News Article

Nintendo Likely to Retain Price Control in 3DS eShop

Posted by James Newton

Still no price cuts?

In many other digital store fronts, the content provider gets to choose the prices, but Nintendo sets the price of all content on its WiiWare and DSiWare stores. With the company promising the 3DS eShop will be better, it appears we'll still see games priced by Nintendo, rather than the publisher.

In an interview with Wired, 3DS hardware man Hideki Konno revealed it's unlikely publishers will have control of their prices:

If what you’re coming up with [is something like] the Apple iTunes store, where people can freely set their prices, I don’t think that’s going to be the case. I’d be a little sad to see if there was a product that I worked on for a couple of years go on sale for a buck.

Perhaps if the developer and publisher decided to sell a game for $1 as part of a business strategy there wouldn't be such need for sadness. Konno didn't confirm whether or not temporary sales would form part of the eShop's arsenal, but it seems unlikely at this stage.

Do you think Nintendo is doing the right thing by maintaining final say over pricing? Would you rather publishers were able to decide how much their product is worth?


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User Comments (71)



Denkou said:

I think it would be best if a company or individual developer could suggest a price to nintendo. That way, nintendo could see if the product is worth more, less, or equal to the developers ideal price. I think that would be the best way for things to work.



JayArr said:

I think it's sad news. There have been many times were a measy $1-2 difference has kept me from purchasing a game. I think developers know this too and having their games put up for a higher price than are comfortable with is losing them money.



Oregano said:

He doesn't say there won't be any price cuts or sales, he just says publishers can't control it.

It's a double edged sword really because Nintendo might under- or over-value a publisher's game which won't be a good situation but also it stops publishers from undercutting each other and avoids the 'race to the bottom' phenomenon.

It might get complicated(probably too complicated) but I think it'd be best if both Nintendo and the publisher had to agree on a price rather than one having more say than the other.



wanderlustwarrior said:

I don't think this is a reasonable strategy, especially considering the number of downloadable games on Nintendo's devices available on competing services.

They could (should) set an initial price and then leave sales and markdown to the developer/publisher. There's no reason why some launch era downloadable games, for example, are still at the same price.

Specific case - take World of Goo. When they had a name your own price sale of WoG, why would anyone want to navigate a terrible menu to buy it on WiiWare unless they didn't know any better. Nintendo seems to be wanting to take advantage of people's ignorance.



Token_Girl said:

I don't have a huge issue with Nintendo being the final say in prices - they better understand the entire library of their downloadable games, so can properly compare to see where a new game fits in.

However, I would like to see more collaboration with devs in the initial price setting phase, and more importantly later on if a game isn't selling well. I think they avoid price drops to keep old games from stealing thunder from new releases (though, it basically means games only really have a shot at selling well as new releases). Sega's shown that Nintendo is amenable to sales, but hopefully they'll make it easier for some smaller publishers. Older games will need price drops too compete - especially as they're getting price drops on other platforms. Hopefully, for us, Nintendo will realize this instead of sticking with their "majority sales near launch" model.

I think devs will be sadder about their game never reaching the sales threshold and getting absolutely zero money from Nintendo than seeing their game drop in price to $1.



Ryno said:

I like purchasing PSOne classics from PSN when they go on sale. Picked up Resident Evil 3 for $3.00 this past week where Nintendo games from that generation cost me and will continue to cost me $10.00! I look forward to PSN updates every Tuesday to check out what is on sale, I wish Nintendo would have periodic sales. The SNES is my favorite system of all time but I think $8.00 is to much.



LztheQuack said:

The publishers may still be able to suggest a price. He didn't say this wasn't the case



zeeroid said:

Well, we all knew this was coming. Doesn't make it any less frustrating, though.

I don't understand his argument: "I’d be a little sad to see if there was a product that I worked on for a couple of years go on sale for a buck." If the developer sets the price, then how is that even an issue?

Also: @Ryno (#8): This.



ImDiggerDan said:

Nintendo actually do consult with the developer/publisher for setting price points but they can over-ride if they think the suggested price is wrong.

