News Article

Nintendo Wants to Keep Old Titles Fresh with DLC

Posted by Mike Mason

Add-ons a-go-go

It's a common problem in these days of overly crammed release schedules: wait around for a few weeks and you might find that the game you've just spent your precious pennies on is already considered old hat. The community has already moved on to the next title, nobody wants to talk about it any longer and, while it might still be great fun, you're going to be enjoying it by yourself. Alone.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has taken aim at this issue in an investor Q & A session. Many of Nintendo's franchises, such as Mario Kart, have notoriously long sales tails, but Iwata worries that lagging social activity surrounding a game could damage this model. The solution? Keep things new with extra content to keep people talking.

Up until now, once consumers who had bought a game got tired of it, they would never play it and it would never draw public attention again. Even if the game had the sales potential to other new consumers, they rarely actually bought it because the consumers who already had bought it would never talk about it again and the game would be considered an old one. Having said that, what if we could provide add-on content through the network?

Iwata goes on to ponder the possibility of additional levels in Mario titles, or even cutting out sequels such as Wii Fit Plus entirely, instead positioning them as add-on content.

As I referred to before, for example, this is the idea of supplying new stages to Super Mario users who want to play the game more but have completed the game and lost interest in the existing stages. This will not only give us new profits but will lengthen the life of a product, in that it will never be out of fashion and can keep attracting public attention as long as many people play it.

We should not aim to just increase the ARPU [Average Revenue Per User], but at the same time, to give our products a longer lifespan and a larger number of total sales. “Wii Fit Plus,” which we released as packaged software as the upgraded version of “Wii Fit,” could be another example. Under the current network environment, we might be able to provide such upgrades to consumers through the network as opposed to just providing the content in a disc form.

What sort of downloadable content would you like to see from this approach? Which games are in need of a freshen up?


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User Comments (85)



BlueAce127 said:

Yes. New tracks for Mario Kart 7 is wonderful. I wish they can take Maka Wuhu away and replace with a non-glitch track... Not gonna happen though.



Collinhall said:

Mario Kart 7 would be AMAZING with more parts/characters - as both seemed to be a bit lacking (and yes - I have every kart part, except the golden body because screw that)



chewytapeworm said:

If only they could take away Maka Wuhu. Stubborn old Nintendo. More levels on Mighty Switch Force would be nice, it's a very enjoyable playing experience, just a bit too short, especially with the amount of precious blocks it takes up!! And yes yes YES to more Super Mario 3d Land levels!



BlueAce127 said:

Oh of course! More kart parts and characters would be great!

I want Toadette! She's my battle character.



Meta-Rift said:

I wish they would just go back to making games that continue to be fun no matter how many times I play them.



bonesy91 said:


I agree. I just think though that games being so much more technical to make (unlike the 16bit 8bit era) that they spend so much time in the graphics department and working the characters, that it looses what charm it could of had in the process.

I could play Super mario world 20 times in a year and not get bored (which I probably did growing up lol)
but Super mario 3D land maybe 2 times in a year.



WingedSnagret said:

More characters for MK7 would be great. The roster is rather lacking at the moment. (Waluigi gets passed over for a fat bee?! Seriously?!).



shingi_70 said:

Realize this wouldn't work for mk7 right. It wasn't programed with it in mind.



warioswoods said:

The best part of the Q&A was Iwata's explanation of the "Miyamoto is retiring!" PR fiasco.

Some of you may not be able to follow one of the subjects Mr. Miyamoto just referred to, so let me supplement it. During one of the interviews he accepted abroad, Mr. Miyamoto commented that he always tells his subordinates that he’s going to retire soon, in order to nurture the young developers. Mr. Miyamoto’s intention in making these remarks is to change the developers’ mindset because they will continue to believe that “this is Mr. Miyamoto’s responsibility, not ours” unless he encourages them to envision the workplace without him. Unfortunately, the article was reported as if Mr. Miyamoto had made his retirement announcement. Follow-up articles were created one after another on the Internet. Before we knew it, articles containing completely different messages from Mr. Miyamoto’s original message were circulated, which once again reminded us how scary the Internet can be.



pixelman said:

It'd be neat if they could do this for MK7 and SM3DL. Who knows? Maybe the capability is there and we just can't see it. i.e. you might have to download DLC from the eShop and once the game recognizes it's on the SD card, it'll display the new stuff correctly.



