News Article

Nintendo Planning to Offer "Flexible Price Points" for Games

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Will utilise conditions to encourage sharing, buying more

Satoru Iwata's Investor Briefing contained some intriguing proposals, and one that may become particularly important for enthusiastic gamers is a plan to introduce a new pricing structure for titles on Nintendo's systems.

Nintendo aims to introduce new sales mechanisms to break out of the relatively flat current retail pricing structure, potentially rewarding those that promote, share and buy more games. Although a medium-term objective, Iwata-san has stated that there are plans to experiment with these ideas on the Wii U "at an early stage".

The way in which dedicated video game systems and their software are sold has not changed significantly since the business model of dedicated video game platforms was first established 30 years ago. Dedicated video game systems are sold for two hundred or three hundred dollars, on which standalone software titles are distributed for 30 or 50 dollars. This simple model received widespread support from consumers that enabled us to create today’s market. The decision to change it is the manifestation of our recognition that we cannot expect this model to work forever amid dynamic changes in people’s lifestyles.

If we succeed in the redefinition of video game platforms that I speak of today, our account-based connections with consumers will become very clear. For example, until now it has been taken for granted that software is offered to users at the same price regardless of how many titles they purchase in a year, be it one, five or even ten titles. Based on our account system, if we can offer flexible price points to consumers who meet certain conditions, we can create a situation where these consumers can enjoy our software at cheaper price points when they purchase more. Here, we do not need to limit the condition to the number of software titles they purchase. Inviting friends to start playing a particular software title is also an example of a possible condition. If we can achieve such a sales mechanism, we can expect to increase the number of players per title, and the players will play our games with more friends. This can help maintain the high usage ratio of a platform. When one platform maintains a high active use ratio, the software titles which run on it have a higher potential to be noticed by many, which leads to more people playing with more titles. When we see our overall consumers, they generally play two or three titles per year. We aim to establish a new sales mechanism that will be beneficial to both consumers and software creators by encouraging our consumers to play more titles and increasing a platform’s active use ratio without largely increasing our consumers’ expenditures.

Nintendo aims to work on this brand-new sales mechanism in the medium term, but we would like to start experimenting with Wii U at an early stage.

Some promotions from Nintendo in the past hint at the concept of rewarding product loyalty, for example offers that provided a free eShop game when a number of others were registered on Club Nintendo, eShop credit for buying certain downloads, or offering specific discounts on one title when another is downloaded. Those ideas have happened already, in limited form, from Nintendo and smaller developers on the eShop platforms, but it'll be interesting to see what the company implements that is consistently applied for multiple games on a permanent basis. The concept of rewarding those that share and convert others has also been tried in the past with the Wii Ambassador Programme, encouraging owners to help others connect their systems online.

What kinds of "sales mechanisms" would you like to see from Nintendo?


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User Comments (86)



shaneoh said:

Could be a good thing, would certainly help with the high cost of games here in Australia



erv said:

"increasing a platform’s active use ratio without largely increasing our consumers’ expenditures."

Sounds like more games at lower price points that I can get. Count me in.



Pit-Stain said:

That doesn't sound like a bad idea. It's really great how Nintendo change there sales mechanism so often. I hope the future gives us better services.



Tsurii said:

@erv that's exactly the point
Atm I can't really imagine how it'll work, but ifthey do it right - and that concept sounds really good - I can certainly see more people buying more games what has to result in more games overall.

Seems like this conference delivered some highly interesting (and in the case of "Blue Ocean" innovative) concepts.

I'm super eager to see how 2014 turns out for Nintendo, the Wii U and - to me the most important one - us consumers.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

That was unexpected, but I'm impressed. It's somewhat genius to come up with a purchase-based reward system that directly affects consumers through discounts and stuff. We never had this kind of system before, and it sounds like the perfect solution while not having to cut the WiiU price - but I wonder if Nintendo will advertise such a system strongly enough...



AJWolfTill said:

Oooh, this is exciting! I will hold off from registering my Wii U games in club nintendo in case something exciting happens.



BakaKnight said:

Well... I admit that personally I would end to buy way more games if each purchase will make the next one cheaper.

