Nintendo may consider free-to-play model for new franchises

But not for the likes of Mario or Pokemon

Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata has said the company hasn't ruled out the possibility of releasing free-to-play or "cheap-to-play" games supported by microtransactions.


However, Nintendo's top executive told Japanese business publication Nikkei that the company won't embrace such business models for key existing franchises like Mario or Pokemon.

"We [as an industry] can now do distribution by digital means as well as micro-transactions, and the ways to obtain money through supporting entertainment have increased," Iwata said, according to a NeoGAF translation of the interview.

"Therefore, I have no intention of denying charged games, or the free-to-play model. If we were to talk about if Nintendo were to do that, however, I do not [have] much inclination to do that with Nintendo's established well-known products, where people trust their interesting-ness.

"For example, for people who are used to Mario games costing 4,800 or 5,800 yen, we will not have a proverbial door to full enjoyment that can only be unlocked via payment."

However, Iwata went on to say that Nintendo will continue its recently launched strategy of releasing extra content for full price releases in popular series, such as paid DLC for the likes of New Super Mario Bros. 2.

He added: "For new titles with no established base, if, in the process of development, we found it to suit the free-to-play model, we might follow that route, or we might do something like 'Cheap-to-play'.

"Our sales methods have been freed up and I have no desire to extinguish that freedom. If we were to release something like that, it is not a betrayal but the birth of an interesting idea through our new found freedom, that's all. I am not talking about changing how we sell Mario or Pokemon."