Nintendo has experimented with a few different payment models for games, especially with the company’s ventures into mobile games over the last few years, Shigeru Miyamoto is determined to lead the charge of bringing set, “reasonable” prices to consumers.
“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 products,” Miyamoto said during the Computer Entertainment Developers Conference (via Bloomberg).
The practice Miyamoto stands in opposition to is the free-to-play model, which has taken off in the last few years. Many companies offer games for free, but incentivize players to drip more and more money into the system by paying for cosmetics, stat-boosting items, or loot boxes later down the line.
While this model is profitable, it’s raised many concerns, including tons of gamer outrage over what’s seen as “pay-to-win” practices and more widespread alarm comparing loot box addiction to gambling addiction.
Nintendo’s not entirely guilt-free in this regard. One of its earlier smartphone games, Super Mario Run, had an up-front cost. It’s next games, like Fire Emblem Heroes and Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, were free-to-play with the option to buy items later on in the game. While this latter model proved to be more profitable, Miyamoto views it as unhealthy for the industry.
“I can’t say that our fixed-cost model has really been a success,” Miyamoto admitted. “Butt we’re going to continue pushing it forward until it becomes entrenched. 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.”
As an alternative, Miyamoto suggested that more game developers learn from the music industry, which has struggled to switch from selling physical, individual albums to widespread streaming on YouTube, Spotify, and other sites. Equally important, he said, is not nickel-and-diming consumers to the point that it hurts the games and drives away consumers.
“It’s important to find someone who understands the value of your software,” Miyamoto said. “Then customers will feel the value in your apps and software and develop a habit of paying money for them.”