News Article

3DS eShop Title Rusty's Real Deal Baseball Is Free-To-Play Gaming With A Nintendo Twist

Posted by Damien McFerran

Haggle for the price you want to pay

During today's Nintendo Direct broadcast Nintendo lifted the lid on its take on the Free-To-Play concept with an entirely new game: Rusty's Real Deal Baseball.

A collection of minigames which attempts to harness the "good feel" of the sport of baseball, this eShop download is free and contains a trial game, but to access other events — based around elements of the sport such as batting, pitching, fielding, and so on — you have to buy them with real money.

Each title has a starting price of $4, but in an interesting twist, players can bribe Rusty with in-game items and haggle for a cheaper cost — which is reflected in the real world price of the game. Presumably, these bribe items are limited and cannot be used indefinitely; while solid details haven't been revealed, it seems likely that skillful play in the game itself will yield more items which can be used to get on the good side of Rusty. You can also lend him your ear and listen to his many problems, which also results in a lower price.

The game is due for release in April, and was only included in the North American version of the Nintendo Direct broadcast — which would suggest that Nintendo is releasing it in that region first before pushing it elsewhere.

Here's the skinny from the official press release:

Ex-pro baseball player and dog Rusty Slugger owns a sports shack. He’s broke with 10 puppies to feed, so he offers a variety of baseball mini-games for sale, themed around the simple pleasures of baseball. Players can bat, pitch, catch and even umpire. The initial software containing a part of the first mini-game is free, but players can purchase additional mini-games in a unique way: by haggling to lower the real-world price for each downloadable game. Additional games start at $4 apiece, but giving Rusty items or listening to his problems might improve his mood and motivate him to offer steep discounts.

What do you think of this new approach to freemium gaming? Could Nintendo be looking to reward gamers who put the hours in with this unique mechanic? Could it catch on in other titles? Share your feelings by posting a comment below.

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User Comments (54)



Mytoemytoe said:

I'm probably in the niche minority but this game looks amazing. I was laughing at every stupid pun in that trailer. 'Bat and switch', 'rusty slugger'. I'll definitely download it and buy some of the mini-games.



Cevan said:

Looks like an interesting concept. I look forward to seeing how people like it.



ueI said:

I only have 1 question. I know a Nintendo Network ID is required for free content, but I heard paid content does not require one. Will this game require a Nintendo Network ID?



Einherjar said:

What an interesting idea, although i dont dare to imagine the doggeyoopsiepoopiepoodleuhohbrownstorm of people being unable to haggle out the best price, whining about the fact that they had to pay 1$ more overall



unrandomsam said:

Seems like it is going to be a total ripoff.

The only ok type of freemium is like Dota 2 (Cosmetic items only).



Gioku said:

How very clever! Leave it to Nintendo to come up with something new for free-to-play!



kereke12 said:

In my opinion I don't think its a Free-to-play game....Its more of a demo. I like the idea. but I have to agree with @unrandomsam its more of a ripoff.



rumple88 said:

I'll bite looks really fun. Has potential to become a broad healthy franchise even (fingers crossed) a fantasy league type game.



mcusc5435 said:

I really enjoy baseball so I think I will definitely enjoy this game...I'd rather not go the free to play micro transactions route but I'll most likely still get it!!!

Of course @unrandomsam with your regular negativity in every article comment section... Can't you be a little positive about the new games and information



Chris720 said:

This is awful.

I don't mind new courses, new items, skins etc. but not this. This is a demo with the rest of the game hidden behind fee's, I don't see the difference between this and other dodgy DLC offerings.



Barbiegurl777 said:

I like this idea by Nintendo. I've alway's liked baseball & haggling comes natural to me so this is win win. Plus we get game for free. YAYY! This will be fun to haggle again lol.

Happy Gaming! (^_^)



unrandomsam said:

@mcusc5435 There is nothing positive about freemium especially the modern definition of it (give a tiny bit and then charge consistently and indefinitely).

The old shareware model was fair I think - first 1/3 for free pay for the last 2/3's.



Mask0Gears said:

Interesting Idea. I see Nintendo is picking up the Micro-transaction payments.

(Now, to play some Earthbound.)



Ketchupcat said:

I'm the kind of person who would feel bad about paying less than full price to support Rusty and his kids.



XFsWorld said:

Anything with a lil "Nintendo twist" is gonna be expensive. $4 per mini-game??



unrandomsam said:

@XFsWorld Depends how much there is to it but I cannot imagine even at $2 per mini game it would compare favourably to say mini's on the move (Which I thought was very fair when it came to the amount in it).



DarkCoolEdge said:

Although it is a funny concept, it still is a rip-off. Free-to-play is the worst thing that has ever happened to gaming.



SecretToErrbody said:

How is anyone saying it's a ripoff when you have no idea how much depth the games have or how much they will "really" cost after haggling. He did say significant discounts, maybe they only cost like $1.

And why is everyone instantly against this pricing model? 10 mini games for $1 each is no worse then all for $10. The price model isn't inherently sketchy, only when developers revolve the gameplay around incentivize players to purchase more.

