Maybe Nintendo Should Consider Free-To-Play Games

Before I start this article I want to say that yes, I am aware of Satoru Iwata’s position on the matter. That position being that he isn’t interested and believes that the free-to-play market is only hurting console sales. We all know that the Wii U isn’t exactly the most stable of consoles at the moment, costing Nintendo more money than they would like in attempts to reinvigorate sales.  And in no way am I suggesting that free-to-play games would save the Wii U.  Instead, I would like us all to consider that adding this genre to their library could help Nintendo gain some much needed momentum.

Nintendo has some of the best franchises that the world has ever seen when it comes to video games.  Their most popular series are years old and clock in at double digits, something that is incredibly rare for the industry today.  Add that to the fact that Nintendo takes their time when creating a game means that there is little chance of glitches and patches being a common occurrence.  But there is a price that we gamers pay for that pedigree of excellence and that’s development time.

Mario Kart 8's upcoming release undoubtedly builds itself around the profitability of online multiplayer.

Mario Kart 8’s upcoming release undoubtedly builds itself around the profitability of online multiplayer.

It could be argued that the Wii U is almost completely supported by first party Nintendo titles,and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  However I would like to make the point again that it takes Nintendo a very long time to release new games.  You just aren’t going to see a new Legend of Zelda every single year. That just isn’t the model that the company is built on. Nintendo fans understand the care that goes into each game released and we appreciate it.  But for consoles that are supported by the company itself, the wait time for a new game can be brutal. Which is why adopting the free-to-play model could be beneficial.

With a steady, well supported free-to-play game not only would Nintendo be fulfilling the desire that gamers have for a new IP but they would also be giving their fans something that they can come back to and occupy themselves with while waiting for the next Super Smash Bros.  Best of all by providing little extras, like character skins, they could monetize the game in a way that made sense.  Too often we see free-to-play’s fall in the pay-to-win trap though I’d like to believe that Nintendo wouldn’t do that. 


Still, this is just an idea and a flimsy one since Nintendo is still standing strong on their stance that free-to-play games aren’t on the cards.  But who wouldn’t want to see a free-to-play Legend of Zelda that allows you to play as different characters like Hyrule Warriors might.  Or a free to play Mario Kart, or even the game that ruins friendships- Mario Party. Again these are all ideas that I’m throwing out into the internet with the hope that one day Nintendo might entertain them.  They maybe holding fast for now but free-to-play gaming doesn’t appear to be going away and if Nintendo ever did go that route?  I can only believe that the game they create would be everything a fan could ever want.

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  1. tgruver

    If anything, I’d almost believe what some folks are theorizing that Nintendo could be hatching up their own Skylanders game sometime this or next year. An enormous, multi series platformer with the ensuing action-figures and toy line-up might very well be what they’re hinting at from their press conferences in terms of licensing power. It’d make them the cash flux they’d need and stick with the Wii U as its console platform. Another thought.

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