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Nintendo’s taking a “free-to-start” approach to mobile game pricing

by Joey Davidson | July 3, 2015

Nintendo Puppets - Nintendo E3 2015 Stream -10

Nintendo will release their first official mobile game later this year. The company recently partnered with mobile game maker DeNA in order to dip into the marketplace both to please investors and secure profit.

In a recent investor meeting, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata responded to a line of questioning regarding how mobile games will be sold. Apparently, the company doesn’t want to use the “free-to-play” model of free games that offer tons of microtransactions, social network sharing and pesky ads.

Instead, Nintendo is going “free-to-start.”

“…we do not want to use the free-to-play terminology that implies that you can play games free-of-charge…

Instead, we use the term ‘free-to-start,’ as this term more aptly describes that at the beginning you can start to play for free.”

That doesn’t mean that they won’t use all pricing models. Iwata explained that “different payment systems suit different kinds of software.” He did offer that the company doesn’t particularly like the free-to-play method as they don’t feel it will be embraced positively globally.

What do they mean by “free-to-start?” Well, they’re doing it now with a few games on the Nintendo 3DS.

Stretchmo, for instance, is a free download. Within are seven trial puzzles that introduce you to the game and its mechanics. From there, you can buy puzzle bundles. All the content the game has will cost you something like $10, and that will get you around 250 puzzles. That’s a lot.

I’m not sure if that price point will work on mobile, but I certainly like the demo style philosophy.

Nintendo

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Joey Davidson

Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...Joey Davidson leads the gaming department here on TechnoBuffalo. He's been covering games online for more than 10 years, and he's a lover of all...


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