Meta-Rift said:

@bonesy91: No, it's not just those retro systems. Even last-generation Nintendo games have that kind of massive replay value and keep getting better the more you play them. I've realized that almost all the Wii games in my collection stopped being fun after the first or second playthrough.



FonistofCruxis said:

It would be great to see new characters, kart parts and courses for MK7, especially with the lacking character selection. Its unbelievable that they put in the Honey Queen and a metal reskin of Mario who sounds like he's permanently drowning instead of the likes of Waluigi and Bowser Jr. It would also be Namco Bandai add special DLC costumes to Tales of the Abyss like they're doing with Tales of Xillia and Tales of Innocence R.



Smooth27 said:

Zelda horse armor haha
Mk7 tracks and extra levels in SM3DL and new things to do in nintendogs.



NintyMan said:

Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land would both get a boost from DLC, so it'd be great if they got it someday. Kid Icarus: Uprising would benefit too.

@warioswoods: Nice quote. The internet is a scary place.



TingLz said:

My favorite part about that whole Miyamoto mess was when the reporters denied any mistake on their part even though they were still wrong



bonesy91 said:

like the PS2/GC/Xbox?

I could agree with that to some extant like mario sunshine, Zelda wind waker oh and Fire emblem path of radiance. I think the Wii's biggest problem was the fact it had to appeal to all audiences. Hopefully with the Wii-u we get games that we will want to play over and over again.



Kelvin said:

I've said since Mario Kart Wii came out that they should be releasing both new and classic tracks for it as downloads.



TKOWL said:

Mario Kart 7 DLC just NEEDS to happen. And Waluigi needs to be the first thing put on the table.



Kirk said:

Nintendo is actually wrong on that; if I play a stunning game I definately want to play it again and talk about it with/to my friends.

I've played Super Mario World countless times over years for example.



GuardianKing said:

Legend of Zelda, Ocarina of Time URA Quest (light temple, sky keep, unicorn fountain, anything found in the most recent pre-release beta that they removed at the lasst minute. There's even a sound track and enemies for the light temple.)

You heard it here first.



Chaoslink1 said:

More stages in Super Mario 3D land and more battle stages and characters in Mario Kart 7



DogNut327 said:

SM3DL and Pushmo dlc please. I MK7 too, though I wouldn't care 'cause I'm not finished with MKWii yet.



DogNut327 said:

SM3DL and Pushmo dlc please. I MK7 too, though I wouldn't care 'cause I'm not finished with MKWii yet.



TheN64Dude said:

Mario Kart 7 DLC
Hammer Bro
2 New Cups (Nitro & Retro)
More Parts for Vehicles

Sonic Generations DLC
Playable Super Sonic in Sonic Generations
More Handheld Stages from GG, GBA, and DS



ecco6t9 said:

As long as they offer some free, some on sale, and some priced DLC I am all for it.



Haywired said:

I don't like the idea of Nintendo following others into DLC at all. Games are long enough, there are far too many games out there anyway. So now games are never going to end? There aren't enough hours in the day. DLC is great for those who only intend to play one game forever, but for those who like to play more than one it's totally unnecessary and annoying (I know it's optional, but it's distracting and you feel you're missing out on the complete game). Nintendo, if someone has finished one of your games, isn't that a good thing? It means they'll now likely buy another one of your games. Why discourage people from doing that?

It also segregates the fanbase of a game as now everyone has different experiences/memories of it depending on which if any of the DLC they got. Instead of a complete game, a finished piece of work, it's now just a load of different bits.

Adding extra fat, complications and confusions to a game seems to completely go against Nintendo's philosophy of simplicity and accessibility. Nintendo is supposed to offer the alternative to all this sort of guff. In fact Nintendo said explicitly only a short while ago that they were against DLC. It makes me yearn for simpler times... Oh well, maybe it won't be as bad as I fear (I'm probably too much of a purist for my own good).



