News Article

Talking Point: A Virtual Console Revival Could Be Just a Pricing Revolution Away

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Time for some of those new pricing structures promised by Satoru Iwata

When the Virtual Console arrived on the Wii Shop it was a revelation, an official and guilt-free way to download and play classics from across the history of Nintendo systems and even former rivals from Sega and Commodore. It was an opportunity to sample games from consoles that were missed 'back in the day', or for younger gamers to have an easy route into the gaming legacy that's done so much to define the modern era. Retro collectors may prefer to use the original hardware and cartridges, but for plenty of gamers the Wii Virtual Console was an exciting way to enjoy iconic or little-known gems from past generations.

That was in the Wii era, but like the 'Touch' craze that helped lift the DS family of systems to stratospheric sales, exciting concepts typically progress from an era of buzz and popularity to a period of over-familiarity and malaise. This has partly dogged the Wii U and 3DS Virtual Console platforms, though they've had moments of newness that have brought keen gamers on board — the 3DS had a strong start with some excellent Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, while the peculiar arrival of Game Boy Advance titles on the Wii U eShop has, despite the natural thoughts occurring that they belong on 3DS, brought some terrific experiences to the attention of another generation of gamers.

Though debates about the current-gen Virtual Console libraries are worth having and will always be ongoing, we feel it's time to revisit the issue of pricing — gamers are still paying relatively premium prices for Game Boy, NES, SNES and GBA titles. To begin with a defence of this, Nintendo and the increasingly small number of active third-parties on the VC do more than simply dump a ROM onto a download store. We have the various niceties such as restore points and digital manuals, the latter being particularly attractive with colour scans on the Wii U GBA games; in addition there are localisation processes and age ratings to consider. All of these factors come with associated costs, with staff in each respective region no doubt devoting decent amounts of time to complete the necessary formalities.

A problem with this current Virtual Console era, with the honourable exceptions of those GBA games and rare examples such as EarthBound, is that many gamers have already bought or owned a version of the releases, or perhaps think more closely before putting down $4.99 / £3.49 / €4.99 for a NES title on Wii U — the price is a little higher in the UK on 3DS — when there are retail games, download-only titles and other systems all battling over disposable income. The market is tougher now, as a general rule, than when Nintendo swept all before it in the last generation, and the conventional pricing model applied to the Virtual Console seems increasingly out of touch.

A suggestion could be that, aside from top-tier titles that will sell multiple times regardless of their level of exposure — games such as Super Mario Bros. 3 — we need to see a fresh approach to the pricing models for the variety of other excellent games that, arguably, aren't guaranteed sells. While $5 and upwards will rarely feel like impulse buy territory for games that are well over a decade old — though discounts of $1 to $1.50 can be had for those that have transferred relevant Wii data — the moment those prices are slashed in promotions we see a notable upturn.

Take, for example, the Super Smash Bros.-themed promotion running in the Wii U and 3DS eShop stores in Europe over the past week. A new batch has just been announced, but of the first week's deals the winners have been obvious — highly regarded retro games. Top of the Recent Bestsellers chart in both platform's stores in the UK is Mega Man 2; on the Wii U five out of the six Blue Bomber titles are in the top 10, while on 3DS the number is four; you can add Super Punch-Out!! in third place on the home console. Discounts also generally boost sales on all download games, whether DL-only or retail titles, yet it strikes us that when an NES game is the equivalent of $2-3, a psychological shift makes it more appealing as an inexpensive dip for some retro goodness.

What's interesting with the Virtual Console stores is that, due to multiple generations and entries for franchises, we have various IPs represented by a number of games. We're sure plenty would love to sample these games — the popularity of NES Remix and its sequel attest to that — and it seems that Nintendo should embrace that enthusiasm to aim for volume of downloads, rather than maximising profit off each purchase. It's not just about discounts, but new models could be used to make the Virtual Console an indispensable extra in the eShop.

One option is a subscription service that entitles gamers to choose a set number of games per month at a reasonable discount — $10 a month (renewed each month, not an ongoing or annual commitment) could perhaps allow picks of three GBA games, three SNES, four NES or a mixture across platforms, with equivalents also incorporating the 3DS store; Nintendo Network IDs could allow switching between systems when working towards an allocation. It could be a lot more generous, of course, especially when comparisons can be made with the PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold offerings. We suggest this model for the Virtual Console, initially, simply as it would be easier on a logistical and royalty level for Nintendo, with the number of involved publishers far smaller. This would also play into Nintendo's general policy of trialling ideas before rolling out on a larger scale, as a big N equivalent to PS Plus — assuming it can be made profitable and that it would likely have a rather different form — across new games would also be an exciting development. The key here is that there'd be plenty of bang for buck on retro games.

Another option, that'd also be simpler, would be to simply lower the pricing categories — they're still, in terms of core cost, the same as on Wii. Bundles could also be an option as the libraries fill out: grab all six Mega Man NES games for $10-12, or Super Mario Bros. 1-3 for $5-8. We've already heard Nintendo talk of potentially supporting 3DS and Wii U cross-buy on Virtual Console games in future, which would also be hugely welcome.

It's less a debate about whether these older games should be devalued, but more about assessing the reality of the current market, especially in an era when emulators and ROMs are also around on PCs, phones and so on. Nintendo is entitled to charge for its content, but we're in a different gaming world from the days of the Wii's service; perhaps the target should be mass sales, rather than reasonably high prices in smaller numbers. We're not convinced Nintendo's anywhere near ready to simply lower its standards of presentation and dump masses of content onto its stores without the bells and whistles, but it can do more to entice us to the options that are in place.

A number of the all-time bestsellers on the eShop are Virtual Console titles, in all cases the 'usual suspects'. Yet we feel some complaints and the lingering apathy around the VC would lift with a pricing revolution. It's not as if Nintendo hasn't hinted at pricing ideas that will reward gamers for their loyalty and spending. Satoru Iwata, in the January investor briefing, spoke of developing "flexible price points" and new pricing schemes to tackle the current market. If the company needs a testing ground, the Virtual Console would be ideal.

