". But abysmal... pshh.

@HugoSmits: That's my (and Reggie's) point. When you devalue games so much, they become throwaways. Not entertainment, but distractions. The AppStore model also means though one studio can have a hit with one game, there's next to no guarantee that their next game will achieve similar success.

Similarly, this "devaluation" point is why I was strongly against supermarkets charging £26 for the likes of FIFA and Modern Warfare. If you out in people's minds that these hyped up titles are only worth that price, anything that comes after will be forced to match or be lower in price, otherwise suffer a loss in sales.

People also totally forget publisher costs and other costs associated with physical products when they start comparing everything against the AppStore.

brandonbwii

#35

brandonbwii said:

"The AppStore model also means though one studio can have a hit with one game, there's next to no guarantee that their next game will achieve similar success."

You could argue that point about 3rd party stuff on Nintendo platforms in general (cough, Boom Blox, cough, No More Heroes, cough).

Advancedcaveman

#36

Advancedcaveman said:

"Disposable" is the perfect descriptor for most iOS games. I've done the whole "replace your DS/PSP with an iPod touch" deal for little over a year now and I have to agree with the sentiment that a lot of these games are actually over-priced at 1 dollar. Probably at least 70% of iOS games are literally smaller than an Atari 2600 (not to dis that system). They're just tiny little games where you only have one input (EG: here's a game where all you do is touch little icons, here's a game where all you do is tilt to dodge things). There's also a lot of problems with hardware/software fragmentation; games get broken by firmware upgrades and more and more games now require latter iPod/iPhone models. Some games that crash after you upgrade the firmware never get patched, and some of them just get pulled and re-released as new apps that you'd have to purchase again. So games are disposable in a very literal sense because they can easily be rendered unusable by hardware and OS version transitions.

There's no level design, progression, or depth of any kind. That's not to say all iOS games are like that, but it seems like the majority of the most popular, highest selling games are. The true best iOS games tend to be forgotten; they under sale to the point that a few of them have been permanently pulled from the app store as the developers have gone bankrupt. 99 cent price points are a risk because the is always going to rise to the top. I think (at least I really hope) that more people will have a similar experience to me: after a few hundred iOS games over the course of about a year they go back to the DS/PSP, and realize how utterly empty the grand majority of their app store purchases really are. After going back to the DS the magic of the app store has really worn away and I've realized its kind of a money sink game platform, save for a certain set of really good indy games that most people ignore.

I bought Shantae: Risky's Revenge and realized this one 12 dollar game is worth more than countless hundreds of iPhone games put together. If Angry Birds is the all consuming future of portable gaming then I'm not playing portable games any more. I got that game when it first came out in December 09, and promptly lost interest because its nothing but a microcosm of the mechanics in Worms. Now people won't shut up about it, and I don't understand what everyone is smoking (well, actually I do; its the old follow the leader situation where people convince themselves something is good because it's popular). My purchase of Angry Birds is basically how the app store works; you keep buying game because they only cost a dollar and then when they start adding up you step back and realize they add up to a lot in cost but very little in terms of content. Unfortunately people don't even seem to care about quality anymore. They just consume anything readily available.

Moco_Loco

#37

Moco_Loco said:

It all depends on what you want out of a game. When I want my deeper gaming, I usually turn to my DS or my Wii. This usually happens on the weekends, because my weekdays are very busy.

On weekdays, the games I have on my Droid are absolutely perfect. Games like Flick Kick Football, City Jump, Tank Hero, Fruit Ninja, Need For Speed Shift, Tetris, Angry Birds, and more are absolutely perfect for when I just have a few minutes to play. Hopefully with the 3DS Nintendo will go to a more comparable pricing model for similar games.

Interestingly, the problem on Android is not the 99-cent price point, which is still relatively rare. Most owners of Android phones don't seem to want to pay for their apps at all. Many developers are turning to ad-supported full versions (as Rovio did with Angry Birds) as a way to make money.

Token_Girl

#38

Token_Girl said:

Reggie, if many of the app store games are overpriced at $.99, why are you charging $5 for them on DSiWare?

The app store is a competitive market. Dev's have a fair amount of control over their prices and can offer sales. Nintendo won't let devs offer sales, and if a game languishes at the high price point, well, they're SOL.