Supereor said:

What games like SM3DL should have are a database where you can download and play stuff, like Mini's March Again! and Spore PC. (but this PC game already had two disk add-ons)


"...they'll buy another one of your games..."

They're not updates, they're add-ons, optional and unlike updates, not free. And when someone finishes a game, they can't just say, "I'm finished with this game, and I'm gonna get another now." They have to go through the trouble of looking and searching for another one. And mayhaps they don't find another game that they actually like.



drumsandperc92 said:

we were expecting DLC with 3ds & Wii U and i'm glad to here. mario kart is the first game that comes to mind. super smash bros also does.
expanding rosters & stages of course being the most obvious use.
thing is, in this article Nintendo's motivation is to keep up sales of a game, even after other new games come out & said game is "old".
With this in mind, a costumer who knows there are, say, 10 downloadable stages in MK7 meanwhile there is another competing game that just came out, perhaps they will choose MK7 over it. Or someone who owns and beat MK7 is thinking about buying a competing game, and then DLC comes out and they don't bother because they want to keep playing MK7. It ups Nintendo's competition.
However, to do this right, they need to release it cheap or free.
Otherwise, Nintendo games will start to suffer the current gen's plague of us getting incomplete games, or games that are purposely MISSING pieces just so we buy them later as DLC. I can think of a few games that have done that on X360.
I hope Nintendo treats it's consumers right.



Supereor said:


"...purposely MISSING parts..."

Like Skylanders. For those of you that saw my comment earlier, #34, I'm on NL all day, so I'll be watching... not like I have anything better to do.



Haywired said:

'And when someone finishes a game, they can't just say, "I'm finished with this game, and I'm gonna get another now."' But isn't that what usually happens?



Kyloctopus said:

Yeah Wii Fit could have easily easily been DLC. But at least it was $20 for people who already had the Balance Board.



AntiKirby said:

How about replacing Honey Queen for Waluigi in MK7? or fix maka wuhu for that matter...



StarDust4Ever said:

LOL, bring Waluigi back! Honey Queen is the stupidest character ever. I played one cup as Honey Queen, and her fat bottom was so big it blocked my view of the track half the time!

150cc gold trophy unlock list (suggested edits by StarDust)

Mushroom - Wario
Flower - Daisy
Star - Waluigi
Special - Rosalina

Shell - Shy Guy
Banana - Wriggler
Leaf - Likatu
Lightning - Metal Mario


They could add extra cups to MK7 as DLC. Maybe a Blooper Cup and a Cloud Cup. One of them could be an additional retro cup, and one of them could be brand new. A new communities option could be enabled to allow only players who downloaded specific DLC cups to join - if you have a certain DLC cup, you make your community exclusive to owners of the new DLC by adding the option to vote for those additional tracks. That way, the players could vote for and compete on the new DLC cups without screwing up the Wifi VR races for people who didn't buy the new content.

Also, new DLC Character/ Kart combos could be added based on other franchises, such as Zelda, Kirby, Metroid, and Sonic. The data would have to be included in a mandatory update for everyone so people could race with other users who bought the content, but you still have to buy it to unlock and use it yourself.

Records for the DLC tracks/ DLC karts/players will be stored locally on the system/SD card along with the DLC packages, rather than on the game card itself. This prevent updated saves from corrupting if the game card changes ownership or is played without the MK7 patch updates. So if you beat a record using content that wasn't on the original game, the new data record is saved to the system instead of the card.

A simple quick fix for those people cheating on the Maka-Wuhu track would be to disable selection of that one track online. A later permanent fix would re-enable the track selection after it has been patched. A mandatory update is required to play online, which is appended to the "extra data" stored on the system or SD card. The server looks for the patch data when attempting to connect online; if it is patch is not current, then an error is generated and the user is prompted to go to the Shop Channel and download the update to continue gaming online. Old Maka-Wuhu glitch ghosts will desync and fail to complete the race on new patched versions of Mario Kart 7. These glitch ghosts will then be deleted from the Nintendo servers, and users who have glitch ghost data saved on their MK7 carts will have their Maka-Wuhu ghost records reset. Non-glitch ghosts will not be affected.



