Nintendo has had an uneasy relationship with free-to-play games, not helped by a speech given by CEO Satoru Iwata during GDC ’11 questioning the value of games given away for free. Nintendo appears to be turning the corner with free-to-play on the Wii U, however, and Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said his company is open to numerous types of business models.
“Free-to-play or any other business model really needs to be separated out into the business model itself and the content that delivers on that business model,” said Fils-Aime. “In terms of business models, we love them all. Full priced games, smaller digital content, free-to-play, consumable content, subscription services . . . we love them all. The good news is that the system that will support Wii U will accommodate all of those business models. So at that point, it’s up to the developer and publisher to figure out what it is that they want to do.”
“On the content side, we just believe it’s important that the content match the business model. And some of the people who are having trouble today are, I think, examples where the content is not matching the business model by having something that’s free-to-play but it’s not hooking me and I’m not getting far enough into the game to actually spend money on future purchases, that’s a bad business model,” he added. “I’m not going to call out any competitors, but there are a number of people where [it’s a problem]. Pick the business model, and I can find people where it’s working and I can find people where it’s not.”