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User Comments (138)



Blast said:

I have money on my Eshop account. I'm just waiting for DS and GameCube and N64 VC to hit Wii U's Eshop.



edcomics said:

I've always felt the Virtual Console prices have been a bit too high. I would be more inclined to spend more money on more games if they'd drop the prices.



rjejr said:

"subscription service"

"Nintnedo eSelects" Been waiting on that for awhile now

Nintneod needs to lower prices on VC b/c you can't have N64 be $10 b/c then Gamecube games would need to be $12 or $15 and that's just too much for people to rebuy games they probably already own and can still play on their old(er) Wii.

So they should drop everything a couple of bucks, make NES $4, SNES $6, N64 $8 and Gamecube $10. GBA $7 - handhelds could all be odd to separate out handhled from home console VC.



Phantom_R said:

The prices are fine--most of these games are impossible for most people to play and sold for way more. The problem is that Super Mario Bros. is worth more than $5 and Yoshi or Donkey Kong Jr. should be paying us to download them.

For whatever reason, Nintendo isn't prioritizing the best games and slashing the bad ones, and the Wii U's clunky and inconvenient backwards compatibility has limited its Virtual Console library.



justinr said:

Pricing isn't always the biggest issue, it's content. Going weeks with zero VC releases on both flagship consoles (Wii U AND 3DS) is unacceptable: releasing even one title per console per release period shows the fanbase you're paying attention.

There's no gamble involved in re-releasing classic titles. Even the bad ones; it's a guaranteed moneymaker (even if barely). But if Nintendo and the various studios aren't willing to do the minimal amount of work required to get them out, AND they're picking and choosing what gets released, they're never going to be successful with it. Period.

Personal note: I love my 3DS. I can't/won't ever get a Wii U. But when I can't play classics on my 3DS, I will go to the other options, legal or not. Yes, I'd rather give Nintendo my money and play these games legally, but play them I certainly will, however I can.



Donutman said:

as long as the wii eshop stays up, I have no complaints with Nintendo's VC service. Yea, id like more I can play on my Gamepad, but the reality is I already 100s on my Wii and can access over my Wii U. I think they could charge less overall, but it hasn't stopped me from buying plenty of games.



Gerbwmu said:

I think a VC revival is directly linked to new and exciting releases. Some variety of consoles and some games we aren't expecting. If they need to know what to release.....look at prices of games on Ebay! They can release 2 or 3 games a week and be fine as long as 1 of the games is something unique.......

@rjejr - I think your pricing model makes sense. Nothing VC should cost more then $9.99 really. Excepting maybe being something odd like a XenoBlade Chronicles.



DreamOn said:

Oh I have no doubt, Thomas, that Nintendo has something like what you are saying in their minds, but Nintendo never lets us forget it's the tortois rather than the hare in the industry race.



TrueWiiMaster said:

I sincerely hope a subscription service like PS+ doesn't happen. I hate the idea of paying for "free" games that are never yours, for better discounts, for early access ,etc. I don't think a price drop is necessarily the best idea either. In the article it was mentioned that sales went way up when games went on sale. I'd argue that has more to do with the low price being temporary than the low price itself. I've bought various games I hadn't intended to buy just because they went on sale. If their regular price had been low, I wouldn't have had any incentive to buy them quickly, and I probably still wouldn't have them. Lowering all games by a couple bucks would increase sales overall, of course (the same amount of money would buy more games after all), but I wonder if it would increase them enough to actually make more money.

I think Nintendo should just do a better job with the Virtual Console. They need to add more games, especially hard, or impossible, to get games like Earthbound and Mother 1 and 3, add more platforms (at least bring it up to the Wii's VC), and promote it all with sales and advertisements. Maybe they could put one VC game on sale for 50% off every week, and put up a video of the Nintendo Minute people playing it, or have VC flash sales every once in a while. Whatever they do, they need to do a better job supporting the Virtual Console, and I don't think subscriptions and lower prices are the ways to do it.



Darknyht said:

The pricing is a little high and the concept of one size fits all is not smart. Games like Urban Champion should never be $5 and barely reach $0.99 appstore quality levels. Arcade ports like Donkey Kong, Jr. and Donkey Kong have more value but again not $5 worth. I would argue not even the original Super Mario Bros is worth $5.

There should be at least three price points for all NES Virtual Console games, like there appears to be three price points on the Wii U ($20 and under for digital eShop, $40 for bargain retail, and $60 for full retail).

Also as I said elsewhere, they need to do Special Celebration Sales. Start with one on the day the NES launched. Release and put on sale every game originally sold that initial year on sale for $1 for one week on the week it originally came to market. Put up interviews with the programming teams. Show us prototype stuff. Celebrate the awesomeness you created. Call it NES Year One, and then sit back and watch press coverage and happy consumers abound.



DualWielding said:

The prices are high but the main problem is that Nintendo never has good sales, I wouldn't mind if they initially offer a NES game at $5.00 to milk the hardcore if I knew I'll be able to pick it up for $0.99 a few months later, but no, Nintendo think $3.89 for NES game its sale



OneBagTravel said:

I honestly don't mind the price of the games right now. I'm more annoyed that they haven't ported a lot of the WiiWare games over to the eShop. I'm still holding off on purchasing Mega Man 9&10 for this.



sketchturner said:

I think games like SMB3 are just fine sitting at $5 because loads of people are willing to pay that for a game that is considered an all-time great. However, I think games that are less universally known would benefit greatly from discounts. Games like Cybernator, Ufouria, and Blaster Master would attract a lot more attention if they aren't held on the same pricing standard as the "classics."



Windy said:

First they need to start flooding out the VC games. I think they could still price them as regular with weekly or monthly sales. Of course lower prices is always appreciated. But releasing VC games at a faster pace would be a good start.



KFlow325 said:

The only problem I have with Nintendo's VC is with the LITTLE AMOUNT of releases they sprinkle each week!!!



gameb0ybryan said:

The problem is that we barely have any games on the virtual console. Seriously, Nintendo could be making some serious money if they re-released all their old titles. We don't even have the original Pokemon games!



unrandomsam said:

I have more problem with retail games than the VC. (What I end up getting out of them especially if it is new to me - never compares favourably).

I am amassing more VC than I am finishing the same cannot be said for retail games that I download for loads more. (Don't want physical really but I won't pay 2 or 3 times as much for digital).



WiiLovePeace said:

It doesn't make sense for them to not have different prices for different VC games from the same system. Wario's Woods isn't worth the same amount as SMB3, for example.