CreaterCurator said:

For Zelda: Ocarina of Time, they should make a new hidden temple of some sort with a new item. Or an ultimate temple in the middle of hyrule field that will test your skills that you have acquired throughout your journey. After fighting a new boss, the reward should be a new weapon that is awesome!!



StephenYap3 said:

Any kind of DLC that is better than getting stale popcorn and any game that looks good enough for new content is good enough for me, though I'll be honest and say Mario Kart 7 is in need of new content to remove the incomplete feel from it.



MeloMan said:

There's many types of games that really need to do DLC... it's the little things that keep you coming back to a good game when you have something fresh to explore.



Deviant_Mugen said:

As long as the DLC for games is developed post-release, and not already finished when the game ships, but held back from the full game so that they can charge us for it later. I'm sure Nintendo will handle this right...

Also, there's no Waluigi in Mario Kart 7?! I am outraged. Hopefully this egregious oversight is corrected by the time I do own a 3DS...



Azikira said:

Mario Kart 7 needs non-laughable characters. And while Dry Bones is merely a re-skinned Koopa Troopa, he had his own personality and definitely deserves to be in the game.
Also, games like Super Mario 3D Land, Kid Icarus Uprising and even Animal Crossing could probably have some awesome content.



GreenX1 said:

Speaking of add-ons/updates, I just got updates to some VC games on my 3DS as well as a couple of 3D Classics. What are these changes good for?



Shirma_Akayaku said:

i think they should add king boo or waluigi
and in my mind they should replace wuhu island,wuhu mountain loop, and some other crappy track and make the rainbow cup
the rainbow road tracks
N64 (with the 3 check points since it's a 2 min per lap)
GCN and




to ADD on to this i would love some dry bones (the kart or bowser or koopa)maybe shadow mario and cosmic clone mario(and for all mario remixes to have a luigi vershon)and a LARGE rainbow cup to have ALL rainbow roads



Supremeist said:

Super Mario 3D Land, (needs more characters and worlds to play) like maybe they could release a pack of characters with Yoshi, Waluigi, & Wario and release it in a pack. I also think MK7 needs some freshening up as well. Don't want to diss the tracks, but they have gotten a bit dull by taking out some of the greatest tracks in the game and putting in some rather 'lame' ones. They need to give us more tracks that were on MKWii (I want Wario's Gold Mine!!!) and some newer ones as well. MK7 also needs Dry Bones as well. Other games that need some DLC would probably just be Resident Evil: The Mercenaries. Some new missions and unlockable's would be cool.

Geez, I'm talking like this is a home console lol.



DoctorWho said:

All for it because there are absolutely no limits as to where you can go with this. New maps, characters, modes and for virtually any type of game. This finally means that with genres such as FPS and RPG, we can get dedicated expansion pack releases. Only 1 issue - you'll need a huge SD card if you intend on really getting into DLC releases.



almostnacho said:

If we're getting new 3D Land levels, I want them to at least be totally original. No Time Trial / Cosmic Mario BS.



Krishaa said:


Nintendo already stated that while developers can do what they want with DLC, Nintendo will be making their games complete experiences. Assuming that, DLC will only be sprinkles on the birthday cake rather than part of the cake itself. I assume that their DLC updates will most likely be free.

Anyway, instead of repeating what everybody has said, which is pretty much made obvious that it is the interest of most 3DS owners including myself, that they should add online functionality to Star Fox 64 3D or a Co-op mode in Super Mario 3D Land.



Vincent294 said:

Look, do we want a SSB: Brawl? Dang, the day they canceled the Smash Service was the day the online plaza became a ghost town.



WaveBoy said:

I hope we get DLC for Super Smash Bros 4 on the 3DS and Wii U(ahem, WiiDream I mean, you'll see. )
New DLC characters, Stages and weapons would be killer!
Imagine randomly getting Proto man, Better yet King Hippo or even an Egg Plant Wizard.



aaronsullivan said:

Free DLC is the way to go, but Nintendo may be behind the learning curve on this stuff. In the iOS App Store market where competition is insane, developers have learned that keeping people talking and sharing about your app/game translates directly into new sales. You don't have to charge anything for the updates with new content to make that happen and you still get money from new sales.

