Nintendo’s Iwata dislikes the “insincerity” of free-to-play terminology


We’ve heard Nintendo president Satoru Iwata voice his concerns over devaluing content ever since his GDC 2011 keynote, but it is the “insincerity” behind the free-to-play terminology that he takes most issue with.

“I do not like to use the term ‘Free-to-play,'” Iwata confessed to TIME. “I have come to realise that there is a degree of insincerity to consumers with this terminology, since so-called ‘Free-to-play’ should be referred to more accurately as ‘Free-to-start.'”

He continued, “The thing that concerns me most is that, in the digital age, if we fail to make efforts to maintain the value of our content, there is the high possibility for the value to be greatly reduced as the history of the music industry has shown. On the other hand, I have no intention to deny the Free-to-start model. In fact, depending on how we approach this model, we may be able to overcome these problems.”

Iwata believes that Free-to-start can co-exist alongside retail, and it will be important for Nintendo to choose whichever best suits each game that they develop.

“I do not believe it is an either-or situation between Free-to-start and packaged game retail business models,” Iwata added. “There are games which are more suited for the Free-to-start model. We can flexibly choose between both revenue systems depending on the software content.

“However, because there are games or types of games which are suited for the existing package model, and because there are consumers who appreciate and support them, I have to say that it is a one-sided claim to suggest that a complete transition to a Free-to-start model should be made because the existing retail model is outdated.”

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