The new home of microtransactions

Downloadable content, software updates and microtransactions are not things that owners of Nintendo systems have been hugely exposed to in the past, but things are about to change. With expanded online offering Nintendo Network on the cards for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, third party developers will soon be allowed to sell additional content such as extra levels, or pretty hats.

Explaining the stance at an investor Q & A, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata noted that third parties should be given the opportunity to further their digital approach on Nintendo consoles with a fair degree of flexibility — provided that they are of a trustworthy nature.

As a hardware manufacturer, or platform holder, it would be better to present third party developers with as much freedom as possible. Some say that the guidelines and regulations we previously established are too strict and behind the times, and others say that Nintendo should not put too many restrictions on the features of software targeting the consumers who are familiar with microtransactions. Therefore, we plan to ensure a relative level of flexibility for the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U software compatible with the Nintendo Network as long as the developer has built a trusting relationship with consumers, except for the cases that consumers will be too disadvantaged.

When pushed on the subject of social games, Iwata decreed that it was up to third party developers to come up with the goods, again reiterating that Nintendo will allow exploration of this area provided that customers are not exploited.

If third-party developers would like to adopt this form of microtransaction, and if this kind of business relationship between the developers and consumers is commonly accepted in Japan, we have no intention to decline it. Please understand that this is totally up to each developer, and I am not in the position to say yes or no. Again, we will not turn down such requests by third party developers as far as they can establish an appropriate relationship with their customers.

How do you feel about downloadable content and microtransactions coming to Nintendo consoles? Do you welcome the move or worry that developers will hold back content?