News Article

Steel Diver Will Be Nintendo's First Free-To-Play Game

Posted by Andy Green

It should arrive before March 2014

During E3 Nintendo revealed it would be releasing its first free-to-play game by March 2014 but didn't give any details as to what game it would be other than it wouldn't be a Mario and Pokémon title due to both of these franchises' having such a positive relationship with consumers.

Nintendo has since confirmed with IGN that the upcoming free-to-play game is Steel Diver, which is certainly not as big a franchise as Mario or Pokémon.

For those who are unaware Steel Diver was a 3DS launch title and is an action-packed submarine combat game but this iteration won't just be a straight port and Shigeru Miyamoto has said the free-to-play model will inevitably change the game's design.

Nintendo has not yet specified which consoles Steel Diver will be coming to. With it having history on the 3DS the natural choice would be the handheld, but there's plenty of scope to bring it to Wii U as well.

What we do know is that multiplayer will play a big part in the game and it will feature a four-player battle mode.

The exact business model of this first free-to-play title is yet to be decided, and Nintendo is considering either using some sort of membership or micro-transaction type of fee in order to play other elements of the game. However, Miyamoto was quick to say Nintendo is looking to balance the entertainment value with various pricing models and hopes to bring more information soon.

What are your thoughts on Nintendo's first free-to-play game? Are you surprised? Sound off in the comment section below.


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User Comments (95)



SkywardCrowbar said:

Good decision. Don't waste Star Fox on this. From what I understand, this was a solid, fun launch title for 3DS. I'd love to see it on Wii U.



HeatBombastic said:

@SkywardCrowbar I completely agree. Not using a famous IP for an experiment that may turn into a failure is a good idea, and using an already-existing lower ranked IP, that might still have fans just made the idea better.

This one got a bit mixed reviews, but it still is a solid game.



BrightBeing said:

Free-To-Play is a blight on gaming. I'd rather Nintendo avoid it at all cost. What the flip are demos for?



ungibbed said:

This sounds like a interesting way to test the waters for a similar "try before you buy" option or perhaps something even bigger from gameplay rewards as a achievement or trophy system. Instead of a completion score to gawk at. Getting rewarded with such games after so much completion of a title, a free to play game is fully unlocked as a reward.

Something like that may be too good to be true but a new take on getting new life out of older games and rewarding such particular events completed in retail Wii U games.

One thing I hope not to see is freemium sales tactics on a home console.



herzausstein said:

Dear Nintendo,

Please release a full scale Pokemon RPG for the Wii U. This would heavily boost sales and make a man's dream come true. Please



HeatBombastic said:

@herzausstein Dear Nintendo,

Don't listen to this guy. If you make a full-scale Pokemon MMORPG, with all the same mechanics that we love Pokemon for, we'll never get a good ol single player handheld experience.



HeatBombastic said:

How was the multiplayer for this game on the 3DS? If they used the mechanics of the old game, and turned it into an online multiplayer game, including a single-player campeign/mission mode that you may or may not have to buy, would it be good?



ricklongo said:

I don't do "free-to-play", sorry.

There's stuff like Call of Duty - it isn't for me, but I can appreciate the value it brings to a console. And then there's "free-to-play" games, which I think are simply a shady practice that's better off far, far away from Nintendo consoles.



HeatBombastic said:

@ricklongo Have you ever heard of TF2? Megaman x Street Fighter? Random Adobe Flash games on Newgrounds? There are plenty of good F2P games out there, and if you have faith in Nintendo as a developer, trust them to make a good free-to-play game.



BrightBeing said:

@HeatBombastic I don't agree that TF2 did this figure fantastically. I don't believe any game sold in piecemeal is fantastic. Give me a good game (a WHOLE good game) for a fair price.



