News Article

Mobile Dev: "Iwata Makes Me Fear for Nintendo's Future"

Posted by James Newton

Troubled times

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said last year that Nintendo is not interested in producing free-to-play software, displeasing Ben Cousins, director of free-to-play software company Ngmoco.

Speaking to Develop, Cousins discussed his belief that console manufacturers are frightened of free to play games:

The only platform where freemium isn’t making a huge impact because the console holders, as I understand it, are scared of it. There will be a perception within these companies, because they are very inexperienced in this area, that if they allow a high-quality free-to-play experience on their console it will eat into sales of premium games.

It's clear why Nintendo might be concerned that free throwaway entertainment would deter users from shelling out $40 on the next Mario game, but Cousins thinks the company should embrace free games despite Iwata's staunch objections:

Some of the things Iwata says makes me really fear for the future of Nintendo. I think there is a cognitive dissonance at Nintendo in terms of getting their heads around what’s actually happening to the industry, which is such a shame because they make such fantastic games.

Nintendo's management has more experience leading the industry than following it, but where do you stand on the free-to-play question? Should Nintendo embrace gratis gaming or would that devalue its worth to gamers the world over?


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User Comments (92)



felix330 said:

A Zelda or mario game with microtransactions would be just awful. Most of the "freemium" games make you pay more than you would on a regular game. While it's true that developers make a lot of money using this model, gamers don't profit from this. I'm really glad nintendo doesn't do this.



kkslider5552000 said:

Freemium is an incredibly stupid term. Whoever thought of that should be ashamed. That is all I have to say.



MaikoRULES said:

The thing is that Iwata never said that FTP couldnt be on their consoles. Just that Nintendo wouldnt make them. (as far as I've read)
So I'm not sure why this guy is worried. If MS, Sony, or Nintendo dont want to do FTP, then thats an open market for him



ejamer said:

Mr Cousins might be better served worrying about the future of Ngmoco instead of complaining that Nintendo doesn't embrace his brand of "freemium" games on their platform - because if one of the two companies is going to hit hard times in the next decade or two I'm willing to bet it won't be Nintendo.



Virus said:

I do quite enjoy the school of thought employed by Warioswoods...



Neram said:

Free-to-play just feels desperate to me, like they're trying to rope you in by giving you a free sample and then demanding money as soon as you're hooked. I just don't like it. This Cousins guy really needs to re-evaluate his stance on the industry.



ChosenOne25 said:

You know, all these Mobile devs and investors telling Nintendo to go mobile and stuff are just so annoying. Nintendo does what it does best: provide a unique and enjoyable gaming experience, not free-to-play and smartphone mini touch-games and trash like that. Quality demands costs and that is why Nintendo must continue to strive towards Quality products and not get affected by cheap producers and devs like these T.T Nintendo 4 LIFE!



AbuJaffer said:

I absolutely despise F2P games. You never actually own the game; you constantly need to pay for coins or tokens, and a person with those coins/tokens has a massive advantage over you. So far the only games I've enjoyed playing that have F2P are CrossFire (I've never spent a cent yet I'm still a high-end player), Guild Wars (the F2P is purely for fun, where you can get cooler looking pets and clothes and whatnot; it's really a way to help the devs), and Team Fortress (like Guild Wars, it's really just a way for devs to get money. Nobody really thinks a virtual hat is worth actual money).

Anyways, what I'm trying to say is I hate F2P games with a passion. I'd rather pay $20 for a freaking mobile game if it means I don't have to keep paying for coins and crap like that. And if a full-fledged console game comes out with micro-transactions I'd simply ignore it completely, so it's not like I can't stand their existence. I just don't want it to become "a thing" with developers; in other words, I don't want a game I would have bought normally be a F2P game with a ton of unbalanced micro-transactions.



chaosjay said:

Free to play games seem to count on people impulse buying the $25 bundle of points so they can just keep playing the game or the $10 level pack to unlock a third of the game. I like a few of them on my iPhone, but most of them go unplayed because of the ridiculous limits you hit without paying.

"The industry" insists it's the way of the future. I personally hope it's a huge bubble that's going to pop and prove the analysts wrong, kinda like they were proven wrong when the 3DS and Nintendo turned out to -not- be doomed.