As long as the total price for everything is reasonable, and we don't know whether it is or isn't, then this is just fine. It's unreasonable to expect it to be free.



TingLz said:

@DarkCoolEdge: I disagree. The idea of free-to-play is fine to me, however like most ideas companies try to milk it to death. F2P is just a good idea that went sour later

Also, microtransactions in $60 games are far worse than F2P games. I'm not talking about DLC that comes later; I'm referring to cosmetic extras that cost extra for some reason...



WiiLovePeace said:

@ueI Yes, a NNID is required to download this game as it will be a free download, paying for the game will be done via in-game DLC, the same as Steel Diver: Sub Wars.



AlbertoC said:

This marketing idea is SO clever I actually like it. In game purchases, Nintendo style. I, for one, didn't see this one coming.
On top of that, all without degrading the big name franchises.



rumple88 said:

@AlbertoC good point. I agree, there testing the waters and trying new things. It's how you grow. Moving in the right direction toward new paths, excited about these new titles.



GalacticMario28 said:

I like this idea. I think it's a really cool take on the concept of free-to-play gaming, and as a huge baseball fan, I'm fine with the game being related to baseball; I can't wait to try out the umpire mini-game.



HandheldGuru97 said:

I love baseball and I'm curious to see how this pricing model goes. It has that unique...."Nintendo" feel to it!!!!!!!! I shall pick it up on launch (these next few months are gonna kill my eShop wallet!!!!)



MadAdam81 said:

@unrandomsam Freemium is free to play but pay to get stuff, as opposed to this being a demo where you can buy only the minigames you want - kind of like Wii Sports Club HD would have been if it gave one sport for free, or Tank x3, or the Street Pass Mii Plaza games. You can refuse to pay money to actually get more gaming fun, but you'll miss out on what you might find really enjoyable.



MadAdam81 said:

@DarkCoolEdge so you would rather pay $50 for a five minigame collection than $20 for the only two you actually would want to play?
Not all free to play is horrible.



LoveSugoi said:

This is actually pretty cool. I actually wanna try this game just for the haggling, I could care less about the mini games.



Falchion said:

@Xtremetdifan come on, he does have a big family to feed. And it would be hilarious if he is like, "ya, i am allergic to donuts. So because u gave me a donut I am gonna charge you $5." Or at least to me because I wouldnt spend a cent on this game anyway



IKAY said:

I hope, this game comes to europe! It has a StreetPass Puzzle!



StarDust4Ever said:

Not really a fan of baseball sims. Not sure I like where this is headed with the microtransactions. The "haggling" system seems like Nintendo is conducting marketing research to see how much people are willing to pay so they can use these figures to calculate future freemium games. What's next? A free-to-play Mario where you spend cold hard cash to buy powerups such as Tanooki leafs or cat bells?



Fragarach said:

I reeeealy hope this gets a european release. It won't sate my thirst for a real baseball game on a Nintendo system, but it does looks all sorts of fun. Plus, I think the pricing model is actually super interesting.



IKAY said:

For 10 StreetPass Hits you'll get a 1$ discount voucher. After 25 you'll get a 50% discount voucher.

Well, at least its working this way in the japanese version.



SphericalCrusher said:

I was joking to a friend saying I was going to rush out and preorder it, but it does look like a lot of fun, even for someone who isn't really a fan of baseball. And being free? Yeah, I'm getting it!



Darknyht said:

I was really excited for a second that Nintendo was producing a Baseball game on Wii U, that while maybe not MLB, would offer some decent league sports play. Then I got home and saw the trailer...

I think it is more of an experiment than a game. Nintendo is testing the waters to see what will work in the market and what will not.



XCWarrior said:

I want a full fledge baseball game on my 3DS and WiiU. Still holding out hope RBI Baseball 14 comes to 1 or both of them.



Mr_3DS said:

I love baseball, and the game looks like it feels pretty authentic and fun. I'll definitely be getting this.



technotreegrass said:

I'll give it a chance. I feel better about paying for different mini-games then power-ups that turn a game to pay-to-win. I want more quality baseball titles on the 3DS/Wii U, though I know we'll never see a return of my all-time favorite baseball game: Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball.



KiwiPanda said:

It's really interesting to me! ...Although that dog's design really lowered my odds of buying anything.



LittleIrves said:

@Captain_Bagel I know, right? That's why this concept is so brilliant... it's not based on some arbitrary energy meter or gems to "buy" more time or better stats into a game. Here you're trying to swindle a poor guy whose family is hungry. Your gain is this character's loss. Even though he's, you know, an animated dog. I love how they're using emotion and guilt as a gameplay mechanic. Can't wait to try it.



Keeper said:

"The game is due for release in April, and was only included in the North American version of the Nintendo Direct broadcast — which would suggest that Nintendo is releasing it in that region first before pushing it elsewhere."

I think it's been out in Japan for a while. This looks like 「だるめしスポーツ店」.

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