WYLD-WOO said:

IMO Nintendo need to look at what is selling on the second hand market for serious money and release them titles. Which I expect to start happening and has in some degree of late. The probem is not enough good value for money VC games still and while I can selling my copy of Fire Emblem on the DS for more than I paid for it when first released.



Great_Gonzalez said:

I could go on for hours about all my gripes with the VC but i'll stick to the topic.. I totally agree about with needing a lower price point.

Using myself as an example if NES games were £1 -£1.50 i would buy every single one and likewise with SNES games at £2-£3 instead atm i only have a handful of both i realise i'm an exception but Nintendo would have more of my money if their prices were cheaper.



JebbyDeringer said:

At $1 - $1.50 you'd have some people trying to buy all the VC games they can. GOTTA CATCH EM ALL. I wonder if Nintendo was ever worried about cannabalizing sales of new games? The historic gaming catalog is big enough now you pretty much never HAVE to buy a new game and can still be playing new (to you) old games for the rest of your life.



Peach64 said:

They could probably make so much with a Netflix type model, but the key is low cost. Marvel Unlimited, WWE Network, Netflix, they all give you a monthly sub for not much less than one movie would cost to stream, or one comic would cost to buy digitally. The key is to make it low enough, that people never stop and considering wether it's worth them paying the sub each month, but just leave it there indefinitely.



Kaze_Memaryu said:

The prices are actually quite good, and any kind of subscription service for receiving discounted or free games is simply bull. What Nintendo needs is more VC titles people actually care about!
Where's Secret of Mana, Lufia, Final Fantasy, Super Mario Allstars, and Donkey Kong Country? There are many famous SNES titles people are waiting for, and if you add GBA and DS games to it, there's a lot that deserves a release. And it may take time, but that time won't pass if nobody's gonna do it!



Bolt_Strike said:

I don't think we're really going to see this kind of pricing revolution occur this gen, it'd most likely be implemented for the next gen console and handheld when we'll be getting account based ownership and cross platform features.



Samurai_Goroh said:

The standard pricing should drop by €2 on all platforms. NES games at €3, SNES at €6 and GBA at €5. There, problem solved. Oh, and keep the occasional discounts.



crimsontadpoles said:

I would love to see a system where any VC games bought on my 3ds would then be able to be downloaded easily and for free on my Wii u, and vice versa. Also, it would be great if any VC games I buy now would be available for free on the next generation of Nintendo consoles.

I imagine this would be very hard to implement on the current consoles, but I can still dream though



Shy_Guy said:

Prices are too high. Volleyball,Golf,Urban Champion,Baseball,etc are not worth $5. Also still waiting for GameCube games...



SirQuincealot said:

Yeah, its hard to try a game like super dodge ball when it costs you the same as castlevania, it just gives it two much to live up to, its not like the people who made these games in the 80s are seeing any of the money from these sales



Oaf7724 said:

I would not mind the prices as much if Nintendo incorporated cross-buy. We need an account where we can access our downloads on multiple Nintendo devices.



XCWarrior said:

Flexible pricing would be nice to see. Sure, some NES games are worth $5, like the ones mentioned in the aritcle.

But simple games like Donkey Kong and Baseball and what not either only have a few levels or one quick, basic mode should be $3. I don't think you need to go below that. Enterting $1-2 territory is a risky proposition, but $3 to rebuy a game I bought years ago AGAIN seems just about right.



2Sang said:

I think they should be the price they are but have WAY more frequent discounts. Every week should discount at least 2-3 eshop titles and 1 vc title



Ryno said:

Agree with those that are saying just offere more discounts on VC titles. I would like to see the Europe Smash sales coming over to NA.



FritzFrapp said:

What planet are some of you guys on? The prices are monumentally high!

The Famicom 30th Anniversary prices were the correct ones for NES games – and saw great numbers shifted accordingly: 30 pence/30 cents.

When you look back at previous generations and their excellent compilations – like Taito Legends 1 & 2, the Midway Arcade Treasures, Capcom Classics, Sega Mega Drive Collection, Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, Metal Slug Anthology, SNK Vol 1, Konami's Arcade Classics on DS, and many more, most with tons of games on them and all released at very reasonable prices – you realise just how much publishers, and Nintendo in particular, are taking the mickey with these exorbitant prices.



nik1470 said:

I'm currently playing OoT on the wiiu via the Wii menu and links awakening on the 3ds that's how important the vc is for me its my bread and butter in many ways. However I do feel the gba games are over priced as I view them on the same level as SNES games. NES games as mentioned are more expensive on the 3ds so a price review is needed I think.



SirQuincealot said:

@Frapp yeah, in those collections you pay 40-60$ for maybe 2-3 fun games and a bunch of shovelware, some like the Atari one even included games that didn't work plus the Mario all stars collection was only 5 games



Windy said:

@unrandomsam I think the Retail digital downloads are rediculously overpriced. No manufacturing costs just upload the game and start selling at the same price as In a retail shop. I still think they should be 10 to 15 bucks cheaper. I myself don't download the retail games. I like having a shiny new cartridge. And then there is Steel Empire which is probably an excellent game but came out at 29.99. Sorry but they better lower that price before it becomes forgotten about cause they arent selling very many copies of that. I think 19.99 would sell some but I don't think that will be low enough. Maybe they will just let it sit there and rot. I hope not.



Grumblevolcano said:

I don't have a problem with VC prices especially if you think about what they'd cost to get used on ebay or amazon. It's the main games I have a huge issue with. For example NSMBU for £49.99, really that should be a budget price like £29.99 as it doesn't add much to what the previous iterations have done.



Nintenjoe64 said:

The prices are too high but a SNES/GBA RPG will last me weeks and only costs as much as a pint and a half of lager in London. I think they need to encourage multiple purchases with 'buy one/two get one free' offers and have steam-like sales on the stuff nobody is buying.

I am pretty sure Sega must have some kind of retro console plan by the way they have never really looked into bringing a significant number of Arcade, Saturn or Dreamcast games to consoles. If Nintendo could get Dreamcast and Saturn games on the VC, there'd be a revival. Some of the DC games would look incredible on the gamepad and the Saturn has dozens of games I could never get a reasonably priced PAL copy of.



gatorboi352 said:

"Time for some of those new pricing structures promised by Satoru Iwata"

Time for a lot of things promised by Satoru Iwata.



Emblem said:

Until we have sales figures and production costs any speculation is moot. Available evidence points to VC not being that profitable outside certain titles. I'm not convinced price is the issue.



