The free-to-play model is no doubt a lucrative model for developers. After all with the game being free, getting gamers to check it out will not be too difficult. While this model might work for developers, it seems that not everyone is too thrilled about it, and Nintendo is one of them. Nintendo is both a software and a hardware company, where their first-party software is exclusive to their platforms, meaning that if you wanted to play a game of Mario or Zelda, you’d need to get your hands on any of Nintendo’s gaming consoles because that’s the only place you would find it.
That being said, Nintendo believes the free-to-play model is hurting their business because it means that gamers will be able to play games that bypasses the need for an exclusive piece of hardware, like the Wii U, to play other types of games that might be available on a wide variety of platforms.
Speaking to investors at Nintendo’s Q&A last week, the company’s president, Satoru Iwata, was quoted as saying, “Although people may actually be spending more money (to play games on other devices not dedicated to video games), it is less visible, so the hurdle we have to clear in order to encourage them to purchase dedicated game systems has comparatively become higher […] Because our hardware and software are integrated, we first need consumers to purchase our hardware to get our business off the ground, a challenge I outlined when I talked about changing the way we sell our products.”
Alternatively Nintendo could always go for the free-to-play model as it has been proven to be a money-maker, but it feels like the company plans to stick to its guns and believes that trends like free-to-play might eventually go away. What do you guys think?