News Article

Iwata: Monthly 3G Fees Will Decrease the NGP Userbase

Posted by Trevor Chan

We wouldn't want that to happen with the 3DS, would we?

He may think that the 3DS and Sony's Next Generation Portable (NGP) will appeal to different demographics, but intrinsically, the two systems share more in common with each other than the rivals let on. One difference however, is the inclusion of a 3G service on the NGP, and Iwata has shared his thoughts on the possible implications of implementing a monthly fee.

Speaking to (as translated by AndriaSang) Iwata predicts that having consumers pay a monthly 3G usage fee will decrease the userbase. Perhaps this is why Nintendo decided to abandon the idea of having a 3G-enabled 3DS, opting for the SpotPass feature instead?

Deep down, Sony might actually agree with the possible detrimental effect of providing a 3G NGP, which could be why we'll be getting two models of the NGP: one with 3G, and one without. With the 3DS's SpotPass mode, the system connects online from time to time (much like WiiConnect24), and with plans to increase the number of Wi-Fi hotspots in Japan, the likelihood that gamers can go online as well as they can in the comfort of their own home is looking positive.

Noting that the minority of consumers that are willing to pay a monthly usage fee might get a similar service to 3G in future, Iwata offers the possibility that the 3DS might one day provide such a service:

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.

For those of you who aren't planning to purchase a 3DS for whatever reason, would a 3G-enabled system entice you, or is the SpotPass feature substantial enough for all your online needs?

For all you need to know on the 3DS, be sure to read the Nintendo Life 3DS FAQs which will be updated as new information becomes available.


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User Comments (29)



shinesprite said:

A 3G 3DS would be nice, but I wouldn't subscribe to it. I'd rather have more download-able games.



bboy2970 said:

I'd definitely buy a 3G enabled 3DS. I don't need it and am not affected one bit by its exclusion but if Nintendo offered it, I would certainly pay a monthly fee (within reason)



shingi_70 said:

he forgot that you can buy a non 3g device. Thats the thing this actually doubles your user base because some will buy the 3G while most will buy the wifi.

unless you live in a major city wifi penetration is still not where it should be.



Bass_X0 said:

However, people who are willing to pay monthly fees for entertainment products

The majority of XBOX 360 owners pay monthly fees for XBOX Live.



R-L-A-George said:

@shingi_70 I think Iwata also meant, producing the 3G version would be a bit of an waste of money. It just takes more money to produce 2 versions.



R-L-A-George said:

@irken004 I don't think so, people already have to deal with phones these days so not all, unless they travel a lot would probably find it unnecessary.



Rapenzie said:

Iwata talks like it's not an option to have or have not 3G on the NGP (PSP2).

And I bet the "3DS+" will have 3G and hopefully multi-touch!



rockman0 said:

I'm just happy for the WiFi and ATT hotspots. I've never payed for Live, nor would I pay for 3G, mainly because I can't really afford that extra. I already have to pay that for my cellphone and there's that MMO sub that I have to pay for. I think Iwata on the right track with his reasoning.



BulbasaurusRex said:

I hate monthly fees and avoid them whenever possible (to the disappointment of Discover Card). I just want to buy something once and be done with it.



Ravage said:

I despise both monthly fees and cell phones.
Cell phones are useful though.



kurtasbestos said:

Personally, I can't imagine myself in a situation where I'll be desperately in need of a connection and won't have WiFi access (because I mostly play my DS when I'm sitting down at home). Then again... I've been playing DQIX almost daily on my walk to work recently, and once I'm living in Japan I expect to spend a lot of time on trains so I guess it really just depends on if I get a game where I desperately need to be online at all times, especially since the number of WiFi hotspots in Japan is surprisingly limited.



MasterGraveheart said:

@Fee_Speculators: There'll be a fee, otherwise it'll become TOO expensive for Sony to support.

While I myself am a little downthat there will be less convenience to the connectivity in staying with Wi-Fi, I'm not going to cry over it. It lowers the price of the 3DS, which I'm okay with. Besides, I got a wireless connection in my home, so I'm not worried personally.



moosa said:

I think you guys are getting "StreetPass" and "SpotPass" mixed up in this article.



Knux said:

Iwata DOES realize that there are two different kinds of NGP models, right?



Capt_N said:

If Nintendo started charging, their basic free online would eventually get watered down, & into a que(sp?) in terms of service.



1080ike said:

As long as I don't hav eot pay to use it, I'm happy. I only have so much money.



Token_Girl said:

I can't see playing a game like Mario Kart online via 3G as the networks currently are anyway. Maybe once 4G has been beefed up and fully rolled out something like this will make more sense. It'd really only be good for internet surfing and spotpass type downloads. My iPhone (and most smartphones) does that just fine, and Spotpass downloads can wait until I get home.

Sony really only would increase their userbase with 3G, because you don't HAVE to get it. Wifi only is an option. However, will it be worth the cost of developing when you figure most people who have the spare $$$ for a monthly subscription for a gaming system probably ALREADY have a smartphone, I think Nintendo is right to not waste their time.

If the 3G version of the NGP is successful, I don't think anyone should be surprised if we get a "3DS 3G" as its "3DS Lite."



armoredghor said:

To everyone who thinks Iwata is ignorant. He knows that there are two models. This is why I respect Nintendo. They don't want to charge monthly fees for online gaming. Although, they'll do it if demand is high enough.
side note- after trying the 3DS at GDC today I can say that I doubt the NGP will be able to hold its graphics over Nintendo's head. The screenshots don't it justice. without 3D -borderline wii graphics, with 3D borderline PS3/Xbox 360 graphics.

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