I also loved as model the 3DS promotions of 2013 ^O^
Knowing I could get a complete new game just released for free thanks to my 3 previous purchase was too good for be true (but was true indeed OoO; ) and it was amazing the possibility to be "invited" in MH3U by a friend

To be fair I doubt Nintendo will keep THAT level of promotions, they were really too too good for us consumers, but maybe maybe what awaits us will be even better, afterall sounds like Iwata want to revolutionize the core of the system about games' pricing, we could be on the edge of a big change for the gaming industry and again it will be done by Nintendo



DualWielding said:

this sounds so great, seems like Iwata is finally willing to do things differently, nothing they'll do will make the Wii U a success, but if they keep this up they can make a strong comeback with their next console, and the 3DS, well the 3DS already rules but every benefit counts



BooJoh said:

How about cross-platform Virtual Console between 3DS and Wii U? That would get me to buy more VC instead of being indecisive about which version to get until I give up and don't get either.



Buduski said:

Definitely good news for me, I bought 9 Wii U games (not including VC games) and I bought 7 3DS games (not including indie and VC games) in 2013, so who ever says the Wii U doesn't have games is crazy!



AlexSora89 said:

Cheaper stuff? "Encouraging sharing"?
Who spilled all this Microsoft on my Nintendo?
Which, of course, is always good news for us gamers.



NintyMan said:

If this is something like a rewards system to give cheaper prices to those who keep buying more Nintendo games, this could be wonderful.



alLabouTandroiD said:

I just hope that boxed retail releases aren't left out of this equation.
I mean it's understandable that Ninty wants to push eShop-only as much as they can since it involves lower costs than packaged games but if i get download codes for games that i'd rather have as boxed copies it doesn't exactly motivate me to buy more games.
Give me eShop credit instead and i'll probably be fine.



smikey said:

@BooJoh They have already mentioned linking the Nintendo id at some point so that in theory will eventually happen.

As for these promotions I own 45 wii u disc games, all e-shop games bar 2 (kens rage is too expensive & f-1 race stars which i will get in the next few weeks) I also own most vc games.

Of course I speak as a collector / Nintendo fan boy if you prefer so I obviously buy more than most (own every console & handheld with many many games)

But the less it costs the more even I can buy.
The only problem is these free or discounted games will all be download only no doubt & as a collector I want disc versions but I guess I can put them on the second Wii u I bought for my son at xmas if only they'd give you it as e-shop credit (I know that won't ever happen)

Still good news all around for everyone

In edition extending the Nintendo premium for the life of the console (or beyond) and adding 3ds to it is a great insensitive I've already had £50 credit from it in a year.



xxAcesHighxx said:

Sounds good to me! As someone who has bought 12 retail games on Wii U, and downloaded 16 eShop titles (plus another 4 on the VC) in the last twelve months, any kind of dynamic/flexible pricing structure has this gamers backing!



BooJoh said:

@smikey666 NNIDs are already linked between the two, tied to a single Wii U and a single 3DS, and yet they still continue to release VC games separately. Since the NNID link we saw Castlevania 2 release on 3DS and Wii U on the same day but getting both still requires paying full price twice.



ICHIkatakuri said:

Aaaaaaah, well I have a game buying problem so this isn't going to help, about to hit 8000 points on nintendo network premium



SMW said:

Who wouldn't want this? Personalized discounts based on what you buy and recommend. That'd be sweet.



Spoony_Tech said:

I'll take another 30 eshop credit just for owning one game and purchasing another ie SMT IV



ricklongo said:

Given that I buy one retail 3DS game and one retail Wii U game every month (with several cheaper e-shop titles thrown in as well), this makes me very happy.



element187 said:

"nothing they'll do will make the Wii U a success'

@ferthepoet how do you figure? Is there a one year time limit on selling a console? They have several years to figure how to sell the system, why is it already too late? The PS3 had god awful sales for two years, why doesn't Nintendo get the same level of benefit of doubt?



MrCharles77 said:

They need to release games far as I can tell, donkey kong delay was strategic because if they relesed it in december the first 6 months of the year would be very sad. Many asked for the big january direct?? Why bother nothing new to show, many off the things we saw in the other directs don't came out yet?!?! Even indie titles...everything is getting delays...