DBailey said:

I'm happy to pay the prices Nintendo already charge for VC games. As long as I don't have to keep paying for the game every console cycle.



SavoirFaire said:

Nintendo knows likely from the wii era which VC games will make money for the time invested in the port and which won't. Why they put all the games at the same price point now is beyond me. Make the junk NES games (of which there are plenty) junk prices.

However there are many highly regarded games yet to hit the wii u VC. Put a game like that out, then put the other games in that genre on sale.

Lastly, we all know the garbage releases for VC. If Nintendo insists on putting them out on wii u, at least put another game that isn't garbage out with it. Want to release dk jr math? Fine. At least give us blaster master that same week.



sleepinglion said:

I'd love to see any indication Nintendo values the VC service. Subscription-based pricing is a terrible idea for gamers like myself who like to 'own' a title, even if it is just a digital license. Not only does the VC need more support (N64, Gamecube, Genesis, etc.) it definitely needs either more sales or competitive pricing. 'Donkey Kong Jr Math' should not be in the same price category as 'Super Mario Bros 3'. But it will be.



Taggsta said:

The discounts definitely make me buy more games.
I load up my account with $20 a month and I spend it on filling my VC catalogue, I don't spend any more than that generally.
I used to have over 50 boxes Super Famicom game and finished most of them many times over, eventually selling them so building my SNES VC library is nice to get them back and at hand to play once in a while. It also seems better than playing Roms.
Ninty need to have better variety selections on the eshop, not every Megaman game, mix it up a bit. Rarer games is a good idea too.
Wii VC should be playable and accessible from the Gamepad and some VC games should be transferred from WiiU to 3DS or at least discounted if you own them on one machine for sure.



River3636 said:

Before we discuss pricing how about we discuss the the lack of diversity this time around.



River3636 said:

I used to buy one every week when VC started on the WiiU now I wait every 2 months to look at them so I won't get disappointed for lack of games or a suckfest of games. There will be at least one good one. I remember with the Wii there was many choices



River3636 said:

We need a virtual console revival. They could so make so much more money, if they changed the structure.



Krambo42 said:

I have absolutely no problem with how the VC is handled. I think pricing is fair, I have no interest in a subscription service, I don't really even care about crossbuy (I'd use it, but I tend to like playing console games on consoles and handheld games on handhelds, with the possible exception of GBA games which I actually prefer on the Wii U) ONLY complaint is that there aren't enough games.



River3636 said:

Sega where the hec are you.(Dreamcast and Saturn )I think TurboGrafx is in Japan already correct me if I'm wrong. Hopefully we get GameCube games with the addition of the GameCube controllers and what the crap happened to DS titles. I know I'm supposed to talk about pricing but I can't help it.



MitchVogel said:

I don't understand all the fuss. How cheap do you people want these games? 5 dollars for the original metroid or super mario bros. is an AWESOME deal if you ask me and it only makes sense that the slightly newer GBA or SNES games would cost more. And when you think about the process involved in porting stuff over and the additional features put into the emulation, the prices seem about right. Maybe it's just because I remember when some of these games were in retail for 30-40$, but I don't see any issue here pricewise. They definitely need to step up support and bring way more games to it, but that's another argument.



Boshar said:

I think 7 Euro for a GBA title is very reasonable. I already bought Advance Wars an Golden Sun while I have the original carts and a system to play them on (even have a Gamecube and GBA player so I could already play them on my TV).

The save point system, control options, digital manual & conveniance are worth it. Beats searching the internet on shady sites and mucking about with emulators .



ToxieDogg said:

I think certainly all the NES titles (and possibly GBA games...we already know the 3DS can emulate GBA games fine) without exception should be cross buy. On the PSN store I can buy any PS1 Classic and be able to download it to my PS3, PSP and Vita, and play it on all of them for the one's absurd in this day and age that Nintendo expect me to pay twice to download the same game just to be able to play it on the go. The prices do need to be lower as well....over the last week, I've downloaded all 6 NES Mega Man games and Super Punch Out!, none of which I probably would've bothered with at their original prices.

The Mega Man discounts have also had another knock on effect for me (as I'd only briefly played Mega Man 4 before)....I've now gotten into the games quite a lot and will probably buy both Megaman 9 and 10 from WiiWare in the near future as well as the SNES Mega Man X VC games. See Nintendo? Sensible prices leads to even more sales.



Goginho said:

Didn't read the article. Don't really know what it's about. But all I'm gonna say is that there needs to be a change. The VC needs to change, or "progress", for lack of a better term.



bouncer0304 said:

Nintendo desperately needs to get the unified account system up and running. It's been promised for so long now it's not even funny. They also need to put every NES, SNES and GBA game on the 3ds VC as well and allow cross buy like Sony does. Finally, unlike the PS+, should Nintendo ever allow a pay monthly subscription, any games should be allowed to be kept. You've already paid for them and should be allowed to keep playing them even if you end it. I think another major system update is coming soon- maybe after the next direct?



shigulicious said:

The article seemed too long winded and I didn't finish reading it. I will say that paying $5 for ANY NES title is ridiculous. The GBA games on the eshop are a little more reasonable because of the improvements that Tom mentioned. But when you look at the deals that the other consoles have, not even including the free games with Gold members and PS+, Nintendo is operating in their own alternate reality. I downloaded Dishonored for free this week on the 360. What does NOA have in store? We will see tomorrow, but if past actions remain constant, I expect to be underwhelmed. I always thought a "pick 5" system would work great for the eshop where the consumer can choose a number of games out of a selected bunch for a discount. For example, pick 5 of the existing GBA games for $25. That would create excitement and revenue for Nitty. I perceive the company as a penny pinching Grandma, stuck in an earlier era. Not to bash Nintendo. I love Nintendo. But their pricing on the eshop, plus their reluctance to compete with the other "big 2" is annoying as hell.



drewb0203 said:

The fact that Nintendo have a 3ds that PLAYS DS games and a Wii that PLAYS GameCube games makes it a waste to add GameCube and DS VC. N64 VC FTW.



DuggyFresh said:

Seriously. This is my feedback every time to club Nintendo.
NES: $1
SNES/GBA: $2-3
N64: $5
Gamecube $7-10
I have not payed full price for a VC game once. I enjoyed the 30 cent promo, and have been enjoying free games through club Nintendo since.