It is a huge shame that they don't currently have a more flexible system to allow temporary sales etc to gain interest. I hope they do add this facility to future (3DS included) on-line stores.



nick_gc said:

No way. This is the wrong decision and part of the reason why the WiiWare / DSiWare was seen as inferior to other online game/app stores. I don't understand Konno-san's argument either. If the developer/publisher chooses to sell the game for 100 3DS points rather than Nintendo choosing to sell it for 500 3DS points what's the issue? Maybe that is the issue. Nintendo can control their profit. Although surely they lose out because more people would buy something if costs less!



dings said:

As much as I love Nintendo it takes them way too long to catch onto current trends. They've got making great games down perfectly but every time I see them screw something up like pricing points, flimsy online experiences ect it just reminds me of their choice to stay offline for the GCN and cartridges for the N64.



LztheQuack said:

Honestly I have to wonder if they are gonna have set prices on 3DSware like they do on DSiware



shinesprite said:

Perhaps some games could temporarily drop a dollar or two on their birthday/when their successor is launched. Nintendo and the developer could absorb the cut proportionately.



Philip_J_Reed said:

@3: "The Dream of having $1 games from DSi or 3DS-ware is gone...."

Yes, you will have to continue to live with the awful reality of $2 games.



outrun2sp said:

No game has ever taken a year to make thats on downloadable service so dont know what this guy is talking about.

Doesnt matter anyway as fanboys are going to pay whatever they charge. If you think think this is bad look at capcom with the dlc content prices for marvel vs capcom 3.



Gamesake said:

All this tells me is Nintendo doesn't want to be out sold by $1 games on their own system. It must be how they control competiton.



komicturtle said:

It happened with the Sega Genesis games sale in 2009, right? Games that cost 800 points were knocked down to 500. I'm sure we'll see a special sale like THAT at some point.

Also, expect games to be $2-$15 (or even more) on eShop... $2 games is like $1 games, right? It's cheap...



Highwinter said:

I've bought hundreds of games on Steam, Xbox Live and other services after price drops have brought them down to a level I think is more reasonable.

If games stay the same price as when they're first released then it's going to hurt sales and the game developers as a result. It's a shame that Nintendo is still so far behind in regards to their online strategy.



vherub said:

As a consumer, there are quite a few vc and wiiware titles that I would buy if they even had a 100 or 200 pt sale. I have bought 15+ wiiware titles, many of which are fantastic. But there is a 2nd tier of content that I had lesser interest in and have fallen completely off my radar. A sale or price drop, even if small, would renew my interest.



Lotice-Paladin said:

A bad move on their part. That's basically telling them "We decide whether you make profit or not", if it doesn't sell, the Pubs can blame Nibtendo rather then themselves when push comes to shove.

I can see that some pubs won't publish on the service due to this ignorance sadly.



WolfRamHeart said:

And this is why the majority of my downloadable game purchases will remain with XBLA and PSN. Your loss Nintendo.



Pac-Suit said:

@Starlight - Well, the developers should make a game, worth that price. Nintendo must have some sort of guideline to what a Game should contain the make it that price.



Malkeor said:

Now, I know Nintendo had their little speech about the value of games. This was heard in Iwata's Keynote correct? In that case I think that the value of games should reflect the price...that's pretty obvious right?
It's also far for the developers of that game to suggest a price, while monitored by Nintendo I feel that this should be worked out.
Value value value.



NIN10DOXD said:

but ninty might come up with reasonable prices this time and prices on PSN and XBLA are just as bad anyway.



Malkeor said:

This is true, we could only hope, but I just wish it was more fair for the 3rd parties putting out these games. I dunno maybe i'm just an idealist.

I agree completely with the PSN price, the price on the minis are just terrible.



Capt_N said:

Stupid move, Nintendo! Part of the draw of the 3DS is it's online, & shop.

I can see how Nintendo could protect themselves this way, from pubs/devs literally trying to gang up on, & doom Nintendo's online service by purposely setting higher prices on their software, in comparison to prices on the competitions' online services, as well as getting the same title for cheaper from the competition.

