In a revealing interview with CNNMoney.com, Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata says that in-game ads are a passing trend; claims first-party Rev titles will be under $50.
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the business of in-game advertising, with some claiming the revenue stream will rise to heaven in the next few years, while others are saying it will sink to hell. According to the interview, Iwata just doesn’t see it becoming a viable source of cash.
"We do not deny the possibility that Nintendo will be doing something like [in-game advertising] in the future," he said. "Personally, though, I don’t really think it’s going to be a significant source of revenue to our industry."
He questioned the effectiveness of in-game ads, and was reportedly confused about how gamers could focus on in-game ads when they’re busy with gameplay.
Sony president of World Wide Studios Phil Harrison said at the GDC last week that in-game ads will play a significant role in the future of the PlayStation 3.
Iwata also said that first-party Nintendo titles will likely sell for under 50 bones.
"I cannot imagine any first party title could be priced for more than $50," he said. "In the US, we’re going to see the next generation cost an awful lot. I really don’t think that there’s going to be a lot of acceptance by current customers of the $60 price tag. They may allow that for a limited number of premium titles, but not all."
The interview also touched on storage methods for downloaded Virtual Console games on the Revolution. The console does have 512 MB of flash memory, as well as SD memory card slots, but Iwata also noted the Revolution’s USB ports, stating that "practically any storage method can be used" to store games.
Still, there is some concern among gamers that these downloadable games will not remain in storage permanently. Iwata didn’t exactly discount the idea that downloads could be temporary.
"We can set some limitations as to the time period a piece of downloaded content can be played," said Iwata. "Or, we may opt to let users play as long as they want. This gives us a flexible business model."
Iwata also said that "A number of different publishers are now interested in participating in this virtual console system. As far as the details, though, I believe we will wait for another opportunity before discussing them," making it sound like more announcements along the lines of the GDC Genesis / TurboGrafx game deals could be on the way soon.
Interestingly, Iwata also noted that new games will be a focus of the downloadable service as well, although these are likely to remain simpler titles along the lines of Xbox Live Arcade content.
"If we can come up with an addictive, but simple title – such as Tetris 15 years ago – my attention should be focused on containing costs," he said. "So, I would make it available through the Virtual Console. I think the opportunity for ourselves will be much larger than software that costs $50-$60. … Of course, there are a number of people waiting for a ‘masterpiece’ title. For those games, we’ll utilized traditional distribution channels."