ToneDeath said:

NES, MS, C64 = 99p
SNES, MD, TG16 = £2.99
GBA, N64 = £4.99
DS, GC = £6.99

I don't think people would be sat on the fence about buying a game for very long with prices like that.
EDIT: @DuggyFresh Looks like we were thinking about the same prices, differing currencies aside.



luke88 said:

Of course I'd like the prices to be lower, but I get more frustrated by the fact that, generally, the games I'd like to download aren't available.



Agent721 said:

I don't think paying $5 to $10 on a vc game is a big deal at all. I spend more than that at Starbucks. What I do find frustrating is the lack of games...wheres the N64? Where's the cube? Where are all the NES/SNES games beyond the usual suspects? The Wii VC made me rediscover retro games, but I realized I wanted them in the original form, so down the retro rabbit hole I've fallen. And you know what, at least for me who lived through every single N console's way better to experience them in their original form. Maybe it's the nostalgia speaking, but it's just more fun to have the manuals, boxes, joysticks,'s like reliving my youth. But for those without that nostalgic pull, it is a shame they may never know many classic games due to the limited choice.

I think a subscription would be a great deal...I just signed up for the EA one on Xbone & I think this kind of service is the way of the future...see Netflix.



Agent721 said:

I agree with you mostly...I'm on xbl gold & PS+, and the free games are great. I don't have much problems with the pricing, but you're right that Nintendo is stuck in its ways on many things. Enjoy Dishonored...I played it on the PS3 when it came out & it is my favorite stealth game ever...Corvo is one bad ass dude!



Mr-X9000 said:

i think they should take 20 or so NES games, and release them in a compliation. not like NES remix, but a legit collection, with the option to veiw box art and manual scans, and te option to play both the american and japanese versions, and have additional unlockable games, and call it "Mario's ultimate nintendo collection"



Cyberbotv2 said:

@TrueWiiMaster : Exactly. I thought I was the only one that disliked PS plus. But the Wii U requires a beefed up VC, and wider selection if anything. It blows my mind that no GC or N64 games are available yet. And then there are those rare games from way back in the day that the VC is made for. Stuff like Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Superman vs Doomsday, etc. I guess I'll just keep waiting.



IronMan28 said:

Oh, hey, people are complaining about VC prices again! Stop buying them if you really think they're too expensive. Obviously enough people buy the games to where they can keep the service going.



daveh30 said:

If i worked for Nintendo in any capacity that give me any say in VC pricing stratagy, the first thing I'd want to do is look at the sales figures for that first batch of Wii U VC games that were available for $0.30 each. Some of those games, like say Balloon Fight, HAD to have made more money at 30cents than they have since at full price. I understand not wanting to devalue a product, but theres definitely a point where volume of sales is going to trump higher profit margins per unit. I'm not saying NES titles need to go that low, but they should definitely be lower. Move them down into impulse buy territory, sell more games, make more money... it's Win-Win.



joey302 said:

@River3636 waiting on sega also!! For those who don't know there's about 15 turbographx 16 titles already on wii u in japan- all published by Konami!! Also a truckload of square RPGS out there!! Wii u vc closing in on 200 titles there while the US just passed 100?? Totally ridiculous!!!!!



Cyberbotv2 said:

@Agent721 : I think the EA one access is a sign of things to come. If it is successful, Activision, Ubisoft, Capcom, Bethesda, etc will all throw their hats into the ring. And as more folks sign up, I'm sure they will require you have an access the game you just bought at the store. Dangerous territory.



luigifan624 said:

Nintendo is SITTING on a gold mine when it comes to the Virtual Console. So many games to be had in one easy to reach area. My complaints about it are not really the pricing, well that is until you HAVE to pay twice for the same game to be able to have it on your WiiU and 3DS. Plus there seems to a bit of a drought going on now. I would SO love if they finally added the Dreamcast to the VC. Nintendo needs to get on the ball, and release more games (in an more timely manner), implement cross buy (ala Sony), have some sales for crying out loud or drop the prices down.



123akis said:

But instead of lowering prices maybe do permanent offers such as: Buy 2 Mega Man games and get the 3rd half price/free... Buy Super Mario bros. and get Super Mario bros. 3 25% off... Buy 2 GBA games and get the next 2 that you buy 20% off... do you get the idea? I think that would work great!

Also, Games like Tennis, Golf, Pinball, should NOT be the same price as games such as Super Mario Bros, Mega Man, Donkey Kong, Kirby!!

The biggest problem is: Nintendo really needs to [strong]release more VC games! What happened to GBA on Wii U!!? The releases stopped! Where's N64? Sega consoles? Where's gamecube?



kyuubikid213 said:

I'll say NO to the subscription service, thank you.

I just think Nintendo should bundle games together as package deals and/or lower the prices to some VC games.

Most of all though, there just needs to be more games on the VC. More games means more money.



theberrage said:

The problem with VC is clearly obvious. While reevaluating the prices would be beneficial from a company standpoint, the real problem is the staleness of the product.
Look at these numbers;
If we exclude the 15 GBA games, %98 of Wii U VC games were already released on Wii and only %21 of Wii VC games have been released on Wii U. Unreleased games and unreleased consoles would really give the service life again.



Findonovan95 said:

The VC definitely needs some sort of price restructuring. In my opinion nothing should be over £9.99. Heck, even that seems steep. Can't see it happening though. So much missed potential.

On another note...
I'll always be happy if the prices are converted for each currency. (So everyone pays the same amount.) Just because I'm living in the UK doesn't mean I'm rich. A lot of companies don't seem to understand that.



Findonovan95 said:

I think another reasons it falls behind is because the games also take SO LONG to be released. And if I'm being honest, I'm really not interested in anything that's been released apart from the zelda games.

Ranting ahead...

Give me Donkey Kong 64, Banjo-Kazooie/Tooie, Conkurs Bad Fur Day, etc. and I'll literally cry with hapiness as I hand over my money.

...Oh wait...just forget it. I give up. I realize now that I'll never see either a remake, re-release or another Donkey Kong game in the 64 style again. Sorry for the rant. :/



joey302 said:

@Frapp I have every disc you mentioned here!! I Love the classics!! I would kill to see even 1/2 of these classics on wii u!! Honestly I don't know what the hell nintendo is thinking!!! The games on these collections are TRUE classics!! Only thing is you left out ATARI Anthology!!!