HeatBombastic said:

@SkywardCrowbar Because they think that all free-to-play games are money-grubbing machines just because they have a "store" in the menu and completely optional micro-transactions, that don't have to give someone else an upper-hand on you.



ungibbed said:

@herzausstein I will admit that I could never get into Pokémon games over the years but realize it as a strong franchise. My younger brother and part of his platoon had played Pokémon while in Iraq during their rest time when time allowed for it. Being a father to a five year old shows that Nintendo does make games for all ages. I'm actually nearing 40 and had bought my Wii U a month ago and love it along with my other game systems.

Back on Pokémon, a MMORPG version of the game would be any fans dream. Keep your hopes up, perhaps your wish will come true this generation.



HeatBombastic said:

@BrightBeing TF2 was a whole game, and you can access EVERYTHING without paying. F2Pers got to access everything in the game that was there before it became F2P. The weapons don't give an upper-hand, and it's completely optional to buy hats



SkywardCrowbar said:

If you don't think that Team Fortress 2 is a great game, then I don't know what you classify as a great game.

As for Pokemon? The main games should remain on the handhelds. They are better suited to that hardware. Other titles like the Poke Park series are fine on home consoles, but we don't need the main games on home consoles.



HeatBombastic said:

@SkywardCrowbar Unless it changes something to keep an incentive to buy the main series (eg. Colesseum completely changed how capturing Pokemon is, so there was still a huge incentive to buy the SRE), I don't think there should be a Pokemon RPG on console.



BATRA said:

hope it as no touch control?
i would play this if as no touch i like sub games but hoping to see a chess game for the wii u



HeatBombastic said:

@ungibbed Yes, I know of that option. What about it? I mean, you don't even need to spend money to play F2P games, and I was just explaining that TF2 did handle the free-to-play model very well.



HeatBombastic said:

@BATRA If it's a good game, it's a good game. Why does touch-control matter? I mean if it's personal, like an injury, I feel for you man.



ricklongo said:

@HeatBombastic I think it's important to make a distinction here. Mega Man vs. Street Fighter was a free game, and NOT "free-to-play", at least not as the jargon is being used in the industry.

People use "free-to-play" as an euphemism to denote games that focus heavily on micro-transactions (as in, "it's free to play, but the real experience will cost ya"), and this is what Nintendo is talking about here. THAT's what I am morally against (okay, sort of; I'm kinda using hyperbole here, but you get my gist).



Giygas_95 said:

This is the game I got my 3DS for. Being a big fan of submarines, I absolutely loved it, and, according to my software log, I put 90 hours into it.



lonlon-milker said:

Holy crap this is evrerything I want. I thought nintendo was going to leave the franchise alone. By far my favorite non mascot 3ds Nintendo ip.



Emblem said:

Nice, i hope they have made a new one for Wii U and not just remade the 3DS one with a few new features.



armoredghor said:

Not bad. The game didn't give me a good first impression because of the block it was attached to at its back-made it hard to grip one handed. I'll give the game a new chance. should be good.



CrazyOtto said:

I think Pilotwings Resort would be a good free game, and anyone that bought the eShop version can get a retail eShop game for free.



ricklongo said:

@TysonOfTime - I don't have any experience with it, so I can't really say. It's entirely unlikely that there are less intrusive F2P models out there (like @Kodeen suggests), and I just haven't been exposed to them.

I do know that the F2P games I have played (mainly Facebook games) constantly annoy me with their offers and unbalanced gameplay between those who pay and those who don't. For example, a while ago people in the office started playing Angry Birds on Facebook, and it was pretty fun - the game actually compares your progress on each level to each of your FB friends who are also playing. I went into a small binge of trying to best my friends for the #1 spot in every stage - and then I found out one of my top-ranked friends there had already shelled out about $40 for game-winning extras, and that's why he was doing so well. It's kind of a discomforting experience, because you feel almost compelled to spend as well. If I'm playing competitively, even in a very casual way, I like skill to matter more than wallets. That's why I mentioned being "morally against" the model in my previous post.

@BrightBeing - come on, you're humbling me.



alLabouTandroiD said:

ign wrote:

which ultimately would be available in a packaged form as well

Sounds kinda like what Tank! Tank! Tank! became.



