Not too long ago Europe and Japan enjoyed an update to the StreetPass Mii Plaza, which brought a fresh layout and a batch of four new games to choose from. The catch is that these additions come at a price — they're £4.49 / €4.99 each, or there's a Combo pack of all four available for £13.49 / €14.99. We've already considered some of the rights and wrongs of monetising StreetPass, but nevertheless they seem to have been popular, which is sure to frustrate North American gamers awaiting their arrival in the region.
These new games were a topic raised at the recent investor Q & A, with a general consensus being that they're entertaining new additions to the system. When asked about the titles and their similarity, in some respects, to development of mini-game compilations such as Wii Play: Motion, Iwata said the following.
In a way, we have until now been trying to create an environment in users can experience the StreetPass feature, so our objective was to create something that was simple and easy to understand. But we feel that the next step for us to take is to create games that are deeper, and we have actually been working on them for quite some time. You also mentioned “Wii Motion: Play,” a product we released when we first developed Wii Remote Plus. This controller was bundled with the software, and we offered it at a competitive price point. At the time, we had various software developers vie with each other to design products that took advantage of Wii Remote Plus: it was a competition of games. And we put what they created into one package. At the time, Wii was not ready for the kind of model in which one sold add-on content separately (after a software title’s initial release). To add to this, digital distribution was not as active so we decided not to adopt this model at the time.
But we now have the environment where we can do such things, and as we considered what we could do with Nintendo 3DS, we felt that it might be interesting to expand StreetPass Mii Plaza by adopting a similar (competition-style) model that we took in the past, and I’m happy to say that the new StreetPass games are the product of our year-long preparations. As you pointed out, we only started distributing those new games a week ago, but already more than two hundred thousand consumers had purchased at least one out of those four games by last Sunday. We employed no mass-media advertising so we think we are off to a good start. I think that products like these ones will provide new business opportunities for Nintendo in the future. I take it that you are very satisfied with our new games, and we feel that if our consumers determine that the price of a particular game that we offer matches the content that it offers, then there will be more people who try our new propositions.
The statistic of over 200,000 3DS owners buying one or more of these mini-games is fairly impressive considering the low-key launch — as stated, there was no real advertising — and the fact that North America is yet to add sales of its own. These comments also open up the potential for mini-games as small DLC offerings in the future, something that could be a good fit for the likes of Nintendo Land and Wii Party U.
Do you like the idea of games like these being offered as small DLC titles, rather than bundled retail compilations on either 3DS or Wii U? Are you in North America and wondering where the heck your StreetPass update is? Let us know below.