Alienfish said:

Top comment is best comment. I don't want any of that 'free to play' garbage on my Nintendo console. I don't feel right when I try ftp games because I'm stuck in the middle of: Okay, do I buy everything it has to offer or just a few things or do I just want to see what I can get for free? I prefer to buy a game that has everything included and DLC is about the only post sale transaction I'm willing to make since most of that is a large addition to the full game I'm already playing. I haven't even heard of this prick or his little game company and I really don't care about it or him. Full priced AAA games are ALWAYS better than free to play garbage.



Myx said:

this free to play is just another step in the global plan to casualize videogames. it started with the wii over 6 years ago. so do not complain you did not see this development coming. you just did not want to recognize where the train was heading.



CapedGodot said:

"The only platform where freemium isn’t making a huge impact because the console holders, as I understand it, are scared of it."
Is it my imagination, or is this not actually a sentence?



Vincent294 said:

This guy's ridiculous. Game Informer's Editor-in-Chief had an article that was about how free-to-play will never take over real games, but will deter some casual gamers. That sounded about right. I doubt it will be Nintendo who is in the bad financial situation in 10 years; it will be that mobile dev.



Mk_II said:

free-to-play is a dead end street, nothing more than a typical marketing ploy. It will never be able to provide the optimal game experience, it will chip away at the market share of the premium titles and in the long run it will prove not to be a viable business model. Never mind that it's a crappy deal for consumers



Rococoman said:

ummm... I don't think ngmoco has released a game in, like, 3 years. Why should anyone be listening to him?

For anyone who follows IOS gaming, they DID have quite an interesting take on freemium gaming, "Eliminate." This was a multiplayer FPS game in which you could get points by killing other players in a small, arena-based deathmatch. These points could then be used to buy weapons and armor, IF you payed an entry fee at the start of the match. You would automatically get a few entries a day, and then just play to your heart's content without earning money for weapons. Real money could be spent to buy more entries, if you felt compelled. This formula worked reasonably well, considering that they were really pioneering not just a FPS on the iphone, but also the whole freemium thing.

Then... they just gave up. I have no idea what happened to them, but they abandoned the game and stopped releasing new games. I must admit, I get frustrated with Nintendo's insistence on sticking with their model, but 1) noone else is stepping up to the plate with games of their caliber, and 2) companies like ngmoco only do interesting things until they find their own comfort zone, then they settle just like Nintendo.

In summary - why are we listening to ngmoco, again?



NintyMan said:

A Mario game in which I would have to pay more to play more levels? I dont' think so. Besides, just look at the 3DS sales over the year and tell me again that I should be worried about Nintendo's future. Maybe this man's worried, but I'm most certainly not, and I don't imagine most people are. There always has to be somebody somewhere that has to gripe about anything. Iwata's not changing anytime soon about this.



Savino said:

This freemium market is a joke!
Yeah... you can play the game for free... but it will take 2.000 years for you to finish the game without spending a huge amount of cash to buy in-game goodies.
My wife have an Ipad and I see games that in-game credits cost sometimes 100 bucks.

I really hope that people get a little more smart to see that the freemium costs a lot more than a 40 bucks mario game. And is 100x more shallow.



Emaan said:

Lol, just because your "mobile games" will never come close to the mastery that Nintendo has achieved, doesn't mean you have to state your highly opinion. Who is this guy?



Kagamine said:

I do agree that nintendo should be more open to F2P games. I understand if they don't want to do it, but let other companies do so if they wish. Sure it may hurt sales a bit, but it will attract a wider audience in the long run. I have a friend that said the reason that he won't buy a 3DS is that games like angry birds and others on it. Of course i told him that was stupid, but then I thought about it. It's a mobile device, designed for short gameplay, why not allow games for free or small 99 cent games on it!



Spoony_Tech said:

I know its not the same as free to play but the last time I checked I've got about 10 games on my 3ds I have not paid for. That's not including the ambassador games because that was not offered to everyone. Nintendo is getting there but why should they give there games away when they have employees to pay and overhead!



ShadJV said:

My two cents... paying for a game adds value to it. There already has been studies proving that the average gamer, despite what they believe, invests less time in a game they get for free than one they pay for. Perhaps simple games would be alright free, however I think a better move would be simply releasing smaller cheap downloadable games in addition to their big titles. A short Zelda, Metroid, or Kirby game to hold fans off until the next iteration seems fair; it takes less to develop and can be a lot cheaper to buy. I think Nintendo should have free downloadable content for their titles, but the games themselves don't need to be free.