Platypus101 said:

@AlexSora89 ROFLMAO! Never EVER heard of Microsoft "sharing"! They are one of the tightest most expensive companies on earth! Buy an operating system fully loaded from them, then you'll know what I'm talking about.



Platypus101 said:

@ferthepoet huh? I have to agree with Element187... Your statement is "sophmore-ish"... Both the 3DS and PS3 turned around AFTER more than a year of languishing... So, huh?



Platypus101 said:

@MrCharles77 I'm there with you, I love my Wii U, but WTF! A good number of games are getting delayed (pick your console!) Nintendo Direct? Come on, a good 20% (maybe more, work has kept me from really keeping up) of the titles mentioned are either delayed or TBA status.... Another Nintendo Direct with empty promises I'll pass.



AlexSora89 said:

I've owned a used 360 since last November, and trust me, Microsoft - whatever their faults are (and they do have their own fair share of flaws) - can pull off some impressively nice discounts sometimes.



Rin-go said:

I find the "Finally" comments kinda funny. Not just in this case, but overall. Because we don't even know since when some things were planned. They could have worked on some things even before the Wii U launched.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Kaze_Memaryu Well the system has existed before. For example, does something similar when you invite friends to the site.

I just hope this isn't a temporary measure like the digital plan.



goonow said:

A sale on first party titles would be nice. I think mario kart ds still sells for full price lol



slidecage said:

could see them set up
BUY 1 to 4 games NOrmal price
BUY 5 to 9 games 10% off
10 Games to 19 games 20% off
20 to 29 games 30% off

and it would keep track in a store



bizcuthammer said:

I just want them to lower the prices of their games after a certain period of time has passed... Sony's first party games get prices reduced like that, like Uncharted and Infamous, while Walmart and Gamestop are still selling Mario Kart Wii and Kirby's Epic Yarn for $50 a pop. Those came out years ago, and are no longer worth that price when there are better, more recent games that are cheaper than they are.



KryptoKrunch said:

Nice. I imagine this will tie into Club Nintendo in one way or another. There have been some good discounts on the eShops lately; I can see that continuing and maybe even them offering eShop credit if you buy X amount of games/spend X amount.



Sean_Aaron said:

I buy a lot more than three full retail-priced titles per year, but I tend to be risk adverse in what I'm buying. I wasn't a big fan of Wonderful 101, but giving me a discount for buying Pikmin 3 was the biggest factor in my taking a chance. If the volume of software I bought was rewarded in a more meaningful way via eShop discounts rather than Club Nintendo currency I don't spend because I don't care about Mario notepads, I'd probably be more likely to splash out on a game I was unsure about buying otherwise.



rjejr said:

As happy as I am to see Nintendo do something I need to see it implemented before I call anything "innovative". PSN has had cumulative sales for years, they are running 1 right now - buy 1 save $3, but 2 save $6 buy 3 save $9. Not exact $ amounts but along those lines. Kmart had a video game discount coupon promotion a couple of Christmas' back that kept everybody on CAG buying game after game, myself included.

So yes, bring on the sales and the promotions, but don't pretend it's a new model for the industry unless it is. I'm talking about Iwata's use of the word "redefinition", not this articles viewpoint on what Iwata said.



Yorumi said:

Makes me happy, I buy plenty of games. I'd also love to see them do something like steam and gog sales, those will get you buying games you never play.



Zombie_Barioth said:

Sounds good, but I'm gonna wait until we see it put into practice first before getting excited. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

It sounds like they get that people can't (or don't want to) afford many games, but that doesn't mean we'll see steam like sales either. For all we know its a minor expansion of the e-shop discount they gave out with deluxe Wii Us.



Yoshi said:

@MrCharles77 This investor briefing gave out a lot of information that a Nintendo Direct would. Focus wasn't on games, though, but it was still very interesting.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

@Ernest_The_Crab Hm, didn't know that, but it sounds much more exploitable. We'll see what Nintendo actually makes out of this idea, but it sounds better to reward players for buying games themselves than making others buy them on your recommendation.



sinalefa said:

Sounds great. They encourage more (digital) sales, reward early/eager gamers, and that way there is a discount on games without actually lowering the MSRP, making people actually get games soon instead of waiting for the inevitable price drop.

