August 24, 2018 // 11:07 a.m.
Gaming pioneer Shigeru Miyamoto has warned developers against free-to-play (F2P) distribution models - even as Nintendo continues to rake in cash from its own F2P mobile games.
Best known as the creator of the Mario, Zelda, and Donkey Kong franchises and having worked at Nintendo since 1977, Shigeru Miyamoto is a man who knows the gaming industry inside out - and he appears to be unimpressed with the recent trend towards releasing games as free downloads with in-game purchases to make up the revenue, known as the 'free to play' (F2P) model.
Speaking at the Computer Entertainment Developers Conference (CEDEC) in Yokohama this week, attended and reported by Bloomberg, Miyamoto warned developers that free-to-play is not the way forward - even while admitting that Nintendo's own attempt at releasing a fixed-price buy-to-own mobile game fell relatively flat.
'I can't say that our fixed-cost model has really been a success,' Miyamoto admitted to attendees, seemingly in reference to the fixed-price launch of Nintendo's first in-house mobile game Super Mario Run which was criticised for its high purchase price relative to rival ad-supported and F2P equivalents. 'But 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.'
Miyamoto's pledge to continue with a fixed-price model, however, flies in the face of Nintendo's recent releases: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Fire Emblem Heroes, the companies next two games after Super Mario Run, were both released under a free-to-play model that saw the games pulling in more than ten times the revenue of their fixed-price predecessor.
The company's next mobile games, Dragalia Lost and Mario Kart Tour, are due for release on Android and iOS later this year and in early 2019 respectively. Nintendo has not yet confirmed whether they will be fixed-price, free-to-play, or in-app-purchase-subsidised titles.