News Article

Nintendo to Launch First Free-To-Play Game By March 2014

Posted by Mike Mason

What could it be?

At an analyst briefing during E3, Nintendo has confirmed that it plans to launch its first free-to-play title at some point during the current fiscal year — that's the end of March 2014.

There's no confirmation of platform or title just yet, so we'll have to wait to find out if it's Wii U or 3DS that will be home to Nintendo's first experiment in the free-to-play market. Nintendo hopes that DLC initiatives, such as upcoming expansion pack Super Luigi U, and free-to-play titles will help to boost digital sales on its systems.

However, don't get your hopes up for Mushroom Kingdom: Tapped Out or Pikachu virtual pet simulators. Nintendo has ruled out free-to-play Mario and Pokémon titles due to the franchises' positive relationships with consumers — something it doesn't want to sour. Could this mean that a new IP is on the way, so as to minimise the risk of diluting an existing brand, or could we see the revival of another, smaller series revamped with free-to-play in mind?

Is there any particular Nintendo series that you'd like to see made into a free-to-play title?

[via twitter.com, twitter.com, twitter.com]

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User Comments (74)

Wiidsguy

#4

Wiidsguy said:

Tank tank tank. On the wiiu eshop is free to play. Me and my daughter have been having a blast. I only wish it was online.

NintendoGirl

#9

NintendoGirl said:

I think it would be good to use existing series for free games. That way, if somebody is too cheap to buy games (cough me cough) they can try it out and see if they like it. If they like it, they'll know to buy other games in that series.
BAM! A well-planned marketing scam! ;)
I would totally play free games and buy the real stuff if I liked it enough.

Fazermint

#12

Fazermint said:

I'm hoping it's some kind of lightweight online rpg, perhaps in the lines of Maplestory. Maple sucks now, but it was really decent a few years back. One can dream, right?

Captain_Gonru

#13

Captain_Gonru said:

Battalion Wars. I could see a variant of XBLA's Happy Wars working for that IP. As you level up, you get access to better weapons and vehicles, or just buy some better stuff with real-world money. And they haven't touched it since the early days of the Wii.
I'm not a huge fan of F2P. There is some real garbage out there. But, I'd like to see a company I trust try to change my mind.

GiftedGimp

#16

GiftedGimp said:

I'm not a fan of Free-to-play, most of the time f2p games work out to be over expensive rip-offs if you really want to make any progress in them, as proven by the hundreds of f2p games on mobile devices.
Mobile devices get away with it because for the most part people play for a short time and don't mind restrictions in place when you don't spend any/much money on them. The Console market is different and gamers tend to want to progress through games without monetary restriction in place.
I do wonder if Nintendo could get the right balance though, Namco's TankTankTank is a good example in that you buy the paerts you want yet allows you, in a extremely limited way to play for free.
At the moment i'm more curious than anything else.

Laxeybobby

#19

Laxeybobby said:

Interesting and something to watch for the future.
How about a free to play Nintendo universe themed RPG MMO?

rjejr

#25

rjejr said:

So is this a Nintendo dev game or another F2P game?

If another, Puzzle and Dragons Z is coming to 3DS, so the original on WiiU would make sense.

That or Candy Crush ;-)

Haxonberik

#28

Haxonberik said:

Im positive as long as they dont mess with existing franchises, as they say they would.

ricklongo

#31

ricklongo said:

"Free to play" has got to be the most hilarious euphemism in the industry right now.

The only "free to play" I ever do is demos for games I'm thinking about buying.

pntjr

#32

pntjr said:

Unless it's absolutely AMAZING, I don't think this can save the Wii U.

Burning_Spear

#34

Burning_Spear said:

^^^ It's a misnomer. It means the game is initially free and then you pay as you advance to other sections.

Mr_Vengeance

#36

Mr_Vengeance said:

Oh no. This isn't good news for the long term. All this puppy-do-do-dingleberry scammy crap coming to my beloved Ninty systems :( Then again, if New Super Luigi U (dlc) and Mario and Donkey Kong and Fallblox (digital downloads) are anything to go by, then its likely that Nintendo will do this trend justice to some degree hopefully.... I just wish that they'd just continue on with full priced box products - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Edlicious

#37

Edlicious said:

I think a Kid Icarus fighter would be pretty sick. Basically like the 3DS versus mode but you level up and unlock new weapons and upgrades and powers as well as you can buy additional items and powerups with cash. Even better would be if you could also have different armor, like helmets, chest pieces. etc.

