Nintendo CEO: Nobody Rides For Free


Regardless of what others are doing in the free-to-play market, Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata says his company is simply not interested in offering games at no charge.

You hear a lot of game company executives these days talk about the benefits of a free-to-play pricing model. One person you won’t hear such talk from, however, is Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata, who reiterated his concerns about the impact of cheap and free games on the videogame industry in a new interview with AllThingsD.

“I’m not interested in offering software for free of charge. That’s because I myself am one of the game developers, who in the future wants to make efforts so the value of the software will be appreciated by the consumers,” Iwata said.

“If we are going to destroy the value of the game software – once we have done so, it’s a difficult job to recover from that situation,” he continued. “There are great examples of advertising and doing the microtransactions, and several companies who have come up with that kind of system. But on the other hand, if you ask me, is this the system that can be sustained for the long time? I don’t know the answer. And, my point is that I’m not willing to go that direction, as well.”

Rather than simply following the pack into “freemium” territory, Iwata said Nintendo wants to pursue its own vision to create something “unique and unprecedented.” What that might be is a mystery, but it’s definitely not super-cheap mobile and social games.

“If you say mobile and social games, why don’t you do the same, I say because they are already doing it and we aren’t doing the same,” he said. “If you say freemium is somewhere you can spur new revenue, once again, the answer is the same. Just because many other people are thinking that way, we aren’t thinking that way.”

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