New_3DaSh_XL said:

Nintendo is doing fine. 1st, the have a ton of money, 2nd, a mobile game like Angry Birds is worth $1. MK7 or KI:U is worth $40. I wouldn't pay $40 for Angry Birds. 3DS and Wii games have more and the possibility of more content. That, and they throw a free game or two out every once and a while. Nintendo is gonna be around forever.



JakobG said:

You'd be stupid to ignore the massive potential and the inevitable future bump in popularity of F2P-games.
However, I - or anyone, for that matter - cannot say what will happen to current retail games. I suppose they will change in order to coexist, adapt to compliment the static experience; perhaps they will be singleplayer only, with no DLC (except for the occasional patch), while all the fluid, open and constantly shifting and improving content will belong exclusively to F2P.
Iwata has a point, for most of Nintendo's licenses, the F2P-format does not fit. For instance, there's little room for optional items in a Mario-game.

The best I can imagine would be an F2P Fire Emblem game where you can customize your troops and gametime would be limited with supplies crucial to restoring your health in between battles. I think a lot of people would enjoy seeing the fighting sequences with their own customized fighter, as well as battling opponents online on constantly new maps.



Whopper744 said:

Yeah, I agree with maybe having some short titles of some sort for cheap to hold people over I guess...but quality! Not just simple ideas thought up to stick on the iPhone for 99 cents.
I don't know. I just really am not a phone of all the smart phone games, and facebook games for that matter. I miss my SNES and N64 days.



C-Olimar said:

'It's a secret to everyone'. Please enter credit card information for secret. Your card will be billed for £1.99



Hokori said:

REAL gamers know what they get $40 for KI U is better the $1 for Angery Birds



tovare said:

I like the derministic cost of pay-games, but not the cost-level and the inconvenience of physical media. Game design should optimize on entertainment value and not be restricted by business model.



shinesprite said:

No, but pre-order giveaways (smiles at KI: Uprising), one week deals, and limited-time in-game DLC giveaways are a reasonable compromise.



SMW said:

This all reminds me of the Worms-like free to play PC game, Gunbound. It was fun and popular until the Cash system made it completely unfair to anyone refusing to pay up.



SkywardLink98 said:

I don't like "Freemium" games because they always give you so little at the free level and when you pay you always regret it. I think Nintendo will do just fine with the rise of "Free-to-play" games. The inclusion of cameras in the average cell phone didn't kill off big, fancy expensive cameras and "Freemium" games won't kill off regular gaming.



dizzy_boy said:

nintendo are fine as they are.
if people want crappy ftp games, let them get their silly apple ipads and mobile phones. those type of games are better suited to that market anyway.
i just don`t think that ftp games would make much of an impact for very long on games consoles. simply because gamers want to buy games in one go without worrying about having to buy them bit by bit.
besides, we get game demos which are freel, even if they are there to entice you to buy the final product.



BulbasaurusRex said:

I'd rather pay for the full experience up front than constantly being asked for microtransactions for new additions to the game.



grumblegrumble said:

I think that Nintendo will, eventually, allow porting to mobile devices, etc. The only question is when. Remember that Nintendo overtook Atari in the mid 80's as the home video console leader, but only because it was more innovative and stayed with the times. Nintendo needs to embrace the latest tech trends and allow people to purchase their games on other systems. A way they could still entice customers is to offer different versions of the same game, a shorter cheaper version on the Apple App Store, for instance, and the same game with more value (or content) but only if you play it on Nintendo's proprietary hardware. It just takes Nintendo to shift its priorities a little, there is much wealth in opening up the customer base.

Don't be afraid, Iwata! Just charge extra on other devices! $$$ More exposure and customers could actually be GREAT for Nintendo. You could say to your players "unlock this or that on the 3DS!" or "play this on the Wii U to experience enhanced content."



MasterGraveheart said:

There are very few free games I actually care about. Team Fortress 2. Cave Story (PC). Stuff like Angry Birds, FarmVille, and the like are nice diversions, but when I want to get my serious game going, I'm going for the dedicated hardware. Games ate that platform's bread and butter, not just a throwaway. Therefore, the effort will be there, especially with Nintendo. Give me the full experience. Don't nickel and dime me for years on end.

