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?