The other part about free DLC is that it takes away from the downside of online users segregating into groups that have DLC and those that don't and resentment of being nickel and dimed. In fact, free DLC earns goodwill.

Hopefully, Iwata is aware of this, though. Nintendo has had some good experiences with free downloads lately, I think/hope. Perhaps he is talking paid downloads here to investors who like the sound of pay, but is also softening them up to the real long term benefits that will come.

All in all, it looks like Nintendo is carefully entering the wider online world armed with lessons learned by others who have forged the way. It could end up working out very well for everyone. Here's hoping.



alLabouTandroiD said:

If you only see it as a way to promote your games it must be free for us, right ?

Free content in online-games is fine. I don’t know about paid content though. Nintendo has a great way to give their characters in Mario Kart and Smash Bros. different stats. A new character would most likely have other strengths than the ones found in the original game. Is this fair ? Especially to kids who can only afford the most essential games, no DLC ?
With stages its even worse imo. Ninty for the most part makes games for everyone. Not easily being able to play with someone who has the DLC and a resulting divide of communities is something I don’t like to see. Especially not by Nintendo.

When it comes to paid content for single-player games I don’t just want new stages, levels or dungeons. I want a motivation to play through these. While deep stories and characters might not be Ninty’s strength i still get this motivation out of their scenarios.
Princess Peach is not the only one who can be saved in the Mushroom Kingdom, Bowser’s not the only supervillain, Sheik deserves some quests on herself, Samus has a Zero Suit that could make for great gameplay, Meta Knight could more of his own little adventures, there are wingmen in the StarFox squad who could get their own quirky spaceships and levels, F-Zero could get new missions, Kiddy and Dixie Kong deserve a comeback, …
So all in all I want Nintendo to see DLC as the special and amazing opportunity that it is. To make something that’s maybe not exactly as mainstream as the full games but has great potential in gameplay and just would make fans of their games scream of joy and excitement. (Half Life Opposing Force or Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare should be rolemodels here.)

@warioswoods(11.): Amazing find. Thanks for sharing.
@StarDust(41.): Good ideas about mandatory updates for online games.



Haywired said:

"Ninty for the most part makes games for everyone. Not easily being able to play with someone who has the DLC and a resulting divide of communities is something I don’t like to see. Especially not by Nintendo."




alLabouTandroiD said:

Another option i see for the single player DLC i mentioned: Offer them as individual downloadable games. People who bought the main games could get a discount on them since without their support these nice little games wouldn't even exist. Additionally you'd attract gamers who are a bit tired of the tried and true Ninty characters but are still looking for great Nintendo gameplay.

PS: For the ideas i mentioned i wouldn't mind if they were realized in an episodic fashion. I'd just love them to become reality.



SuperUberBear said:

Personally I have mixed feelings. On one hand I'm thinking yay extra levels for mario etc... and on the other hand I'm thinking at the moment because there is No DLC Nintendo's offerings are always the full package. for example moving forward what levels don't make the retail release so they can be released as DLC? There's a lot of money to be had in DLC...



JimLad said:

Good. Nintendo should be releasing more DLC than anyone else with the amount of time they sit on games without releasing new ones.



crazyj2312 said:

I'd be willing to pay for some new tracks in MK7. Would it be possible to download Majora's Mask? Like is it possible to have it on the eShop or is the size too big?



FantasiaWHT said:

Translation - we want to be able to release half-assed, half-complete games and make people pay out the nose for the rest of the game like every other developer.



Whopper744 said:

As long as the game is still great without it (feels complete), and it doesn't cost a crazy amount, like a lot of the virtual console games. I love Nintendo, but there are slightly used 360 games that are cheaper than N64 virtual console games.



SBOY said:

As long as the free DLC aren't like in Nintendog and if you miss it you'll never get it... Then that's okay for me...



