Microtransactions, whether on console, PC or mobile, have now become commonplace in the modern video game industry.
Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of iconic Nintendo franchises like Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda, isn’t fond of this relatively recent approach to video game monetization, stating that players shouldn’t be “nickel and dimed,” during a recent candid interview with Bloomberg.
“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,” said Miyamoto, discussing Nintendo’s position on in-app purchases.
Miyamoto says that Nintendo is currently looking into different ways for consumers to pay for the company’s games. He goes on to say that he isn’t fond of the current free-to-play model pushed forward by popular titles like Epic’s Fortnite. The legendary game creator also discusses how Nintendo intends to stick with a more traditional outright pricing model when it comes to the majority of its future games.
“I can’t say that our fixed-cost model has really been a success, but we’re going to continue pushing it forward until it becomes entrenched,” said Miyamoto.
“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.”
While Nintendo’s titles are typically purchased outright, the company has dabbled with free-to-play, in-app purchases in the past, particularly when it comes to its mobile titles like Fire Emblem Heroes, Pokemon Quest (which is also available on the Switch), Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and even Super Mario Run to an extent.
Mario’s first foray on mobile devices featured a free demo that allowed players to experience select levels, followed by a $13.99 CAD fixed-price point for the full game. Nintendo was heavily criticized for Super Mario Run’s expensive price tag when the game was first released, given that most mobile titles typically are only priced at a few dollars. It’s interesting that Miyamoto still has faith in the outright purchase monetization model despite the backlash Nintendo experienced following Super Mario Run’s release.
When discussing subscription services and gaming, Miyamoto went on to say that this is a new monetization model that “developers need to learn to get along with,” emphasizing that a culture where players pay for “good games” needs to be created.
“When seeking a partner for this, it’s important to find someone who understands the value of your software. Then customers will feel the value in your apps and software and develop a habit of paying money for them,” said Miyamoto.
Nintendo’s next major mobile release is set to be Mario Kart Tour. While the Japanese gaming giant hasn’t revealed a specific release date, the company says that the eagerly anticipated mobile title will drop by March 2019.
The full interview with Miyamoto is available over on Bloomberg.