However, I see this coming back to haunt Nintendo. Effectively, this will dissuade pubs/devs from Nintendo's online services. Nintendo already got bitten by their control-freak attitude in the 90's(remember all the things religious, & non-religious that Nintendo games couldn't contain?). However, Nintendo doesn't seem to have remembered that.

I seriously now wonder if it was Nintendo's plan all along to just say the 3DS online would have demos, & everything else already mentioned, & once everyone was hyped to buy a 3DS, pull the cupcakes away.

The cake is a lie! Nintendo, don't let that statement hold true for you.



Alfred_ENG said:

I am sick of Nintendo. Let Devs/Publishers set the price of their games not Nintendo.



Odnetnin said:

I would think they would've learned their lesson with the DSi Shop. Let the eShop be another reminder for them that if you want to compete, you can't exert such control over everything.



JohnDoe123 said:

If developers could set the price of their games, they would set them at $1 to compete with the app store. Nintendo doesn't want this to happen.



EliPro said:

Kono is starting to really get me PO'ed. First it's the consideration to cut back on demos, or get rid of them at all...and now this.



Tylr said:

Nintendo's gotta do what Nintendo's gotta do, i guess. But would be nice to get some lower prices. C'mon, i have like 400 points left over every time i use a Nintendo points card. 'Tis a shame...



iphys said:

I just hope they don't have set prices like $2 and $5 with no leeway for a game to be $3 or $4 instead.



Tony3DS said:

I don't think it matters because I'm so busy playing Pokemon Black and I plan to be busy with Steel Diver and all the preloaded software. Not to mention the free Wiiware demos I haven't got a chance to spend any of my 3300 remaining Nintendo points in the last 6 months.....Anybody else running out of room on their 2gb sd card with all these demos? I'm going to future proof my 3ds with an 8gb card at least...maybe a 16gb.



naut said:

Whoa, whoa. Back up. I'm still wishing for a payment method that doesn't require deposits in increments of $10.



Bankai said:

Glad to hear Nintendo is commited to failing to compete with Sony and Microsoft with digital downloads... let alone Apple.



armoredghor said:

@44 the points system is being dropped.
This is wise move on Nintendo's part. As many people have commented, forcing higher prices hurts the developers who want to sell at a dollar. That's reasonable but if a developer has a higher quality game and sells it 2 to 5 dollars it hurts them because they appear to be overcharging customers when in reality, that's the reasonable price. Nintendo is trying to revitalize the value of games.



Stuffgamer1 said:

@armoredghor: Just because they're dropping points does not automatically mean they won't force you to pay set increments of money into your online account at once. We can hope they do it right, sure. Like with PSN: There's a $5 minimum, but above that, you can pay the exact price for your content, to the penny.

Excessive price setting hasn't been working right for Nintendo on WiiWare and DSiWare...why do they think it's a good idea on the 3DS eShop? I don't think the devs should necessarily have FULL control, but within reason. Nintendo's concept of fair pricing is just plain stupid, especially the way it seems to completely disregard the same games being available on other formats. Even when TellTale games launched alongside other versions, they cost more! PC: $7 per episode, WiiWare: $10. Lame!



WolfRamHeart said:

If Nintendo really wants to compete with Microsoft and Sony on the digital marketplace they need to reconsider their stance on putting games on sale. For example, this week Sonic 4: Episode 1 is on sale for $10 on XBLA. This really is unfortunate for people out there who only own a Wii. They are missing out on a lot of great deals. Since I own all three systems, I am going to purchase the game where it is the lowest in price. Nintendo really needs to step their game up or be left out in the cold.



Ryno said:

Let's see, "Secret ot Mana" for $8.00 on Virtual Console or newly released to PSN Legend of Mana for $6.00...



ecco6t9 said:

I wouldn't mind seeing more sales in the 3DS shop. Maybe they can put all DSiWare on sale during the May launch?



Rebel81 said:

@Mickeymac - I would rather pay 79 eurocents for World of Goo HD for iPad in the sale than 1500 points for World of Goo for the WiiWare (and yes i got it for 79 eurocents with the lonely valentine sale).