PatHawks said:

I don't mind the price at all, I just wish there were a bit more value

If I could buy a title once and know that I'll be able to play it on any Nintendo platform that supports it, I wouldn't mind paying $10 for an NES game. I just hate that I bought it once on the Wii, again on the 3DS, and now I'm expected to open the wallet once more for the Wii U?

Also, if I could "loan" a digital game to my wife's 3DS, that would again provide more value.



Einherjar said:

The prices so far have been more than ok.
Sure, some games are worth less, some are worth more, but you cant put a price that on quality.
As a collector myself, i can say that obtaining and maintaining some of those old cartridges can be a royal pain tn the goomba.
Hooking them up on a modern TV is even worse. So i gladly take an 8€ price tag for a crystal clear, unbreakable SNES title anyday.



DarkCoolEdge said:

Yep, the prices are too high. That's the reason I've only bought a couple of games when I'd gladly buy many more.

Cross-buy should be a thing too and the games (all of them, not just VC) should be linked to the account not the console.



joey302 said:

I really could live with the pricing for convenience sake. Here's the problem: games!! Where are the games?? If I was in charge here's just a pinch of what you gamers would see: Outrun- Asteroids- Nights into dreams- centipede- millepede - Missle command- tempest- joust- defender- paperboy- root beer tapper- smash TV- robotron 2084- gauntlet - hydro thunder - jungle hunt- Jet set radio- house of the dead 1,2,3,4- sega rally- pitfall- kaboom- frogger- super cobra- freeway- gyruss- galaxian- Ms PAC man- streets of rage 1,2,3,- virtua cop 1&2- virtua fighter2- pacmania- space channel 5- Mario kart 64- mario64- super Mario galaxy 1&2- space invaders- Darius Twin- operation wolf- arkanoid- Atlantis - demon attack- turbo- carnival- zaxxon- super zaxxon- Congo bongo- bubble bobble- ikari warriors- commando- 1942-1943-1944- castlevania bloodlines - sonic series- dig dug- toe jam n earl- phantasy star 1,2,3,4- shining force series- clockwork knight and sunset riders!! Did I miss anything?? You're damn right I did!!!



TheKingOfTown said:

I'd be more likely to buy VC games if they add new features to them like online multiplayer, sort of like how a lot of PSN and XBL ports are. Then I'd feel like the prices would be more justifiable.



Iggly said:

If anything, they really need to start releasing Gamecube games on the Wii U VC since there's quite a lot of quality games on the system. Just make sure they release games at a more steady rate since we haven't gotten much GBA games imo.



HaNks said:

i would buy some VC games if the ones i wanted were cheaper or on sale. instead i'm buying nothing.



Nictendo64 said:

I think all of the games should be around 2-5 dollars, Starting from oldest system. Like 2 for NES, GBC, and SNES, and around 5 for the closer gen. Nintendo's prices are very stubborn.



TheWPCTraveler said:

The pricing model may as well stay the same if purchases will be tied to our accounts.

I'm sure Nintendo would be more than happy to add content to the VC selection...if making remakes or reboots didn't bring in much more cash.



GreatPlayer said:

The price for VC games is quite high, especially if you consider that those games actually run worse on Wii U (e.g., slow down) than an emulator.



Sam_Loser2 said:

Though lowering some GBA/SNES titles may be easier on my wallet, I never thought they were that expensive. They use to be full retail games after all, more expensive in the day than retail games now. I loved shovel knight, but that was a fair short game for $15. But I also bought the Oracle games for $12 for each, and both being full retail titles gave me a real run for my money. True we have bought a good many of these before, but that why I usually save my money for old gems I missed out on way back when.



HaNks said:

also there really needs to be n64 & GCN titles on the wii U. GC code already runs on the system after all. maybe hire some more people or contract emulation specialists to help with releases, like the GBA thing. there really is no excuse for how badly Nintendo have handled VC.



DarkJamD said:

Nes games for 2€, Snes 4€, etc.

Or monthly subscribtion priced same as EA Access that allows people play all VC games as long as subscribtion is paid.



MarvinTheMartian said:

The pricing could be a little easier for the consumer or even keep the pricing but allow cross platform; not having this service is really not doing Nintendo any favours at all.

I like the idea of a monthly subscription though. £10 a month for 3 SNES titles would be ace. The issue with that is that VC titles, much like retail release, also see a dry spell. There should be no reason why we don't at least two or three a month.



elstif said:

VC prices are too high, after the last few weeks I bought a few games at 2,50€ instead of 5€. Some of these games were a good deal at that price. So this promotion is very welcome. Others games that are still being sold for 5€ and were down to 2,50€ too but not worth it. I guess I would consider buying some of these to try but only if they were sold for 1€ or less

I´m still waiting for N64 VC and there´s a lot of titles that have never appear yet for NES and SNES.

I think Nintendo is being really greedy on all the VC bussiness side. Very high prices and no cross buy. If they get prices down and allow cross buy more people will buy for sure



Artwark said:

I agree with this. VC games need to be atleast 2$ because the game's are very old. Unless they do something like 3D Classics, then yes I can get that they would need to make atleast 5$.



alLabouTandroiD said:

One option is a subscription service that entitles gamers to choose a set number of games per month at a reasonable discount — $10 a month (renewed each month, not an ongoing or annual commitment) could perhaps allow picks of three GBA games, three SNES, four NES or a mixture across platforms

I'd like something along these lines. That price wouldn't make me mind that i can't play the GBA on the 3DS too.
That wouldn't be much of a problem if cross-buy was in full effect though.
Another thing that makes it hard to justify paying that much for GBA games is that they're missing the multiplayer features for two-player games. Wouldn't that be the perfect showcase for the GamePad when it comes to games people already love a lot?



Starwolf_UK said:

I think the conditional buys NOE did with NES remix were interesting (first 30% off NES Remix 2 if you have 1) and given the vauge statment Iwata said makes me wonder if they want to do that on a whole other level (almost personalising eShop prices based on what you own to nudge you towards certain things).

But % off is one thing and tiered pricing needs to happen more. The 3DS eShop has it for their VC games (4 Euro or 5 Euro) but it did not really transition over to Wii U and the tiers can be rather more...adventurous.



rylo151 said:

If virtual console games were 99 cents I would buy 10 or more probably, instead I have bought 0 for 10 dollars. Which would make more money?



rjejr said:

@Gerbwmu - "Excepting maybe being something odd like a XenoBlade Chronicles."

