4. FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING
Though we're naturally a tight-fisted bunch at Gamer Towers, the 360 and PS3 have shown just how good - as well as bad - downloadable content can get. It's not just about costume packs: DLC can keep players engaged, and makes great games even better. This year sees its debut on Nintendo platforms, with the trailblazer being Fire Emblem: Awakening. The game launched in Japan last week, and on the same day the first DLC went live - free until the end of May. Such a launch shows a wariness about how players will react.
The fact it's free for the first month encourages early purchases, and gives players the chance to see the standard Nintendo will set. And as well as the paid DLC, every 3DS receives special Fire Emblem characters and rare loot through SpotPass - so whether you fork out or not, the game will deliver more than is on the cart. But what about something like Arkham City?
From summer 2012 third-party publishers will be able to offer DLC on Nintendo platforms and, initially at least, they're going to get the chance to do it their way: "It is better to present third-party developers with as much freedom as possible," says Iwata. "We plan to ensure a relative level of flexibility for [DLC with] 3DS and Wii U software."
That's the sound business sense we expect, and Iwata also confronts the argument that DLC ends up compromising game design in order to bleed players dry: "If we place too much focus upon [DLC] we will end up focusing too much on increasing the average revenue per user, and it will result in negative side-effects. We cannot and should not ask our consumers to make excessive payments. Doing such things might be good for short-term profit, but it will not serve our mid- and long-term business developments."
DLC is coming to Nintendo in a big way. It can be a great thing if done right - and with Nintendo's attitude as player-focused as ever, that's the least we expect.