The Big N has always struggled to keep up with all of this Internet-fad nonsense, but now it seems that Nintendo has realized that they can no longer afford to keep ignoring the shifting dynamics of the video game industry.
During Nintendo’s earnings briefing this past Friday, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata (the same man who recently received a 50% pay deduction) revealed that Nintendo plans on making downloadable content available on both the Nintendo 3DS and the upcoming Wii U.
Iwata stressed that Nintendo knows how important it is to offer services such as game add-ons through current and future consoles, but his statements seemed geared more towards the use of such features by third parties. Nintendo is interested in DLC simply for the benefit of extending the life of new games with the addition of new stages and “other features that players want”. However, they are not keen on add-ons that simply unlock content that is already on-disc, or content that just boosts stats for any of their software.
They have admitted that releasing cheap content that adds little to their games, and is essentially just made available to score some extra money from naive consumers, won’t help them in their goal to build a “long term relationship with customers.” Iwata confirmed that the Nintendo 3DS will see a DLC program added-in by the end of the year, and that the Wii U will also see something similar made available when it eventually launches.
Downloadable content has been one aspect of the industry that Nintendo has really missed out on. There were a few Rock Band songs that were available for download on the Wii, but those didn’t sell very well, when compared to the same content on the Xbox Live Marketplace or PSN — thus the delivery of new content was quickly discontinued.
Nintendo has to break into this market, because they stand to make a lot of profit by doing so. That being said, the promise of being able to download new Super Smash Bros. characters is almost too good to pass up.
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