Most of the highest grossing games on the app store ARE .99 cent titles. If devs weren't making any profit with these games, they'd have to go out of business. Yet, many cheap games are updated regularly, so those devs are obviously not bankrupt. Sure there's a lot that fail - but most of that is crap, so that's good. Games that aren't fun won't do well on the iPhone. There's just too much out there to waste time on crap.

In-app-purchases are an issue. It needs to be clear in game descriptions what features are only included through in-app-purchases and those prices, so consumers can make an informed choice. However, even big budget retail titles have this problem with DLC. At least with app store games, you're spending $5 total or so for the whole game, as opposed to $60 plus $5-$10 for DLC packs (each).

Pod

#39

Pod said:

I hope Nintendo can survive in the turmoil that is going to be the video game market this coming decade.

Lashing out at the competition is definitely NOT going to help them.

SuperMarioFan96

#40

SuperMarioFan96 said:

I would comment, but Token Girl said it all. There's plenty of DSiWare that would be overpriced at $1 but is instead being sold for more than that. Actually there are some Wii retail games being sold for $40-$50 that would be overpriced at $1. At least these things are actually $1.

You know what's a real risk? Making a game for DSiWare. You have no say in the price, you can't offer discounts, and the users simply aren't there. Maybe that's why most iOS games are better than the majority of DSiWare?

EDIT: Almost forgot. Nintendo has competition, thus it's a risk for the industry. :|

Kid_A

#41

Kid_A said:

He's absolutely right, but one can't help but feel that his comments are a little hypocritical considering the oft outlandish price of DSiWare games.

Slapshot

#42

Slapshot said:

I've got an Android phone, and I rarely use any of the gaming apps. I just don't care for the touch screen only interface at all, and I like my gaming to be done on gaming consoles.

kurtasbestos

#43

kurtasbestos said:

FREAL, yo. I just recently found out about Angry Birds after several of my friends wouldn't shut up about it. Finally, I made one of them show it to me, and on my first attempt at ever playing the game I beat the level she had been stuck on for a while. It made me sad to see that this is probably the way portable games in general are headed, but it wasn't at all surprising.

Fortunately, my story has a happy ending because I later tricked that same friend into buying Dragon Quest IX and she's been playing a REAL game on a REAL console pretty much nonstop ever since.

aaronsullivan

#44

aaronsullivan said:

Sometimes people throw their brain out the window when they buy stuff on the AppStore, I don't know why. Imagine, buying every new thing on the shelf for the Wii or ALL the DSiWare without checking reviews at all. There's crap everywhere in every game market and it sells to misinformed people.

If people take 5 minutes to read a good source that tracks and reviews games on the iDevices like TouchArcade they'd see great games almost daily and begin to ignore the noise on the store. It's pretty basic.

So, people say the junk rises to the top on the AppStore, and that can happen, but the current big sellers on the AppStore lately AREN'T crap. If you give Angry Birds or Cut the Rope a chance they are highly addictive and fun and offer more hours of quick fun than many, many well reviewed $30 DS games.

As far as the AppStore being a good place for developers to make money, the evidence is pretty strong. There is still a ton of activity from indies and the big guns like EA. I think they like it.

In the end, what the AppStore and iDevices have done is introduce a wider audience to the niche gaming that has been prevalent on backstreet websites for ages now (usually with a healthy helping of teenage sensibility). What's different now is that everyone can key into these quick bouts of fun on a device they carry with them and it's out in the open. Plus, it's worth money, because it's not only for penniless teens anymore.

In the middle of it all are the hardcore gamers who often aren't sure where to turn. As life demands more responsibility, it's harder to devote countless hours of inflated games with repetitive gameplay and easier to enjoy shorter games on the run with more occasional visits to the deeper more lengthy fare. They might even realize that some of these shorter sessions are brutally hard. Hard enough to still hold their head high as a hardcore gamer while carrying around a multi-purpose device instead of a bulky, button-studded gaming system.

Could happen.

Full disclosure: I'm a sucker for Nintendo franchises, so while I acknowledge the trend (and am developing an awesome game for the iDevices) I will always be figuring out what Nintendo hardware I need to best enjoy Mario, Zelda and Metroid to the fullest.

zeeroid

#45

zeeroid said:

Well, as someone who doesn't own an iOS device, it's hard to for the comment on the value of the games available for that platform. Nevertheless, I have managed to formulate some opinions on the matter.

