Nintendo; Free Games Not as Valuable as Nintendo Titles

Want to know what Nintendo themselves think of free games on the iPhone and other mobile platforms? Well here’s the answer.  Apparently, they consider them as not offering ‘exceptional’ fun and being lower value than their published games.  Here’s the original quote from Nintendo president Satoru Iwata:

I think it totally incorrect to discuss the influence of smart devices and social games together as one topic, and I always try to distinguish between the two. Smart devices have both pros and cons for our business. Take the “Animal Crossing: New Leaf Direct” video I mentioned before, for instance, those who are interested in the Animal Crossing series, but are not aware of Nintendo Direct might have seen a tweet about the video and the link to it on their Twitter timeline and actually accessed it on their smartphone. In this context, smartphones are nothing but our friend. On the other hand, some say that they do not need dedicated gaming systems because they can play a number of games for free or for 85 yen each on smartphones. We believe that neither Nintendo nor dedicated gaming systems are worthy of existence unless our games give consumers unparalleled fun, which games for free or for 85 yen do not supply. As I referred to before, when i-mode for cell phones started in Japan, many people said that, as application software including games worked on cell phones, everyone would play games only with their cell phones because they are practical items they always carry, which would eventually eliminate handheld gaming devices. We were asked about this matter many times and answered that we would try something that cannot be done on cell phones. After that, we were able to see the positive result of the Nintendo DS system. On the other hand, it can be said that the fact that Nintendo DS was able to demonstrate the new potential of touch screens, and as a result, created our new rivals called smart devices, I really feel that history is repeating itself. Above all, we have two things to do: to offer consumers gaming experiences which smart devices cannot realize and to actively try to make smart devices our allies, not our enemies.

Or in simpler terms, Nintendo’s games are more fun than any games you can buy on a phone, and the higher price reflects this.  Is this true?

Well to be perfectly honest, I think so.  Free or cheap games available on smart devices aren’t that good, and the majority most definitely are poorly designed imitations of much better titles found elsewhere.  Yes there are some decent ones being sold for a ridiculously low price, but to an extent you can say you get what you pay for.

Heck, need more proof of this?  Look at the sales of any Nintendo game.  Does every Mario and Pokemon game sell extremely well?  Yes it does.  And more importantly, Nintendo generally never has to lower the price tag on any of them, they keep their value despite spending years in the market.  Go to Amazon any minute now and look up a recent classic like New Super Mario Bros Wii, Mario Kart DS/Wii or Super Mario Galaxy 2.  They’re still basically sold at full price, and yet still sell!  Hell, Nintendo’s games just keep on selling, many of their best selling titles did well because they kept selling at a consistent rate for years on end.  Whatever way you look at it, people value Nintendo’s games more.  They value retail titles more.  No gamer is going to go ‘well, I like New Super Mario Bros U, but this game on the iPad is only a fiver so it’ll buy that instead’.  Things don’t work that way.

More to the point, it’s very rare if not non existant that a cheap game on one of these services ever has the depth and breadth of content to compete with one of Nintendo’s major blockbusters.  There’s nothing like Mario Galaxy, Smash Bros Brawl or Mario Kart on an iPad, bar maybe a few really poor quality clones.

So yes, Nintendo is arguably right, their games are objectively better than anything you can get for free or cheap on the app store.  And for those analysts out there thinking they’re being stupid or arrogant, keep your eye on Angry Birds Trilogy on 3DS, since common sense dictates it probably won’t sell at Mario game levels for 30 dollars.



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