Besides, you don't see the Sistine Chapel being continuously added to and augmented. You don't see the Mona Lisa consistently augmented. You don't see the Lincoln Memorial repeatedly changed. They're complete finished works of art, just like the Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games.



aaronsullivan said:

I love that Nintendo remains as successful as it is and I don't think the F2P matches Nintendo's DNA at all.

I really don't enjoy F2P and I'm a big proponent of iOS gaming. I also don't like the Android model which is ad-supported free games, either. Why do I want diversions and ads all over everything?

10 years ago (more?) I remember watching a TV show and just talking to my wife and friend, "You know, if I could just feed a dollar bill (or maybe a bit more) into this TV to take the ads away, I would." Well, now we've come to it, and the old school Studios fight and fight against it because they are used to ad revenue. Still, many people see that a Netflix model or a reasonably priced model with video on-demand through the internet is the ideal.

Now, young start-up companies and peanut gallery shouters are trying to tell Nintendo to dive into the mess that savvy viewers are demanding TV to get out of.

Free to play devalues games for those who just twiddle with the free parts, sucks the weak into paying for little to nothing, and immensely frustrates the dedicated gamer. Does that sound like a model you'd like your own company to follow if you ran one?



komicturtle said:

Balogna. I have YET to see a free games is actually free. Lots of these games use microtransactions and ads. Angry Birds is only free on Android and Chrome. And there isn't anything premium qbout these games that stands out either. I rather pay
to support the devs anyhow.



lanabanana said:

Nahh... i don't think Nintendo should have free games. The only game that should be free is Flipnote Memo , and that's not even a game ; it's an app. And as it said in the article , free games would de-value its worth...



Debageldond said:

There are only a few free games that are actually worth playing, and they generally are ones that maybe just have a few adds and don't insist upon micro-transactions. It's a pity, because mobile games can be good, but it every one of those, there are tens if not hundreds of free games which are essentially scams with terribly shallow gameplay. People want free or to only pay a dollar, so hey get crap chucked at them. I'd much rather pay $5 or so for a good mobile game.
That being said, Iwata and Nintendo are sometimes conservative to the point of closed-mindedness. I'd much rather see them innovate and change the sphere of mobile/smartphone gaming than shun that market altogether.



BenAV said:

If developers take the time and effort of making a quality game then they deserved to be paid for it.
If games are released for free, most likely they'll either really suck, try to scam you out of more money than a retail game or a combination of both.

And besides, on my 3DS I already have 23 quality free games by my count.
Ones that are actually quality titles, and aren't trying to scam me out of any more money.



Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

So their the guys responsible for those stupid kiddy F2P games on the app store. {Yes I'm a mobile and console gamer. However these two categories should never intersect each other.}



tanookisuit said:

Free to play stuff has a place, but it really is a different beast than what a full blown gaming experience entails. If you have this stuff it's great when they're download only games such as on the eShop, iTunes, or on the PC. The problem is it only works when the maker isn't greedy. You must allow the game to be finished in a slow but reasonable amount of time for free where you entice with perks and speed ups for leveling or gear and what not. The problem is some use the system to cheapen the experience covering stuff up with ads for other games, begging to spend cash on every clickable screen, or forcing it eventually well after being committed as a form of digital blackmail to complete a title.

Done right I think it would have a place on the console makers systems as a downloadable ware, but if not, leave it to where you can spam ads and other bs on iOS, Android and random PC stuff like that D&D title and other 'free' MMOs. To say Nintendo doesn't get it is false, it's just they don't want to get into it themselves. If they allow third parties to do it, that's cool, it's an option, but if they are blocking it actively that does present an issue. I got the last gen iPad recently and I have 'free' games, but I can get the rest by slowly earning coins or buying a bundle of then to unlock stuff at a much faster pace which is great. Do it like that, and I think you'll have a good winner angle that works.



WarioPower said:

From all the free mobile games I have played, none of them can even come close to the quality of a vita or 3ds game. Mobile games (android, ios) either get very repetitive, are short, or make you pay for every little thing in them!



StarDust4Ever said:

Nintendo gave us a number of free-to-play items on 3DS, and I'm not talking about apps like Nintendo Video either. Exitebike 3D and Zelda four swords were free for a limited time.

IMO, "freemium" is a pretty stupid buzzword. If you want the ultimate "freemium" experience, just build a PC with Linux on it



CaPPa said:

Going by most of the FTP games that I've played, if that really is the future then gaming will be end up being dead a few years after. The majority of these FTP games have little substance and generally require you to pay money to get the full experience.