I agree with Reggie, in part. His argument really boils down to the issue of expectation. If consumers are given games that cost $1-2, then yes, they will begin to expect games cost that much regularly. From what I understand, the iOS game library is chock full of garbage, with a very marginal percentage of the total succeeding as quality gameplay experiences. These are the few which are likely worth more than what they are charging for. Angry Birds, for example. It's a game of statistics, really; obviously you will stumble upon quality eventually, but it will be rare. People just don't seem to mind too much because there's so much available, that there are enough decent games to occupy people's free time. Where I see a problem is that by charging only that much, developers are artificially being restricted in what they can accomplish, both technically and creatively. The merits of the model are that any fledgling developer can easily make a simple game without high expectations. On the downside, experienced developers with the talent and resources to produce quality content as seen on dedicated gaming handhelds may be forced to look the other way and produce simple (albeit fun) games on the iOS.

Maybe that's all most people want in handheld gaming experiences, and I suppose only time will tell if that's the case. I, for one, enjoy deeper experiences that are bound to cost $30 or more. As successful as the iOS games may be, if they continue to attract gamers in the manner they are now, there may come a time when it simply is no longer financially feasible to produce higher-end handheld games. I would hope this day never comes.

But one thing is for certain, Reggie. If you want gamers to play the deeper experiences you tout the 3DS for, then you'll have to get them in the door first. Buy the system. The very least you can do is use a pricing model for the games that compete directly with those available on iOS that is, well, competitive. After that happens, we can discuss how to keep gamers interested in buying a $45 title.

Vizardvalor

#47

Vizardvalor said:

Its seems when there is an article with Reggie in it someone always has to say "My body wasn't ready"

komicturtle

#48

komicturtle said:

It is a problem. Browsing around, even on the Mac App Store, I see people complaining "Not worth the $2! Great game, needs to be cheaper!"

It's really sad and pathetic really...

Stuffgamer1

#49

Stuffgamer1 said:

@komicturtle92: Sad and pathetic indeed. I cannot trust the option of anyone who would say a game is "great," yet not worth $2. "Pretty good," MAYBE. But honestly, when we're only talking about two bucks, I'm not too sure even then. I've been known to say some $60 games were more worth $50 or $40, or even to say $20 should be $15 or the like. But I'd never say that about a game I thought was great. Great games are worth the money. Unless you try to charge $100 for it or something stupid like that. I'll say the same thing those App Store folks do when that happens.:P

Anyway, I'm in the group that doesn't think Reggie has room to talk when there's so much crap on DSiWare and WiiWare that costs more than App Store crap. Yes, there are great games on each service, but they are the extreme minority in both cases.

However, I don't think the situation is ever going to get bad enough to lead to another game industry crash. The market is simply too large and mainstream now; and the potential to be informed too great, by which I mean readily available news and reviews online that didn't exist in 1983.

SyFyTy

#50

SyFyTy said:

There are only thre maybe four games on the Dsiware that I would give a plug nickel for, never mind a 5 spot. And some recent so called 'art games' [not ref. to art style series] with no goal (ahem (clear throat 3 games in one) are nothing less than an experiment on Nintendo's part to see if they can sell chocolate covered feces, have you eat them like they were truffles, all with a smile one your face... prove me wrong. go ahead... They just don't want to call competition what it is... they never have. It's amazing how many DS(i) games are showing up cheaper on the ipod. and just as good.

SyFyTy

#51

SyFyTy said:

Also, the video game industry is like anything else it ebs and flows in waves; what goes UP WILL come down... eventually, (every bubble bursts, stocks, real estate, hula hoop, pet rocks etc...). There is NOTHING in our universe that can escape THAT law. It's unrealistic and a bit self-delusional to expect otherwise. Nintendo's riding the proverbial horse hard and putting it away wet by coming out with too many hardware revisions and too soon for consumers taste and wallets. That WILL burn the industry out faster. Especially in this economy.

Tony3DS

#52

Tony3DS said:

There is a lot of shovel ware on smart phones. I personally haven't paid a dime for any apps on my android phone, all the best apps are free. But I do have to pay $25 extra a month data plan which i use very little away from my home wi-fi....and I always feel like I'm getting ripped off, that could have paid for 4 or 5 good games on Wii or DSi ware. Also, the touch screen always lets you down at critical moments.