Technosphile said:

Steel Diver would actually be perfect for Wii U. The touchscreen controls on the Gamepad, with the sub action on the TV? Sign me up.



HeatBombastic said:

@ricklongo What you're referring to is the sub-euphemism "pay-to-play" and "pay-to-win". The free-to-play stereotype is very annoying. I know BlackBond isn't exactly popular with Nintendo fans (or me), but I suggest looking at his montage of F2P games he made when someone said they only nickel and dime. If Nintendo does the free-to-play model in a respectful consumer-friendly way, like TF2, there's nothing wrong with it.



LittleIrves said:

Actually a full-scale Wii U version of this game might be stunning. The underwater environments were lovely on 3DS, but HD would make 'em shine and the GamePad is a freaking periscope already! Please make it a home console game. Seems the F2P framework is already there (with T!T!T!) more so than on 3DS, so hopefully this isn't too crazy of a proposition.



HeatBombastic said:

@ungibbed That doesn't actually matter. It's an example that the free-to-play model can be used in a consumer friendly way, and if we trust Nintendo as a developer, we shouldn't be against free-to-play in general, but rather the dark practices they could possibly do.



Sean_Aaron said:

Worked for me with Tank Tank Tank so I'm down and this does look like an interesting game.



HandheldGuru97 said:

Actually this is the prefect game to "test the waters" of a F2P Nintendo game. I'll watch this with intrest. I myself never got the 3DS game, but I'll look into this one...



WebHead said:

We'll see...could work. I was hoping that the game would be a new IP though. Oh well.



Xilef said:

Interesting. Seems like a good IP to experiment with the F2P model. I has to be on the Wii U right? The 3DS doesn't support F2P if i remember correctly.



ungibbed said:

@HeatBombastic as a developer with over 20 years in the industry, I do know what evil can emerge depending on the game. Steam already rakes in vast amounts of money to support TF2 with very little fuss if at all.

On the other hand if companies like Gameloft and even EA "jump in" this way, the annoyance of advertisements still pop up despite paying for the "ad free" product. Instead you get advertising for the publishers other games on the same platform (iPhone and iPad in my case). Even Sega has started this trend burning those who paid full price for a ad free experience. Only months later to have full screen ads for the same publishers other games despite your paid status.



SkywardLink98 said:

It'll be interesting to see how Nintendo approaches free-to-play. F2P can be very good, but if done incorrectly, be awful.



AVahne said:

They could make a Wii U and 3DS version.
I'd love for them to make a Wii U version and put most of the Wii U's power toward WATER AND EXPLOSIONS. ESPECIALLY WATER.



AVahne said:

I don't see why it can't. You can get free games on 3DS, and you can pay for DLC in-game as well. Pretty sure the 3DS supports F2P.



Jeremyx7 said:

I always wanted to give this game a try but never did. Now I will when the time comes to play it for free. ^_^



Senate_Guard said:

I've been thinking about buying this for the longest time. It looks like a solid, fun title that was overlooked at the 3DS's launch.

But hey, free is always nice too!



iphys said:

Just please not touchscreen controls again, as it drove me nuts having to look back and forth between screens. If you never played it: imagine if you had to look at your controller every time you wanted to push a button, meanwhile losing track of what's happening on your TV, then looking back at your TV and being in a hurry to react, but then having to look for the controls again to be able to do so, meanwhile losing track of what's happening on the TV again, and so on.



hYdeks said:

Isn't this basicly free already? You can get it for $3 new, and I seen it as low as 75 cents used at GameStop If they brought this and something else, than that would be a great start.



Kyloctopus said:

Pretty smart decision. I liked Steel Diver. I tried to squeeze as much fun from the game, but with only 15 missions that are 10 minutes at the most, its hard to do so.
I traded in the game, but that doesn't mean it was a bad title.



BATRA said:

@iphys i no what you mean that's why i did not buy this game on 3DS hope it does not have touch control i like to see chess on the wii u



shingi_70 said:

Was hoping for Battalion Wars myself. The game would work great with the gamepad.



