While Nintendo still prefers conventional approaches to selling games — you pay a price and receive the full game — it has, in recent times, shown an increasing willingness to explore areas such as DLC. It's also, to a lesser degree, explored and supported free-to-play — Steel Diver: Sub Wars is a notable example on 3DS, while Zen Studios adopted an app approach with Zen Pinball 2. We haven't seen a flood of these games, but there is another on the way to North America next week.
Lucadian Chronicles — from Dark Roast Entertainment — is a virtual card game that's coming to the Wii U eShop in North America on 11th December. The studio moved to issue some clarifications when its official listing appeared on the Nintendo website with a price of $0.00; its tweets have confirmed that it'll be a free download with limited content and an unlock of $7.99, though gave assurances that there'll be no microtransactions.
With a card game like this — which will apparently also include online battles — it seems sensible to offer a free version for curious gamers to try out. As a model it runs the risk of achieving a lot of free downloads without converting those into sales, all without the alternative revenue found on iOS and Android in the form of advertising. It'll be interesting to see whether this move pays off for the studio.
Does this idea of a free download and a paid unlock to access more content appeal to you? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks to Ryan Millar for the heads up.