SwerdMurd

#53

SwerdMurd said:

I suppose my comment about getting games for good prices may have been misleading...I hope the world realizes that any assumption that all games should be 99 cents on the App store is quite frankly offensive to developers. I'm merely stating that many games normally priced at $5.00 that I've bought for 99 cents haven't had any staying power. In particular, most of my earlier-on Gameloft stuff ended up that way. I've also bought a few FPSes that, while not necessarily bad or low-budget in any way, just don't provide a fun enough or tightly-controlled enough experience to really be fun to spend time playing.

I had a lot of fun with Dark Void on DSiWare, I've gotten zounds of mileage out of Rytmik, and Pop Island has gotten a few plays with the DS-owning crew. In Dark Void's case, the cheaper price on iPhone accompanies considerably less precise controls, and thus is (in my opinion) a better buy on DSi.

Vinsanity

#54

Vinsanity said:

Does Reggie even realize the number of iOS ports on Wiiware (and PS Minis, for that matter?). They still suck, even though you price them at 3x and 4x higher, you fathead.
I hate this guy so much...
I suppose he'd do the mental gymnastics to justify never doing sales, promotions or generally marking down anything on the Wii's digital storefront either. Because y'know, that's a HUGE risk for Steam, Xbox Live Marketplace and the Playstation Network too, right? Pfft - What a bonehead. Worst NOA president ever, by a long shot.

NassaDane

#55

NassaDane said:

what the heck is IOS? There are always these articles that through out crazying things like this or people and never explain what they mean. and...

"My body wasn't ready."

Ready for what? Not sure what you're body has to do with anything here.

JayceJa

#56

JayceJa said:

he has a point that a lot of the games going for $1-2 on the iphone are either not worth that, or are really worth more
however the solution is to have varying prices based on quality, not by making everything $5, then you get the opposite, some things are the right price, but most of them are overpriced

LuWiiGi

#57

LuWiiGi said:

I pretty much agree. Although some games on my iPad like Dead Space, PvZ and World of Goo are completely awesome and well worth the price.

XCWarrior

#59

XCWarrior said:

Haven't really seen or played a iphone game that shouldn't be a free flash game, so I tend to agree with Reggie. Having played Angry Birds, I don't see where the addiction comes, felt the same way about Peggle... and I'm a big puzzle guy.

I don't want 3DS games to anymore than DS games are now though. So I there has to be happy medium.

drdark

#60

drdark said:

Well, I'm not sure why everyone keeps saying they can only name 4 enjoyable DSiWare titles. I mean on this site alone, a quick look shows over 100 titles with a 7/10 or better score. Does that mean they're enjoyable? Obviously not for everyone, but I'm pretty sure I can name at least 20 which I really enjoy.

I'm thankful the DSi isn't overrun with 100,000 games quite frankly. Despite which the likes of a flashlight app (or Fireplace on WiiWare) turn up. These days, Nintendo lets stuff through if it complies with all their terms (and thankfully, there are no fart apps so far...) but it's not like they go and ASK developers to make shovelware, so I'm not sure either why people seem to be blaming Nintendo for the content devs submit.

Similarly, Nintendo has a proper submission process, with proper procedures and strict size restrictions, etc. This may initially put iPhone devs off I suppose if they're used to the AppStore with its mockery of submission rules. Literally any old crap can turn up on there, and quite often does. Not to mention plagiarised, copyrighted materials.

The other price issue here is addressable audience. Nintendo's digital software prices may be higher, but they're also not supposed to be the main gaming medium of the device. By that I mean, Nintendo still expect to make the majority of sales from physical game sales (which is fair enough; after all, gaming - expect on PC - isn't quite ready for full digital yet). So the DSiWare store is an "extra", a place to try new stuff perhaps, or indeed put stuff which they didn't think would qualify as a full release. And since it is optional (and not main revenue generator), not everyone is connected to it. I can't remember the figures, but due to the fact Nintendo's consoles in general don't require any online account for most of the features, I think percentage-wise fewer people are online (hence all those ambassador programs).

