Nintendo’s Hideki Konno has renewed the firm’s attack on low-cost software, saying that neither hardware manufacturers nor software developers want to see 3DS games sold at smartphone prices.
“We don’t want content to be devalued,” Konno told Gamasutra ahead of 3DS’s launch this weekend. “Let’s say there’s a ton of other software out there that's free, which forces you then to take your content which you want to sell for 10 dollars and you have to lower it down to one dollar to be competitive. It's not a business model that's going to make developers happy.”
Satoru Iwata told a GDC audience earlier this month that “content is king”, and Konno's interview follows very similar lines. “We really want to maintain the high value of that content,” he said. “So now in terms of one dollar games, or free games, or whatever that is out there in the market, I mean, really, we're not going to be competing with that.
“We're not going to try to match that; we're just going to continually strive to not just maintain, but increase, the quality of the entertainment that we're providing, and let it sort itself out. If we went out and created one of our titles – a big title for Nintendo – and we decided to sell it at, like, say 100 yen, how many do we have to sell to get back our investment? That number's insane. It's just incredible, right?”
Konno becomes the latest Nintendo executive to attempt to draw a distinct line between traditional console software development and the new, low-cost mobile and social developer. Last month Nintendo Of America president Reggie Fils-Aime said: “One of the biggest risks today in our industry are these inexpensive games that are candidly disposable…[these games] create a mentality for the consumer that [games] should only be two dollars.”
Satoru Iwata then told the audience at his GDC keynote early this month that the likes of Apple and Facebook did not share Nintendo’s values. “For them, content is something created by someone else,” he said. “Their goal is to gather as much software as possible: quantity is what drives their profit. Quality does not matter to them.”
Then, last week, Reggie Fils-Aime was at it again, saying that while Nintendo was keen to work with independent developers on 3DS, it was not interested in engaging the “garage developer”.