And the frequent usage and sharing stuff seems to combat the Wii syndrome, where users would get Wii Sports and then not touch their systems or buy new games.

I really need to look into getting a Hard Drive, then.



SavoirFaire said:

I think a good idea would be to drop the base price of, say, a SNES game 10 or 15 cent for each one you own, eventually bottoming out at 3.99 or 3.49 a game. Cross platform purchases are a given.



wariosmith said:

digital games are great BUT...
I for one am not going to buy any full priced download games, for one reason, resale. I've been stung recently. I had a 3DS with Zelda LBW and Mario 3D on it... completed them, wanted to sell the system, but couldn't recoup my investment as you have to format the 3DS unless you want to leave your Nin ID and therefore eshop on it... (I don't have another 3DS to transfer to)
On the flip side, I purchased a disc version of COD Ghosts (only because the player number on CODII dropped off a cliff) and really don't like it... so I can turn around and sell it and just take a small hit, rather than 100% of my outlay...
I need to finance my next purchases somehow!



Nintenjoe64 said:

@wariosmith a little off topic but what are the numbers like on Ghosts now? Black Ops was up to 3k before Ghosts and still gets 1-2k. I'd consider getting Ghosts if it regularly gets more players but if not I will stick to BO2.



Nintenjoe64 said:

If Nintendo do any more decent promotions involving first party games (like the Pikmin/W101 deal) I will buy an HDD and join @MAB in the promised land of less glitchy digital gaming but so far, going digital would have cost me 25% more per game and I wouldn't have been able to trade games for beer tokens when times were tough.



sonicfan1373 said:

This is good news and the quicker it happens the better. Games are starting to cost $80 here in Canada and the pricing is even more ridiculous in other countries like Australia and various European countries.



wariosmith said:

@Nintenjoe64 Ghosts has a reasonable number of players, most of the core games have a party going on... I just found that the colour scheme was drab so unless you have a huge high res screen you can't see people before they see you... and level size vs player number ratio was off... so you'd hunt around for people, only to get hit by a camper... grrrr
CODII is even worse, can't even get a core Ground War (which was great as it has the most people and rotates through KK / domination)



GalacticMario28 said:

Playing more games = cheaper games in the future? Yes, please! That is exactly what I need. I'm a little worried about how Nintendo plans to avoid losing money from this, but if they can find a way, I think they should definitely do it as soon as they realistically can.



Shambo said:

Now we're talking. Shove some games aside, maybe you'll find a seat underneath. Let's talk some more. Rewarding 'loyalty'? Cheaper prices? Social advertising? What are you waiting for?



unrandomsam said:

The only reasons consoles got away with higher pricing is because of the fixed costs of the cartridges. There is no longer any reason they should be more expensive than a PC game. (£30 RRP).

They need to work out how to maximise the whole thing most of the time. (Ideally by destroying the used parasites).



IxnayontheCK said:

I wish they would do their own Gamefly style download program where you download and can continue playing a game for X number of days unless you renew it.
My concerns about all these new ideas is are they knee jerk reactions that will be stupid and watered down, or won't see light of day til mid 2015...



Anguspuss said:

great idea. As a lot of us would prefer just to download games but the full retail price is a joke. But discount system would be great



Doma said:

@Yorumi But devoted Nintendo fanboys argue that Steam/GOG like sales are an extremely damaging and suicidal business move. I'm surprised to see you not siding with that mentality.



SigourneyBeaver said:

Don't they already do this on eShop games where you build up points for an eShop voucher? I've had two vouchers so far.