They could still charge $50 for Xeno seeing as how it was $75 or $80 used recently at Gamestop. They could probably charge $60 for an HD Wii U version. Or even an SD Wii U eSHop version for that matter.



datamonkey said:

I haven't bought anything on the Wii U/3DS eshop for over a year due to high pricing, paying again and again for the same games I already own and a lack of unified account system to name a few issues I have with it.

My money now all goes to Sony by default on my PS4/Vita which enjoys a proper account system, cross-buy, cross-save and better pricing. not to mention PS+ bonuses and Trophies too...

Unfortunately I find Nintendo too far behind the digital curve. The fact that I have many NES/SNES/N64 games bought on my Wii and registered to my Club Nintendo account yet still have to buy them again if I want them on Wii U/3DS was the last straw for me as a consumer. When/if this changes in the future they can likely have my money again.

Right now though I really feel Nintendo don't want my money and would rather stick with their prehistoric policies like they do in order to remain different.



Abziwabzi said:

I bought Mega Man 2 & 3 on the Wii U e-shop last week cos of the promo and the good reviews on here. Really wish I hadn't. I don't mind the difficulty, but in a lot of places the games are UNPLAYABLE due to slowdown. I don't understand how an unplayable buggy mess gets such high marks. An unplayable port is an unplayable port.



Krambo42 said:

Every time I read an article about Virtual Console pricing I feel like I have stepped into some alternate dimension or something. $5 is too much for a game? Are you kidding me? And $2 would be ok? That difference of $3 is seriously what is stopping people from buying NES games on the VC? Seriously, what in the world is going on here? Even if the game is short or terrible and you never touch it again, it's $5. People spend more than that on a burger or a beer that lasts all of 2 minutes. Of course people would buy more games if they were cheaper, but the same could be said for anything.

I have a ton of VC games, and I have had no issue paying $5-$10 for any of them. It's a video game that I can play as much as I want any time I want. How is that not worth it?

If a game isn't worth $5 to you, maybe you just don't want that game.



rushiosan said:

I'm sorry but I'll never pay full price for those games. Specially NES and GBC. Maybe $1 would be a fair price, and $3-5 for major consoles like SNES, GBA and N64 (if it ever comes to Wii U). Even with that price mark, I'd say they're rough sales though. Emulating NES, SNES, GBC, GBA and N64 on phones and computers is basically perfect, and since the 3DS/Wii U currently doesn't have any homebrew support for now, they have an unique chance to make everyone forget emulators. I bought a phone mostly to emulate stuff and play on the go, but I'd rather have all my favorite titles available on my 3DS/Wii U...



Ventilator said:

The prices on VC Games scares me off to buy any at all.

Why is the 30 year old Ice Climber so expensive?



cwong15 said:

20 years ago, you'd pay $50 for a console game. 20 years ago, $50 is equivalent to $80 in today's currency. People were willing to pay for those games, meaning they were fun enough to justify that price. Now you can pay $8 instead of $80. What's the problem?



gspro15198 said:

I would absolutely hate if Nintendo brought in a subscription service. the reason I buy Nintendo consoles is the fact that I don't have any extra fees or charges on top of the games I've bought and when I buy a game I want to be able to play that game for however long I wish without having to pay monthly.



datamonkey said:

@cwong15 We are not living 20 years ago. This is 2014. Look at what you get now for $50...

We live in an age where you can find much better quality games on tablets etc for $£0.99 compared to a $£5 NES game.

Twenty years ago NES and SNES were all we had. We knew no different so of course we were happy to pay that money for those games. They were at the technological limit of their time. If todays games existed then do you think people would have been happy paying $50 for a NES/SNES game? I very much doubt it...



DuggyFresh said:

@Krambo42 I think you're missing the point on this. Prices on old product depreciate over time. In some rare cases, like cars, they hold or appreciate in value. For Real Estate, old houses that aren't updated are worth less, and sometimes significantly less. Electronics depreciate more drastically than most other markets.
Also, think about how these games compare to what else is on the market today. I can spend $10 on a brand new, very deep experience like Pushmo that will last for 10+ hours, or I can buy two VC games that both last me 20 minutes (excitebike, donkey kong, donkey kong Jr., Balloon fight, etc. etc.).



Krambo42 said:

@DuggyFresh You don't consider a decrease from $50 to $5 pretty significant depreciation?

And yeah, Pushmo for $10 is better value than 40 minutes' worth of gaming, but:

1-you went out of your way to name really short games. There are many VC games that you'd get much more out of. I feel like most people who complain aren't only referring to these short games, but all VC games.

2-how many of those games would people actually buy even at $2 or $3?

3-just because it's 20 minutes that doesn't mean you wouldn't play it over and over again and get your money's worth. I seriously doubt that somebody would download Donkey Kong, play it once, and never touch it again. And even if they do...

4-I think you are missing the point I'm trying to make. I'm just saying, since when is $5 a lot of money? Especially for a game that you will own and be able to play as much as you want? Maybe you can get a more fulfilling experience for the same money (or less), but that's kind of the nature of video games. Some are short, some are long, some are very replayable, some you'll never touch again...that's just how it is. You're not gonna get 1,000 hours out of every game you buy.



TruenoGT said:

I've made this argument before, but VC games compete with new games. When I can download one the best games of all time OR download some mediocre new game for the same price, which am I going to pick? I think Nintendo is under pressure from 3rd parties to keep VC prices as is for fear of cannibalizing the market and scaring away new publishers. Personally I think most of the VC games are well worth the price and are peanuts compared to many entertainment options.



jjmesa16 said:

Here is the main problem for me:

"Can I use a USB storage device formatted for a Wii U with another person's Wii U system?

No. External USB storage devices that are exclusively formatted for Wii U can only be used with the one system for which it is formatted. The only way to use your USB storage device on another Wii U is to reformat it.
Reformatting the device will erase all of its data and this data cannot be recovered."