In a way Nintendo (more so with Sony and Microsoft) already have FTP games, they are called 'demos'. Some seem to have as much content as FTP games and it'll probably cost you about the same to get the full experience.

Oh and Iwata is awesome. With him leading Nintendo I think they will have continued success.



AVahne said:

Free to play should just be limited to games that are also Free-to-play with micro-transactions on PC (as in Ghost Recon Online, and Phantasy Star Online 2 if it were to head to Wii U). Everything else could just be buy to play like normal.



Bankai said:

if you want to present an argument for discussion, present one. poking people for the sole sake of being edgy is not kosher — TBD



AVahne said:

Then it wouldn't be Fire Emblem anymore. For something like that, Nintendo should just make a brand new "throw-away" IP with little to no story and without central memorable characters so more effort could be put into making it "free-to-play". Or make a Fire Emblem MMORPG.



Metal_Slugger said:

Just a guy trying to stir up. Nintendo isn't stupid. I haven't played a pc game in ages. I got a steam account I don't even touch it. My 3 ds, PS3, Wii, does everything I need. My apple products suck hairy golf balls for game play.



XCWarrior said:

Free to play games are for the most part junk. How this guy can say this rubbish is absurd. We won't even remember him in 5 years when he's obsolete.



Morpheel said:

What about this?
Your 3DS is a [not so free] free to play game and every game you buy for it is add-on content!



The_Top_Loader said:

@ Myx
"this free to play is just another step in the global plan to casualize videogames. it started with the wii over 6 years ago. so do not complain you did not see this development coming. you just did not want to recognize where the train was heading.

  • ah in my opinion "casual"gaming started with sony's psOne when they let just about anybody develop any kind of crappy games they wanted to. Ever see the shovelware on the psOne or 2 ??


TheRegginator said:

F2P would be horrible on the 3DS. Nintendo already takes a loss on every 3DS system sold. If somebody bought a 3DS just to play F2P games (like many casual gamers who do play F2P games), Nintendo wouldn't earn much money aside from a small percentage of the micro-transactions. Essentially the F2P companies would make a ton of money off of releasing their games on the 3DS while Nintendo would barely earn any.



nick_gc said:

No need to fear for Nintendo's future. They've got more money in the bank than this ngmoco have ever had.



grimbldoo said:

Why would you want F2P on your console? On a PC it's fine, I enjoy playing TF2 every once and a while, but I would't see the point of it being on a console.
Did anyone else notice how rude the second quote was? He out right called Nintendo a bunch of idiots.



MAB said:

Casual games started 20 years ago with the PC myx.
These wack F2P industry types and far from professional analyst gurus that slag on Nintendo are really jealous of the big N's great business strategy.
My advice to Iwata would be to keep rollin how you roll and don't let these scumbag harlequins pull you down to their bottom feeding level. Just rule your roost bro.



Shworange said:

Come on guys! You mean to tell me that you wouldn't love to get a free Mario game, but have to pay real money for every fire flower?! What!??!?! Lol. Yea, that would be rediculous. Could you imagine some clueless parent leaving their credit info on the system and find an 800 dollar charge for Mario power ups?



Monsti said:

I think it's funny that all those mobile devs think THEY are the ones who are thinking longterm while Nintendo is securing their library. In a few years thousands of game devs will make money on mobile games....and only a few of them will be able to live from that money. I don't even pay for my iphone games anymore....I know they will be free two weeks later...And once they were free I won't pay anyway. That's not how I want Nintendo to end up.



Samholy said:

That wont detract me from getting the next mario game, or kid icarus. nintendo makes quality games. masterpieces. they know their art.

freemium games never left me a good taste anyway. its great at first, real great. then you ALWAYS to a point where advancing in the game is either frustrating, unbalanced, sometimes impossible, unless you get to spend money.

i dont want to feel that in nintendo games. Theyre doing the right thing. but they shouldnt refrain from letting them coming on their consoles if it makes people decide to buy other consoles instead of nintendo to play their silly freemiums.
what a waste of money anyway.



Aviator said:

The second quote made by Cousins is completely true.

Nintendo can't continue to run the way they're going. They need to look at their competition, see what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what's the benefit of doing it.

Going blindfolded won't be the best result.