Anguspuss said:

SigourneyBeaver said:
Don't they already do this on eShop games where you build up points for an eShop voucher? I've had two vouchers so far. only for premium pack and only for a year. I have racked up 6 so far worth £30



Glamdring70 said:

I'd like them to stop making complicated ID/account/shop/reward programs and just offer the old games at reasonable prices. The biggest thing on my list? Unlimited access to the entire Virtual Console on my WiiU for one price, either monthly for about five dollars or like $100 for permanent access.



seronja said:

well they could sell 1 VC console game for 30 cents every month, like they did at the beginning or make a certain subcribtion... i mean look at sony, if you subscribe to ps+ you get 1 psp, 2 vita, 2 ps3 & 1 ps4 game for free & every month there are amazing discounts and all you need to do is pay 7€ for 1 month, 15€ for 3 months or 50€ for a year to be subscribed also make paypal an available payment option for e-shop. that's one way to attract customers.



zool said:

@wariosmith I agree. No packaging cost, no disk, no distribution cost, no store markup. So why are downloads so expensive?
Because Nintendo want to maximise profit or because they don't want to upset the retailer?
Nintendo need to make more games, maybe shorter games, and stop thinking that every game has to be a multi player game and bring the cost of games down.

Gaming to Microsoft and Sony are only a small part of their Companies, but games are the life blood of Nintendo. They must not compete with PlayStation and xbox they should offer an alternative.
While Nintendo insist in charging £50 for a Wii u game I will pick and choose which one I will buy. Lower the price and I will buy more.

Note; I am lucky that I can afford to spend £50 a month on games. It's just that I don't think a Wii u game is worth that: unless you can buy it on release day play it with in the month and trade it towards another game. With the lack of Wii u games there is usually nothing to trade the game for.



unrandomsam said:

@IxnayontheCK If it hadn't shutdown for most of the modern 3DS versions I might as well have rented them for three nights for £6 of whatever it is from Blockbuster. (Funny I never considered it at the time but recently I have checked the activity thing and it is absolutely terrible when value for money is taken into account).



unrandomsam said:

@Doma That mentality just sides with whatever Nintendo does at any moment. (Even if the day before they would have been totally against the second it happens it is the best thing ever).



GearsOfWarU said:

That sounds cool I supported Wii U Big Time last year buying Injustice : Gods Among Us, Lego Batman 2 : DC Superheroes , Resident Evil Revelations, Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends, The Wonderful 101, Sonic Lost World, Batman Arkham Origins, Super Mario 3D World & Mario & Sonic @ 2014 Winter Olympic Games



Dark-Link73 said:

I purchased 25 Wii U retail games last year. Any discount or promotion I can get from Nintendo for being a "loyal customer" will be greatly appreciated.



JaxonH said:

I purchased 34 physical retail Wii U games last year, as well as 20 physical retail 3DS games, and countless VC titles. Oh buddy, this is good new for me! I skate around online retailer websites searching out pre order bonuses for every game I order so as to shop thriftly (the sheer volume of full MSRP games I purchase means even $5 savings per game can mean hundreds of dollars in a year). Nintendo, I feel like you had me in mind with this announcement. "Who's that guy registering every Wii U game there is on Club Nintendo?"



FJOJR said:

I like Nintendo's approach the past 2 days. They rode the success of the DS and Wii but stumbled with the 3DS launch and now the Wii U launch debacle has awoken them. Something big is coming from them whether it be the strategy regarding the Wii U and it's Gamepad or maybe an influx of announced games that harken back to the pre-Wii era as far as variety. Can't wait now.



michaelshellman said:

affordability is a hard thing to hate!! but it i have to gather these points by creating an online account with a password and transferring some code that appears on my tv to my computer then i probably wont do it as often as i should :/ i hope that these points are automatically saved into my console as soon as i start the download or perhaps be rewarded these points by rating the games iv played. As long as its simple ill be racking them point up



bmprsvz777 said:

I purchased 31 Wii U retail games + 9 eshop games last year, dear Nintendo, but I really think this is too little too late. It is too late to offer "Flexible Price Points" for Wii U Games because your Wii U games sell for 9 euro. If Iwata can´t do it, market can do it... By the way I orderd some products from Club Nintendo for my points, when I received nothing I complained at, no reply, no apology, they didn't bother to restore points back to my account, but they still sent me an email survey about "club nintendo satisfaction"... It took me just two hours to transfer club nintendo codes to PC, so much about rewarding loyal fans.



unrandomsam said:

@bmprsvz777 If you are buying games in Euros you won't be able to order from the UK Club Nintendo which is for the UK only. Should have used the European one.

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