So, what was I talking about? ... Oh yes, addressable audience. I can't remember specific DSi numbers, but let's say for the sake of argument that out of all the DSi owners worldwide, only 3million are regularly using the connected features. That's the audience that developers need to address, and even then their games won't appeal to everyone. Contrast that to the AppStore. Just taking the iPhone4 as an example, I think Apple sold 14mil in 2010. Since the AppStore is the MAIN outlet for any content on the device, and it's instantly connected, you have an addressable audience of 14mil straight away.

Thus the odds of selling more are (clearly) higher, and it's easy to adopt the lower price-point model. Nintendo simply can't guarantee the same numbers, so I would think they advise the developers on a suitable price-point based on market research, etc.

Obviously both cases have their pros and cons. The AppStore's connected nature does drive down prices, however it's "accept anything and everything" stance means it's so swamped that you can't guarantee success. The DSiWare store has lower visibility and a more complex development and submission process, but if done correctly, will yield more revenue from fewer unit sales.

Right, I don't think anyone's still awake so... c ya.

SwerdMurd

#62

SwerdMurd said:

@drdark - well-said for the most part, but try to be more concise when commenting on an article. Walls of text give most people the urge to skip right past it (although you did at least divide into paragraphs which gets you bonus points)

Also, given your point about a much more tightly-controlled submission process, I think Nintendo's really the only entity to blame for all the shovelware making it onto the service. Apple barely has a chance to look at apps given their submission volume, while Nintendo finds a way to look at/reject games 3 times, then call them finished and allow them on despite still being buggy and incomplete. If they were less interested in collecting astronomical licensing fees and more interested in monitoring for content, I think the DSiWare (and WiiWare) releases would look quite different. The difference with Nintendo is you have to spend more up-front and it takes longer....this doesn't cut out the shovelware, it just means that only the wealthier shovelware-making companies get noticed.

motang

#64

motang said:

I am not a fan of those disposable iOS games what so ever, so that's why I don't support them.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#65

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Many of the iOS downloadable games are really pap. Not all, just MANY. Just check the out for yourself or check out that catalogue/directory you can buy. STILL, DSiWare is a tad expensive, but I have it coming out of the ears of my DSi...3DS storage solution needed soon - I need to download around 10 more! Seriously!

Noire

#67

Noire said:

Then make games that are worthy of a higher price point. I haven't seen an overflow of must-have games on either of your original-content downloadable stores.

rjejr

#68

rjejr said:

I think I'm an example of Reggie's problem as I never buy anything on PSN unless it's on sale and I feel most $20 casual PC games, including the ones by Popcap that I really like, aren't worth $20. Between BigFishGames and Gamehouse and previously Gametap and Real Arcade I don't think I've ever paid MSRP for any of them. Steam is also great for sales. Come to think of it our household got 9 video games for Christmas and I'm pretty sure they were all bought on sale. (I'm 1 of the 500,000 who bought Enslaved, good game, bad timing). My problem with Reggie though is his railing against iOS sounds like MS and Sony railing against the Wii (who then copied it with Move and Kinect). Reggie, if you don't like cheap games then don't offer them or buy them, but complaining makes you look as silly as the porn industry in CA.

Bankai

#69

Bankai said:

Sounds about right. Nintendo is not a fan of encouraging start ups and indie developers.

Which is why almost all the good indie games appear on XBLA, PSN and iOS

Digiki

#70

Digiki said:

Good old Reggie, and his wisdom...

I think Nintendo has still contributed the most shovelware to DSiWare, I don't follow it because it's not that good.

SwerdMurd

#72

SwerdMurd said:

@xPOTATOx - some are one and the same (RealSoccer or w/e that Gameloft 800-point soccer game is comes to mind, as it's 99 cents on App Store)

jbrodack

#73

jbrodack said:

I'm not a fan of apple products but I do think they have a better online application store than nintendo who really doesn't know what they are doing with digital products and online in general.

Also, its not like nintendo has kept strict quality control over what appears on wiiware or dsiware. While I agree that a mentality that games are supposed to only be a dollar or two could be bad for the industry its good to let the developers charge what they think a game is worth and if it doesn't sell at that price be able to reduce the price when they want. Nintendo needs to give more control over pricing so that cheaply made quick games can be bought cheap and games that are full retail worthy experiences can be bought for more.

jwl

#74

jwl said:

To me it sounds like he can't handle competition. I have great fun playing many of those cheap games on the iPhone, and in terms of value for money, as in play time pr. money spend, some games are really really good. Call it disposable or whatever, but having ten hours of fun for 1-3 dollars is not a bad thing in my book.