Spaceial sales woruld be a good adition and the fact that iOS has more shovelware doesn't mean everything is.



theblackdragon said:

@Ryno: OMG Legend of Mana ftw! It's no contest between those two games for me (even if LoM weren't cheaper)... i love LoM so hard :3



ToastyYogurt said:

When I see a game that's on both WiiWare and Steam that I want, I choose the Steam version. Why? Because Steam loves to have huge super sales at least 3 times a year. If I want a game, I can put it on my wishlist and wait for the game to go on super sale. Nintendo doesn't do this, which is why I prefer Steam, along with Steam's community features, which I hope the 3DS gets something similar to.



Ryno said:

@theblackdragon, thanks for the recommendation! I wasn't originally expecting one and this may not have been the most appropriate place for it but I hate Nintendo's points, high price points, and $10 increments on the Virtual Console.



Slapshot said:

I just want a few games on weekly discounts on Nintendo's downloadable stores!



DarkEdi said:

When Sega put christmas disscounts in the virtual console I tried Puyo Puyo for only 500 points and I loved it. But that game at 900 points is a steal, it doesn´t worth it.



HeroOfTime007 said:

Shocked so many people are discouraged from buying downloadable games because its 10 bucks instead of $3.



SwerdMurd said:

dammit nintendo stop being so obtuse...Seriously Steam has retail-release-this-year games that occaisionally go on sale for 5 bucks. 5 dollars for gameboy games (as I'm sure will be the case) is a complete and total insult--stop pretending your products are magically worth so much more just because they appear on your consoles.



StarDust4Ever said:

The same BS about not cutting prices is going on with the Wii generation in retail, as well. Take for example Little Big Planet and Mario Galaxy:

When LBP first came out, it was $60.
When SMG first came out, it was $50.

Currently, LBP2 is $60.
Currently, SMG2 is $50.

That's logical, as the newer version is still launch price. But wait...

LBP1: GOTY selling for $30
SMG1 is still selling for it's original launch price of $50.


Throughout the Game Cube era, Nintendo slashed the prices of many of their AAA titles as "Player's Choice" games. These games were originally $50, but now sold for $20-$30.

This is very similar to what PS3 is doing with some of their older AAA titles. I forget what they're called, but they now have red cases. Yet any evidence of "Players' Choice" games is completely absent from this generation. Why are games like Super Paper Mario, Mario Party 8, Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy, and others still $50? Some of these should have had a Player's Choice edition released by now. They should be like $30 by now, not $50. Nintendo would probably generate more sales if they continued with the Player's Choice editions, but no, they are greedy and selfish and still demand the same $50 retail price.

I also know of a number of third party games that started out $60 on other consoles, are now $30 on said consoles, but still $50 for Wii. Why?

Sometimes Nintendo makes business decisions that simply don't make sense.



Portista said:

I would love to have a lot of free enjoyable games, but Konno does have a point. All the free games would be downloaded, and the actually GOOD games would not be bought as much. But I still would love to see maybe 10 more free games. The DSiware had only 3-4, and I always hope that there might me one more enjoyable free game. Anyways, that's my thoughts, and you don't have to agree with me.



Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

Ya know you guys have a choice whether to buy/not buy these things. If your going to complain about it then don't get it. Its simple logic. T_T



LztheQuack said:

I can't really say much else because we don't know the full details of the eShop anyway.



Raylax said:

I’d be a little sad to see if there was a product that I worked on for a couple of years go on sale for a buck.

I'd be a little sad if a product I'd worked on lost many potential sales because the price point was put too high outside of my own control.



multiplayermadness93 said:

i think nintendo has the right to do that because its there system and it would suck if they worked on a game for many years and it only wnet on sale for 1 dollar



Pac-Suit said:

Here is a bit more Info from Mr. Konno, that wasn't said in the Article

"Having a business model that allows for the prices to be driven down that low, as a developer it’s kind of scary because we want to protect our content, and the only way we can justify creating good content is if it makes business sense. It’s more than a pricing issue, it’s a company value. We want to compete with ideas, we want to surprise our consumer base. That’s the battleground for us — are we surprising consumers?"



asoccerstar43 said:

definately publishers by the look of the dsi ware it has outragous prices for games that are terrible

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