Nintendo Bashes Freemium, Advocates Comfortable Development
Recent remarks made by Nintendo video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto advocate a return to traditional game design in the still-emerging mobile gaming market.
“We’re lucky to have such a giant market, so our thinking is, if we can deliver games at reasonable prices to as many people as possible, we will see big profit.”
The comment was delivered during the CEDEC on Wednesday in Yokohama, and follows the roll-out of Super Mario Run, a mobile game with a one-time-fee of just $9.99.
This release contrasts with other Nintendo mobile titles using a free-to-play model like Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes – both of which utilize micro-transactions.
However, at face-value, the comment seems to spurn games featuring such design (ostensibly at the expense of more thoughtful development).
In light of Belgium and the Netherlands banning loot boxes as gambling, this may be the beginning of a broader trend to reduce cash-grab features in exchange for greater market saturation.
“I can’t say that our fixed-cost model has really been a success,” Miyamoto opined. “But we’re going to continue pushing it forward until it becomes entrenched. That way everyone can develop games in a comfortable environment. By focusing on bringing games to the widest range of people possible, we can continue boosting our mobile game business.”
In between those lines is a clear call to maintain the ecosystem that is game design; as more developers look to capture the appeal of games like Fortnite or other Free-to-Play titles, game development may stagnate.
Nintendo’s next big mobile title, Mario Kart Tour, will be released in March 2019. Whether or not this is a dying breath from a dinosaur business model – or a breath of fresh air into the freemium-saturated mobile market – remains to be seen.