GamerZack87

#38

GamerZack87 said:

@MAN1AC: A cash grab would imply it wasn't free-to-play in the first place. Nintendo isn't one to often rush their games anyway. ;)

As for possible revivals of classic franchises...hm...what about StarTropics? It's to The Legend of Zelda as Kid Icarus is to Metroid, and Pit made a comeback after a near-20-year leave-of-absence, so why not wheel-spinning Mike? :)

Epicnessofme99

#44

Epicnessofme99 said:

Free to play isn't always bad, and when done right it's fantastic (Look at League of Legends) it has a huge playerbase and is very fun.

Tra_Venous

#45

Tra_Venous said:

I'm gonna say....Pro Wrestling, with DLC packs for new wrestlers, and extras for CAWs....dare to dream.

MrL1193

#47

MrL1193 said:

@Play_It_Loud "Nintendo has ruled out free-to-play Mario and Pokémon titles" "'Nintendo free to play game will be released this fy but will not be Mario or Pokemon game'"

That really couldn't be any clearer...

MadAdam81

#48

MadAdam81 said:

Nintendo won't go for pay to win, or pay to have fun. If there is any cash elements, it would he pay to customise, or pay to unlock a bit quicker.
An FZero game would be good, starting with one racer and craft, gradually unlocking more unless you pay to unlock your favourite now.

devilwaffle

#49

devilwaffle said:

It's hinting that it is to try to help the company's relationship with a certain franchise, and as I'd LOVE this to be a cheaply made free-to-play Chibi Robo title... I'm expecting it to be Wii Fit U demo with exercises that don't use the Wii Fit Board, to help ease the haters that don't like the new Smash Bros character...

Gilius

#50

Gilius said:

Lol, shame that Wii U just made Demo Games available. Even Nintendo DS had Demo's. You'd have to go on Nintendo Video through Nintendo Wii and use your DS to find demo's.

d_rock

#56

d_rock said:

I'm guessing it'll involve our Mii's in some sort of virtual Streetpass-land. MMO-style.

withoutdk

#57

withoutdk said:

let's hope the game is worth playing... :) if not.. i have 10 other games for the wii u :)

F4LLEND4RK

#59

F4LLEND4RK said:

Sounds interesting but the question is will it be pay2win? (90% of free2play games are pay2win.)

orravan85

#62

orravan85 said:

The first thing I thought when I read this was like something along the lines of old retro games with spiffy new graphics.

SilentHunter382

#63

SilentHunter382 said:

Its nice they are releasing some F2P games I am only sticking with one because I rather just dedicate my time and money to just one. It can get very expensive if you start and play more then one.

Araknie

#64

Araknie said:

@DarkCoolEdge Said the person that didn't even know what it was. You got SWAG, sir.

I'll wait to see what it is, Pokèmon MMO would be RAAAAAAD!

AJWolfTill

#66

AJWolfTill said:

My first thought was Theatrythm: Legend of Zelda
But I could definately see this being somthing like Brain Training or Wii Fit U.
Otherwise a Balloon Fighter or Ice Climber game with blocked later levels?

HeatBombastic

#68

HeatBombastic said:

If free-to-play will give us a new IP, then bring it on.

Some people are saying Nintendo shouldn't do F2P and stick with $60 disc games, and make a new IP there. But the game will be designed differently than $60 games with F2P in mind similar to how portable and console games are designed differently.

Designed for F2P doesn't necessarily mean nickel and diming. It just means they'd try to make a hook, combined with ample gameplay, like trading in TF2.

By the way,Tank! Tank! Tank! downloadable edition wasn't released by Nintendo.

Windy

#72

Windy said:

Alot of people talking doom on Wii-U these days :( It will be fine. I think Home consoles in general will be hurting with all this great portable gaming. So many of my friends and it seems the rest of the world are all playing portable these days. I just think the Wii-U needs to find that Niche that brings people back to the TV. But what would that Niche be? I don't think the niche is motion controls. I think it would be to take all energy to the Gamepad and offer any and all playable through that pad. So far they have done alot like that. It just seems that portable gaming is leaving consoles in the dust

WYLD-WOO

#74

WYLD-WOO said:

None of my friends own a Nintendo system but they all spend silly amounts of money on add on`s for free games like Candy Crush on their apple devices.

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