Despite claims that Nintendo will aim to avoid the "freemium" route for its smartphone releases, it has been confirmed by the Wall Street Journal that the forthcoming Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem titles will both be free to download and will be supported by in-game transactions - something which was mooted back in 2015.

Free-to-play games naturally get downloaded in larger numbers as the barrier to entry is removed, but this usually means the gameplay is focused around "pay to win" mechanics where the player is encouraged to spend real-world money to progress, rather than rely on their own skill.

It's this system of milking players for cash that has earned mobile gaming so much criticism from some sectors of the gaming community, and it remains to be seen if Nintendo can strike a balance which avoids such issues. Free-to-play can also mean offering small demos of titles before asking players to pay for the full package, or withholding expansion elements behind a paywall - something Nintendo has done on 3DS with Fire Emblem Fates and its new map packs.

While this might not be the ideal news, Tom Nook should do some brisk business - he might finally get the chance to lay his paws on some real-world cash.

[via mcvuk.com, wsj.com]