Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto Criticizes Free-to-Play Games Model

August 24, 2018 11:14AM PT

Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto thinks the industry needs to shun the free-to-play business model and deliver titles at fixed prices, Bloomberg reports.

The “Super Mario Bros.” and “Donkey Kong” creator made those comments at the Computer Entertainment Developers Conference in Yokohama, Japan, on Wednesday.

“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 profits,” he said.

He went on to admit that Nintendo’s fixed-cost model hasn’t been a big success, referring specifically to “Super Mario Run,” the company’s first foray into mobile gaming. Many criticized its relatively high price compared to other apps on the market.

Other Nintendo mobile games like “Fire Emblem Heroes” and “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” adopted free-to-play models. “Fire Emblem,” a gacha-style tactical RPG, is doing especially well for Nintendo. It’s reportedly earned over $400 million in revenue since its launch in February 2017. “Pocket Camp” has reportedly made over $25 million since its debut, but players recently criticized a new feature that added loot box-style Fortune Cookies to the game. Nintendo and developer Cygames are currently working on a new mobile RPG called “Dragalia Lost” that will likely be free-to-play as well.

But Miyamoto said Nintendo will continue pushing forward with the fixed-cost model 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,” he said.