This is the main reason I avoid all downloadable games unless there is a great sale. If you could sign into your account on your friends Wii U and play multiple games that you have downloaded onto an external hard drive that would be great. I'm not sure why Nintendo hasn't done this yet. You already have to format the hard drive so that you can't use it with a computer and I don't think any files can be copied over to another Wii U. Whenever I go to a friends house I always have to take all of my games with me. If I just had a hard drive it would be easier to take and I would be less likely to forget it. Why lock down the hard drive to a specific Wii U?

Accounts are also a big problem but I've pretty much given up on Nintendo in regards to that.



Kirk said:

Nintendo should have nailed the pricing for this day one and by that I mean made them much cheaper across the board.

There's so many stupid issues, such as the overly high pricing in general, the lack of Wii U VC games, the lack of most of the other retro systems that saw support on the Wii VC, the clunkiness of having to play Wii VC games via the legacy mode, the lack of proper unified accounts and things that could/should have brought like cross buy/play using one copy of the game...

Nintendo is just dropping the ball left, right and centre on countless things like this that it really should have nailed imo and imo if it did nail them, at least much sooner if not day one, then the Wii U would be doing much better right now as a result.



DarkEdi said:

Please, we need an update to use ID in Wii so we don´t transfer and the Wii U can recognize all our downloads in Wii. Or connect both consoles with a cable to skip transfer.



Airfrog said:

Nintendo's whole eShop strategy is a mess. Both the Wii U and 3DS (both current-generation consoles) have a couple of new games being released on the eShop each week at most, which is pretty poor.

Prices are also too high. I appreciate the big, full-priced releases are going to cost a lot, but they need to bear in mind that they are increasingly competing with games from the Apple App Store and Google Play (I'm thinking mostly of the 3DS), where most games cost a few Dollars/Pounds.

Virtual Console really is a huge, untapped resource. Nintendo have a massive back catalogue of games, so why they choose to just drip-feed a few titles per month is beyond me. I appreciate they need to test titles before release, but surely they could speed up the process. Similarly, companies like Sega, Capcom and Konami also have extensive back catalogues and I'm sure they'd be perfectly happy to make a bit more money from their old games. If these games were priced similarly to most iOS/Android games they'd sell an awful lot more.

If Nintendo really wanted to get serious about Virtual Console they could even translate and release games that never made it out of Japan (e.g. Star Ocean on SNES or Mother 3 on GBA), or release some of the almost-finished-but-never-released-stuff like Starfox 2.

Maybe this approach wouldn't appeal to everyone, but it would definitely entice me to buy more stuff from the eShop!



cwong15 said:

Comparing VC games, played on a console with real gamepads on a big screen TV, to casual touchscreen phone apps would be comparing 2 different markets. Casual games have different monetization (ads, micropayments) and play characteristics. Frankly, I can't imagine a casual game player wanting most VC games: VC games don't look as pretty and are much, much more difficult. VC games are for nostalgic old school gamers. This includes ROM emulator folks used to downloading pirated games for free, who are outraged that any such game would cost more than $0.01. This includes dedicated fans who still buy rare ROM cartridges for $150 and wonder what's the big deal with paying $5/game. Hence this debate.

I just bought a $8 RPG and spent over 30 hours playing through it. Personally, I think VC prices are so low that I give about as much thought about the cost as I would a sneeze. They are such great value as they are.



InnerSpirit said:

For years I've thought Nintendo have been missing a trick. They really are missing out on serious money by not releases the full back catalogue. I'd throw a lot of money at GC games and N64 not too mention a truck load of others. I'd love Red/Blue and Gold/Silver on my 3DS... really enjoy playing Pokémon TGC... new consoles with old memories.



Henmii said:

Nintendo keeps the prices as high as they are. Some temporarily discounts we get now and then, but that's all we get.

I wonder though: Will they offer the Pokemon cards game on ios at their normal price or at a ios price (99 cent)? If it is the latter, I guess many people who already downloaded it on the 3DS would be dissapointed. But that wouldn't be the first time Nintendo annoys its followers (Nintendo games SHOULDN'T be on ios in the first place!).



Caryslan said:

@Abziwabzi That's not an issue with the ports, that's how those games were on the NES. Virtual Console games barring very rare exceptions, are straight ports of the games, which means they generally retain quirks and bugs that were there when the games first came out.



Genesaur said:

@Einherjar Yep, and personally, I hate the idea of a subscription service. I'll pay for the games I want when I want them, not ten bucks a month to maintain access to them. That's just silly to me.



Einherjar said:

@Genesaur Yes and no. In general, im against things like Season Passes and such, or EAs upcomming atrocity.
Though id be ok with a hybrid of subscription like PS+ and a "pay to own" model.
Say, you pay for your sub and get to play every VC title offered for as long as your sub lasts (PS+ model) but if you pay a small amount per game, you get to own it permanently, so, basicly a subscription discount.

A subscription has to be an added benefit and not a paywall. Thats why PS+ (on the PS3 at least) was so much more well recieved than XBL Gold.
It wasnt a pay wall that excluded you from anything, but simply an added bonus.
Pretty much like a subscription to a comic book. You get the same issues like everyone else, but delivered to your home and maybe even a bit earlier.



AshFoxX said:

I would feel compelled to buy more VC games, even at the current prices, if I knew the game was going to be mine for life through Nintendo Network, and I'd be able to carry them over to future and current Nintendo platforms.

I'm still seething about all the VC games I bought for Wii under the wrong assumption that I would be able to transfer everything for free.



andrew20 said:

they need to put more on there
like do this for 3ds and wii u vc
month of donkey kong
3ds list
week 1 donkey kong land 1
week 2 donkey kong land 2
week 3 donkey kong land 3
week 4 donkey kong(original edition nes)and donkey kong country(gbc)
wii u list
week 1 donkey kong country 1
week 2 donkey kong country 2
week 3 donkey kong country 3
week 4 donkey kong 64
for the next month launch of GBA for 3ds
week 1 game and watch gallery 3
week 2 namco museum
week 3 game and watch gallery 4
week 4 legend of zelda four swords
next month
mario 3ds vc
week 1 super mario bros. deluxe/super mario advance
week 2 super mario advance 2
week 3 super mario advance 3
week 4 super mario advance 4
next month 4/pokemon
week 1 pokemon pinball
week 2 pokemon green
week 3 pokemon red
week 4 pokemon blue and yellow
month 5/rpg's
week 1 fire emblem(nes)
week 2 final fantasy 1
week 3 final fantasy 2
week 4 final fantasy 3
how many people like this

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