To the people saying they wouldn't buy a $1 game over a full priced game, on most cases you get a lengthy experience with the $1 purchase. This is the case with F2P as well. Look at Team Fortress 2! Personally, I have put over 400 hours into that game, because it is fun. If a game can produce an experience that is enjoyable, and that is cheap/free, I'd rather play that than buying an overpriced game.

Furthermore, on the case of the developer being 'greedy', how are they greedy when they release a game that is free to play? You're not forced to pay money to enhance your experience. You're not being prodded with a red hot poker. On most cases, these developers put great amount of effort into their games, and continue to do so. Without any income, they can't continue to support their endeavors.



Rekiotsu said:

I agree with Iwata because what bad there is, if there isn't any crappy free-to-play games.



New_3DaSh_XL said:

@grumblegrumble if they sold their stuff through other systems they wouldn't get as much money as if it were solely for, say, 3DS or Wii. They aren't going to. One of the special things about Mario or any other game is that it takes advantage of a system like the 3DS, doing something that only the 3DS can do. If they were to make 3D Land for a DROID or iPod Touch, no one would buy it because for $1 you get about a level. And it wouldnt be in 3D. The 3DS is portable. One last thing: a game with as much content as Mario Kart, 3D Land, etc, would take up almost if not all of the space on an iPod Touch 8gb, and if you had any other amount of gigabytes, then it would still be greatly affected. That and it would take FOREVER to load a game as big as that. Nintendo will never make games for tablets or phones, unless it's in 100 years, but they aren't going to run out of money, so it's not really a problem.



New_3DaSh_XL said:

Not to mention playing a game like Kid Icarus Uprising, SM3DL, or MK7 would be literally impossible. For example, in Kid Icarus Uprising, you press down on the L button to shoot, use the stylus to aim on the touchscreen, and move Pit with the Circle pad. How exactly do you think a game like Kid Icarus Uprising could even be started to be ported to something like a DROID, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, or Nook Tablet, or whatever else is out there?



Kage_88 said:

I'm so sick of these iOS developers constantly nipping at the heels of Iwata and Nintendo. The main dude from PopCap even had the gall to say that Nintendo should stop making hardware.

And now this Ben Cousins tool suggests that Nintendo (and the other console makers) cannot adopt a freemium model because they are "inexperienced" and "scared"?

News flash, Mr. Cousins - Nintendo have experimented with a 'freemium' model back in the NES/SNES days - where they offered downladable games online (yes, online & DLC - years before Playstation and Xbox).

@Aviator - I disagree. Nintendo are obviously doing something right when one looks at the phenomenal success of the Wii & DS (and the desperate attempts of imitation by Sony and Microsoft suggest they also agree).

Nintendo makes its first loss in 30 years, and people proclaim doom of the 120 year old company...ridiculous. According to Nintendo Gamer magazine, Nintendo have ¥812.8 billion in their pocket - enough to take a ¥20 billion loss every year until 2052. They also own ¥469 billion worth of "premises, equipment and investments" - which wouldn't run out until 2075. Even after all that, they would still have all their valuable IP to sell before going out of business.

Sometimes I feel as though people act butt-hurt because Nintendo love to cause 'disruption' within the industry...



warioswoods said:

Money isn't the problem for many of us who are older gamers: it's time. I actually want there to be companies willing to take my $40 or more per portable game and give me that high level of quality in return. I'd rather spend money than waste time on anything less than a top-notch, complete product.



grimbldoo said:

@JakobG #76
You are aware that if you want to get the full experience of a F2P you are going to have to fork over some cash right?



tanookisuit said:

Yeah #76 I think enough people actually are aware. By the nature of it free2play means just that, free. But, why people also call it a freemium is that while at the base level it's free, the game in the end for most won't end up being so. Like take for instance on iPad you can get Skee Ball HD, it's free. You can play all you like and do whatever you want, but, that said, you can pay for it for a couple bucks and it will remove an ad off the top of the screen (which wastes a wee bit of bandwidth as it refreshes.) You get tickets like in real life skee ball to buy prizes (some are show, some are new balls/fields) but you can also pony up a little dough if you're impatient and just get stuff right now. They're banking on human nature of being impatient over prizes or annoyance at ads to make a few bucks on a simple and fun program.

