When you have to slash the price of a brand new piece of hardware and your managerial staff take considerable pay cuts to make up for losses, you would have thought Nintendo would be upping their game when it comes to 3DS releases, especially via the eShop. The DSi was and still is littered with low-tier titles through DSiWare and the hope was the eShop would begin a new period of higher quality digital downloadable games from the Japanese giant. However, coming this week is the GameBoy version of Pac-Man. For £3.70 (€4).
Now Pac-Man maybe one of the all time classics video games but the very week after pretty much admitting your new handheld has a problem with generating interest and consumers, isn’t the time to trawl through the back catalogue of over-played hits. I don’t doubt the release date has been around longer than the idea to cut the price of the 3DS but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been pushed back to make way for one of the many more exciting classic GameBoy titles. Furthermore, charging £3.70 is baffling when you can buy newer versions with more features for much less on competing platforms. The mind boggles as to what’s going on at Nintendo HQ.
That being said, news that Nintendo is currently working on a transaction system enabling the 3DS and next year’s Wii U to receive premium DLC is also hitting the internet, lifting spirits dampened by silly eShop titles. In an investors meeting on Friday (via Andriasang) president Satoru Iwata said feature will be made available to developers by the end of the year allowing them to begin pumping out chunks of content presumably in-game for new titles and via the eShop for older ones. But we all know the shadiness of existing DLC services with things like unlock keys and purchasable stat increases and Iwata said these won’t be making an appearance on their platforms. Both he and Shigeru Miyamoto said they want to see content that will extend the life of a game – like new levels for example. Anything less than that they believe will damage any possibility of solidifying long term relationships with consumers and fans (ironic after the first two paragraphs of this post…)
Don’t expect to see free-to-play games appear on the 3DS anytime soon though as Iwata again down-played their importance. To him, a platform like that would undermine the premium value of Nintendo’s content. To everyone else, it starts to look like backward thinking from a company with massive potential to once again dominate the handheld space. I don’t go for free-to-play games myself but do understand their relevance in todays market and think that if Nintendo cherry picked the best ones for the 3DS and Wii U, it would do more good than not having them at all.