Relias said:

Sad thing is.. I have copies of Steel Diver up on Ebay... you can't give the darn things away... which is sad.. cause from what I hear it's a good game.. Maybe this will renew some interest in the title.. who knows.. next up.. Punch Out.. make it happen Nintendo..



WiiLovePeace said:

Hmmmm interesting... I bought Steel Diver new for $5 iirc. It's really fun, I should go back & beat it some time. I wonder how much extra content is coming to make me (as an owner of the game) want to download it again as a F2P. Interesting...



Shane904 said:

While I don't like F2P, using an IP that isn't well known isa good idea.



StarDust4Ever said:

Could be interesting. I passed up steel diver at 3ds launch, so this sounds like a unique opportunity to play.



Grubdog said:

STEEL DIVER OMFG! This would be perfect for Wii U, looking through the GamePad to fire torpedoes. Will buy in any capacity.



NiBar said:

It's one of the best 3ds games, really fun and challenging with great graphics and stunning 3d effect, sadly no one really bought it..



banacheck said:

I total agree with HeatBombastic that some Free-2-Play games work, you can play them sort of games without actually having to pay anything. Over pay-2-win games that are designed to give paying customers an advantage.



Fillytase said:

Will definitely give this a try when it comes out. I can't see myself being willing to pay for anything in this game, so it will depend on how "free" it actually is. As others have said, there are varying approaches to F2P. Looking forward to seeing how Nintendo attempts it.



OptometristLime said:

Like half these posts... are from the same person.

On topic: nice choice by Nintendo, this series is in need of some love!



hypercoyote said:

Yea, I had no interest in buying this game, but I'll check it out just because it's free.



Blue_Yoshi said:

I bought Steel Diver shortly after the 3DS launched because I got bored of the games I had to play at launch. Surprisingly it was sold out at a Gamestop I went to and I ended up buying for full price at $40 which I later could find for $20. As cool as the game was it wasn't worth the full retail price but still pretty cool nonetheless. The 3D visuals would translate well in HD as well as the touch screen controls on the tablet. Probably going to make you buy submarines. I'm glad there continuing this unique franchise which started out as a tech demo for the original DS.



RobbSnow said:

Steel Diver was a game I never bought, but was always interested in. When I rented it I absolutely loved it. I beat it fairly quickly and returned the game. I have been hoping they would release it on the eshop for 10 bucks, would have been a perfect price point. When they released Tetris Axis for that price I really got excited. I really hope this experiment works out, because this game is fun and has a lot of potential



Shambo said:

whatever people say against f2p, i don't get it.

so basically, you get a free demo.
if you like it, you toss a bit of money in to expand it. anything you don't like you leave out, and you don't have to pay for it.

step 1: free demo download
> like it?
>yes: buy what bits you like,
pay only for what you'll get.
>no: you are free to remove it,
that is also free.

i hope this simple flowchart helped.
still, i like full retail games better for my collection.



Windy said:

Its a good decision. Steel diver has a lot to offer and can have more to offer if they can change the game through DLC. I would much rather see an online RPG such as Star LegendsLegends, phantasy Star online or arcane legends if they are going to do some sorta pay as you play business model. Heck I would pay 5.00 a month to play PSO again and in 3d



SyFyTy said:

I recently just bought this game. 6-17-13, If you are on the fence about it, don't be, it's fantastic, and fun. Get it you wont regret it. Oh, and it's not as short as most would have you believe. The replayability is there I hope N offeres different maps for this, I get to experience more of this awesomeness then.



Senate_Guard said:

@Le_Wario26 I saw it opening weekend, then a second time a little later, even saw the 3D Re-release, and also own it on VHS, DVD, and a VHS Collector's Edition. Not a bad SW film.

I'll never fully understand what's literally the biggest bandwagon for hatred on one character, that's not even close to being as bad as people make him out to be.



Henmii said:

I hope we just get the whole game! It would be rubbish if we only get a portion, and that we have to pay for the rest!

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