E3 2013: Nintendo to Launch Free-to-Play Game

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

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Nintendo Free-to-Play

Nintendo has announced that they will be releasing a free-to-play game by March of next year. Although they have yet to give any specific details, Satoru Iwata did confirm that the game will not be a part of either the Pokemon or Mario franchises.

Nintendo has recently expressed a desire to both release more free-to-play games and adopt methods of game distribution beyond traditionally packaged games. Iwata remarked that “we might see more games that are similar to free-to-play games, games that cost much less or games that require a monthly subscription fee.”

While Iwata did remark that selling games in a digital download format provides Nintendo with more flexibility, he stated that their goal is not to simply replace physical distribution with digital distribution. Regardless of their reasons, it seems that Nintendo is certainly planning to further explore digital distribution and make content more easily available.



  • James Best

    I’d like to see Nintedo’s free-to-play game be a Team Fortress 2-style multiplayer shooter. It seems like something that fits with Nintendo’s style and would cover a genre they don’t really have a lot of games covering right now.

  • Kyle Emch

    I have very little doubt that whatever they decide to make, the game will be fun (unless it’s made by freaking Ambrella). I’m a bit worried about how they’ll price it, but if it’s anything like how they did the DLC for Fire Emblem: Awakening, I guess I’m not too worried.

  • Tim Mazzola

    Glad they’re experimenting. I just don’t really see what franchise Nintendo have that would work with this monetization method. Maybe it’s a new IP? Free to play doesn’t work for everything, and since Nintendo haven’t experimented with it before I’m afraid they might not know what works and what doesn’t, and they haven’t been very good at pricing digital content in the past. They’ll have to be very smart about this for it to work.

    • Raymond

      What do you mean there not good at pricing digital content?

    • Tim Mazzola

      Well… last I checked, don’t they charge like 10 bucks for NES games? What does it cost them to put a game they made 20 years ago on an e-shop that THEY run that they still have the licensing for?

      And in my experience with DLC, a pack of 3 DLC maps in Fire Emblem: Awakening costs a 4th as much as the actual game.

      Granted, other developers such as Capcom have had digital pricing models like this in the past. That doesn’t make them good digital pricing models.

      I want Nintendo to succeed and to survive this generation and people would be much more willing to purchase their digital content in larger quantities were it more affordable.

    • Kevin Tan

      US$5 for NES games actually, and US$6 for 3 DLC maps. Super Luigi U, a game with as much content as its main game, is $20 on eShop and $30 stand alone. I think recent Nintendo DLC pricing is actually among the most reasonable I’ve seen in a while.

    • Ben Baker

      And let’s hope it stays that way. Woe will be the day when Nintendo charges $2 for an alternate costume for Mario.

  • MusubiKazesaru

    Maybe they have an idea for a new IP and want to explore new types of gameplay beforehand by getting their fan’s opinion’s

  • We need Dragon Quest X: Rise of the Five Tribes Online here in the U.S.

  • Ben Baker

    It’s probably a new IP. Nintendo needs some new franchises, especially for the Wii U, and there aren’t too many already-established series that would be that good a fit for the free-to-play model. They’d probably want either a multiplayer-based or an episodic story-based game if they want to be really successful.

  • multibottler0cket

    I’ll never play a game with a subscription fee. I have too many games for that, it’s not worth it.

    Free to play is annoying, it’s hard to justify buying an in game item or whatever. It’s almost as bad as DLC.

    Maybe I’m just an old man.

    • Brad Williams

      The thing is, properly done, f2p means never having to buy anything. You may -want- to buy, but you don’t have to. Look at games like Tribes: Ascend, Planetside 2, World of Tanks… it can be done well.

    • multibottler0cket

      Yeah, I admit I’ve never tried any free to play games. A lot of them are online, giving you a distinct disadvantage if you don’t buy things.

      I suppose if it’s single player and playable without paying for items and stuff it’s cool, but I’d rather just pay 30-60 dollars for a full game than pay as I go. You may end up spending the same amount, and I have a hard time justifying spending real money on something in game. Unless it’s broken into chapters or something, where you pay per chapter. That’s cool.

    • SirAston

      Most good F2P-games uses a hybrid of ingame money and real cash, but you can’t buy gameplay-related items with real cash, meaning you only have to pay for cosmetic stuff and even then only if you want. A good example would be League of Legends. Champions, the characters, are buyable with both ingame and real money (newest Champs are the most expensive, the oldest ones most of the time the cheapest. They’re still more or less all viable for competitive playing). Skins, which only changes graphics and sometimes sounds and VA, are purely cosmetic and only buyable with cash. Runes, on the other hand, are semi-minor tweaks than affects every owned champion when equipped and can only be bought with ingame currency.
      Pretty good approach and you can get everything gameplay-related without spending one single dollar when you play long enough.

      The episodic format is a good choice if the first or first two episodes are free. It’s like a big demo for something even bigger, so you can judge if this game is fun for you.
      The real problem with stuff like DLC is that games nowadays gets a bit rushed most of the time. First Week Patches aren’t that rare, sadly. It hurts the consumers who can’t afford an internet connection (who are already crippled by games that only have online multiplayer).

  • RagunaXL

    I would be partial to the new monolith software title for wii-U being free-to-play. I have to assume it is at least has an online mode