So yeah, it's free to play, but you pay to get rid of annoyances or get the most out of the game faster. Same can be said on even pay for games like for award winning unreal engine running Infinity Blade. Pay the $6 and you're good, but if you want to not take weeks to advance or more, pay up like $20 and get a few million of in game cash and buy the better/best gear you want. Dead Space does this too from EA, it's totally 100% fun and playable, but if you hate waiting for cash to come up, pay like $10 for a mil in cash to get the best body armor or weapons.



grumblegrumble said:

Free means stuffed with advertising and a slimmed down experience. I would rather pay full price and enjoy without the ads and such. Just my 2 cents.



TheGreenSpiny said:

I agree with JakobG. I don't think people understand what Free2Play means. Angry Birds is NOT F2P. "Games" like Farmville and Maple Story are free to play. What that means is you get a stripped down "trial version" (for the lack of a better term) that is free, but if you want to get anywhere of beat the game you have shell out real cash for weapons/items. People who get hooked on these games end up paying way more than $40-$60 that they'd pay for a full retail experience. Not to mention that these games are often shallow, and don't offer much in the way of gaming experiences. They only reason somebody would fork over money for Farmville rather than buy Harvest Moon is pure ignorance.



Wolfenstein83 said:

I have nothing against free games, but I have found that most (if not all of them, on Steam anyways) of them really are free to play, but if you want the good stuff, or want to make it easier to progress, you have to pay real world money.
If that is what someone chooses to do, then go for it.
Team Fortress 2 being for free was a giant leap for the sake of awesomeness.
Then again there is that free game from Doritos on the XBox360 that wasn't half bad, which was weird coming from a snack food company.
In the end, I think it wouldn't hurt for Nintendo to embrace the concept, they have nothing to lose, even if they think otherwise.
Nintendo is very stubborn and set in their ways, just a little bit of change wouldn't hurt sales of their own franchises, since everyone knows they create the best first party games on the planet, imo.
If anything it would only create a better opportunity for gamers and game developers to have more reason to choose a Nintendo console/handheld.



DarkKirby said:

Mobile Phone Game Developers saying their games are the future and larger games like Zelda and Pokemon are outdated and "in the past"? What else is new?

They say that because it's good for their business to claim it so, whether they actually believe it or not. While the majority of the mass media who've never played a good well designed console or PC game in their life, never intend to and think Angry Birds is the best game ever made, will whole heatedly agree with that opinion. Ever hear of newgrounds? You will find games made by independent developers, the top rated ones more creative and more fun then almost any of the top rated phone games these mobile phone developers claim "are the future", and are free.



MegaAdam said:

There's a ton of money in freemium games, but I'm yet to be convinced they wouldn't be better games without the freemium pay as you go nonsense.



Adam said:

Ngmocwhat? Never heard of them. This is like listening to an ant worry about a lion. Something about it just doesn't fit. No matter what this guy has done, Iwata has greater experience and success, and his opinion, whether on the mark or not, is not only irrelevant but bizarre.



DraculaX said:

Never much cared for freemium games. I believe they belong on the computer and should have nothing to do with consoles.



lex0plex said:

The way freemium games would work on a Nintendo console is if they combined the demos with the retail game available to buy after the first level(s).



Kitsune_Rei said:

While its not as widely accessible a market as Facebook, imagine how much money those Farmville type games could rake in on the eShop if they were set up to do microtransactions for meaningless stuff and bonuses? Wow.

That being said, I don't think I'd want to see them do it. Its just not quite right for consoles, other than maybe some small add-ons. I'd like to see a more MMO type game for 3DS. Like Maple Story, but not sucky.



Ultra128 said:

I buy good games because I think people who make good games deserve a reward of some kind.



Madotsuki said:

Oh, it's ngmoco. That's that company that used to make GOOD games, right?
Yeah, I'm not listening to a word they say. I've played the Free-to-Play crap they release these days. It's awful. If going from making critically acclaimed paid games like Rolando to making crap like We Rule isn't an example of selling out, I don't know what is. So yes, making Free-to-play games IS greedy, it seems, as the ludicrous amount of profits made ngmoco abandon their roots for money.



DrDaisy said:

If he's telling the truth, he needs to stop always making assumptions. I've played some of these games and the only real negative experience I've had regarding in-game content you pay for in these otherwise-free games is Sony not being completely forthcoming about their Lightning Strikes DLC pack which doesn't tell you about the Combat Level requirement until after you purchase it. Besides, I'm getting sick of Mario, especially as his voice seems to get progressively more annoying with each game.

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