Both Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime have made their views on aspects of “mobile” gaming pretty clear over the last few months. Iwata even spent a portion of the GDC keynote speech on the topic and Fils-Aime had to later help “clarify” what Iwata meant.
Neither seem to look that fondly on so called “garage developers” — or essentially hobbyists — or on the multitude of free or dollar downloadable games on the market. Now, 3DS project lead Hideki Konno has stepped into the fray, saying Nintendo will not be releasing digital games on the 3DS that drive prices down to the bottom. He argued that strategy is in the interest of game makers.
Konno continued that Nintendo would not be trying to match or compete with the free or one dollar games available on the market. He argued Nintendo would strive to increase the quality of the the entertainment they are providing and that the market would sort itself out.
According to Konno, the higher-priced games continue to be worth their price because of the value they bring. He argued that while a consumer might be excited about a large title on sale at a great price, that to create an actual large title, a Call of Duty for example, the number of copies of the game the developer would need to sell at a dollar price point would be insane. Konno suggested that any such big game released for free or for a dollar would likely have to have its content reduced also so it could be sold at that price.
Konno argued consumers would not mind paying a reasonable price for games that will entertain and engage the player. He did add that he did not think games on a cell phone are a bad thing or worthless, but just that they were different.
He might have a point but at the same time the gaming industry feels like it might be at one of those big turning points in its young life. There are only so many hours in the day to be entertained and between things like Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and games on your phone or tablet, how much time is left for handheld gaming? Are gamers really looking for those $40 experiences on the go? Do games really need to cost $40 when they can be distributed directly and digitally to consumers? It will certainly be interesting to watch the 3DS and later NGP to see how the story unfolds.
What do you think of Hideki Konno’s view regarding cheap downloadable games and the 3DS? Do you agree with his view that the 3DS will not really be competing with one dollar or free games out on the market? Do you think the 3DS will need to incorprate these types of games and that companies like Nintendo will need to produce some to remain successful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.