TimboBaggins said:

Bonus racers and tracks in Mario Kart, More levels in Mario 3D land, bonus missions in starfox 64 3ds, additional side missions or dungeons in Ocarina of Time, more puzzles for pushmo, extended story mode for Sakura Samurai, I could go on. and on. Online play. Online leaderboards. Make it so Nintendo, give me a reason to brag about you again.



Ashflow said:

Are all 3DS games currently capable of getting DLC?
I saw people mentioning OoT, but I didn't think that was able to be updated with DLC. Maybe a better question: Are any games currently capable of getting DLC?



Tate24 said:

Resident evil mercenaries DLC please!

New characters! weapon sets and skill would be amazing!!

New areas fight in and new deady enemies as well!

Mario kart 7

More characters, new tracks and new parts for your karts!

ace combat HL

would be even more amazing with new planes, parts and maybe online mode;)



GamerforGod said:

Anything new for Super Smash Bros. would be fantastic, but seeing that the newest version of that is on the Wii, that probably won't be happening!!!! lol However, this would be great for the newer versions of Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and the 3DS. It would sure beat waiting five years or more to get any new Super Smash Bros. content!!!! lol



SyFyTy said:

this is great news for anything like Advance wars, so we can find online players years or months after buyingthe title... but Nintendo's probably doing it to decrease pre-owned sales also.



SyFyTy said:

I like what BattleToad said above about releaseing them in episodes I thought of something similar before regarding yearsly releases. Instead of changing gameplay, battle methods etc... just add episodes.... I'd buy them for sure.



Drawdler said:

Patch for Maka Wuhu is pretty much all I want- the track is beautiful but ruined by glitchers. Second on the list would be more levels for 3D Land, I already finished it! (just need to finish the last level again with Mario...)



Blue_Yoshi said:

Just cuz a game is old doesnt mean no one can talk about it again. As a matter of fact whenever me or say another friend buy a game that our friends have already swept through we like to talk about it and give a recap of what happened and all the moments we loved about it so much. Hell even if none of us get the game we still love to reminisce on what used to be. Video Games will never get old, lets face it, there the new comic books and all of them shall be remembered as long as there good.



Capt_N said:

I really don't like the idea of being charged, for pieces of a game, that are in the game files already, but require purchasing a(n) unlock code/ticket/whatever to access the data. This could be such a great thing, if done appropriately.



ljinkakidd said:

Duh Nintendo... It's taken you guys this long! I suggest doing the same with Super Smash Bros. Universe adding DLC for stage builder, downloadable characters, and stages that you pay with your in game coins that you earn.



Bass_X0 said:

I really don't like the idea of being charged, for pieces of a game, that are in the game files already, but require purchasing a(n) unlock code/ticket/whatever to access the data.

Lets put it this way. Do you think you deserve $60 worth of game content for the retail cost of $40? No? How about the game costs $60 at retail? No? Okay... how about $40 at retail but with $20 optional DLC? Games are becoming more advanced now but with that advancement comes a higher price tag - yet people don't like paying more than $40 for games. Thats how it is these days. DLC has a purpose.



theblackdragon said:

@Bass_X0: if I purchase a game disc, I expect to be able to fully enjoy whatever's on it — if you feel it's worth more, by all means charge what you feel it's worth! I don't have a problem with DLC that is absolutely new content that I'm downloading to play, it's saved on my console and was never on the disc to begin with, but in terns of DLC that consists of unlock codes for things that are already on the disc that I've purchased? eff that.



Bass_X0 said:

Remember what happened when Capcom tried to charge more for Resident Evil Revelations just because they believed it deserved more? A $40 price cap for the full game prevents us from getting better games that cost more money to develop.

We as gamers have three choices to how the future of gaming pans out - high retail prices for the full game, regular retail prices for an incomplete game with DLC, or regular retail prices for an incomplete game with no DLC.

Hypothetically, that $40 game with high production values but with $20 worth of DLC is going to have much less production values to fit the full game into the $40 price tag.

You're saying that you wish to pay $60 for the full game instead of $40 for an incomplete game with the option of downloading the remainder for $20.

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