Also, many of these cheap handhelds games are in concept more like oldschool retro games - in a good way - with games that are easy to pick up and play, focus on gameplay rather than complex storylines and cinematic movieclips. I think they could learn something from that.

But saying it is bad for the industry is really just complaining about competition - I can't take that seriously. Nintendo can't and shouldn't compete with those kind of small games, but make some other good stuff instead.

drdark

#75

drdark said:

@jwl: "Also, many of these cheap handhelds games are in concept more like oldschool retro games"
But with sh*t controls...

Stuffgamer1

#76

Stuffgamer1 said:

@drdark: Amen to that. The reason I do not have and never will have any iDevice is the lack of buttons as an input option. I don't care if I'm supposedly missing out on a few great games...they just can't be worth fighting with crappy controls, IMO. Besides, all the best ones wind up ported to a system that DOES have buttons, usually DSiWare or PSN Minis, depending on the power necessary to run the game...or both, in some cases such as Angry Birds and Zenonia.

Dr_Corndog

#77

Dr_Corndog said:

I could take Reggie's comments more seriously if so many DSi and WiiWare titles weren't completely disposable themselves.

ecco6t9

#78

ecco6t9 said:

So why is a game $2 on the iPhone and $5 on the DSi?

And there's a lot of gems hidden in the App Store it just requires a little digging and research.

Lastly if anything the entire industry is due for another crash. Nintendo didn't help by allowing a lot of shovelware on the DS,Wii and GBA shelves(Sony also with the PS2) but the main difference being that Zoo Digital will charge you $20-$30 for their crap, where on the iPhone it's only $1.

jwl

#79

jwl said:

Well, it is pretty clear then. Nintendo should focus on games that work best with regular buttons, rather than complaining about competition from new platforms.

jbrodack

#82

jbrodack said:

I'd like to bring up that a legitimate reason that dsiware and even playstation minis are more expensive than app store games is that games on consoles have to be esrb (or whatever rating you have in your country) rated which costs money to do.

outrun2sp

#85

outrun2sp said:

Reggies almost admitting defeat.

The guy is just a sleazy corporate who rants on about kicking .

Thank god he wasnt in charge of nintendo in the snes days.

Sakura_Moonlight2421

#87

Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

:p I'm like that, but only because when I finish the game its not like I want to start it all over again; just to ruin all my hard work.

HOT-ROD

#88

HOT-ROD said:

Plants VS Zombies, Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Peggle, Squareball, Osmos, StarDefense, Flight Control, Fling, Game Dev Story, Spider, and Paper Ninja are the games I have paid for on my ipod touch. They're awesome and all under 5 bucks! Don't get me started on the free games I got as well (Yes some are multiplatform, but are cheaper on iOS).
Now, you're not gonna get an experience like you would with a ds cartridge game, but for ONE DOLLAR, you can get hours and hours of gameplay out of your idevice. It just shows that the two platforms are very different beasts. But right now, the itouch is my main gaming platform just because the games are affordable and fun. Don't let it fool you though, becuase I love my dsi a lot! (999 was my latest conquest =D) I just love finding new experiences on my itouch too.
But you can't argue that you would rather pay 5 bucks for a piece of crap than 1 dollar for a great experience. If nintendo wanted to back the prices, then make a game worth downloading. Otherwise, I will stick with the cartridges when the time calls for it, or keep laying my itouch over the dsiware.

zachts98

#89

zachts98 said:

OK, the itouch does have at to keep you entertained for a while but what happens when your done after 5 min. The ds and dsi games can last you longer. Plus who would turned down a 3ds game, come on there in 3d.

MysticX

#90

MysticX said:

So, DSiware is floundering (A few good games aside it's as bad as Reggie claims Iphone-games to be, but more expensive), and Reggie starts ranting about poor quality of iPhone games? That's rich...

"Shantae: Risky's revenge" was the reason i picked up my DSi again for the first time in a few months, it was all iPod touch games for that time, since they're potentially as much fun (Crap games exist on every platform), but for 35 euros less.

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