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NWC: Nintendo Games Like Smash Bros. and Mario Kart Could Thrive With Free-to-Play Options on NX


Nintendo’s NX is on the horizon, and it hopefully won’t be long before Nintendo officially unveils what the system is. So we thought a recent episode of Nintendo Week, our Nintendo-themed podcast here at Gamnesia, was the a perfect time to remember the biggest features we wish the console would offer when it’s finally in our hands, and Alex had an unusual proposal: offer games like Smash Bros. and Mario Kart on optional free-to-play payment plans.

On first thought it’s outlandish, but if the free-to-play model is offered as simply a choice to introduce brand new customers into the game, rather than a replacement for the $60 model current gamers are accustomed to, it starts to make a lot of sense.

You may have already heard it explained through the podcast, or through our previous video on GamnesiaTV about
dream NX features, but Alex’s idea was so specific, unique, and thoughtful, that we decided it warrants its own time to shine.

Again, the idea isn’t to stiff long-time gamers from a $60 premium purchase; Alex proposes that they keep this model fully intact for anyone who wants to make a single payment and unlock all the game’s content. But one of Nintendo’s biggest strategic goals for the future is to engage with casual gamers from the mobile and non-gaming spaces and bring them into the world of Nintendo. To that end, the right free-to-play model could be the perfect strategy.

If people who aren’t invested in Nintendo or its properties want to try games like
Mario Kart and Smash Bros., the way it is they’d have to plunk down $60 on a game they’re not sure they’ll like. That’s a big commitment!

But Nintendo can remedy this by offering essentially a glorified game demo, a free version of the game that’s fully playable yet gates its content. At any point, players can pay small fees to unlock
Smash fighters, kart pieces, new race cups, and more, until they’ve decided they want to commit to buying the full game.

With robust options for unlocking content, it gives hesitant gamers the freedom to try Nintendo’s offerings the way they want to, which will almost certainly hook them on the gameplay, while giving Nintendo additional revenue streams from gamers who wouldn’t have otherwise paid them anything. And of course, if all goes well they’d make new fans along the way.

Be sure to check out the discussion video above for our full thoughts on the idea beyond this brief write-up. If you like the video, you can
subscribe to Nintendo Week on iTunes, where we release new episodes every Wednesday, or you could check out the full episode. If you don’t like long-form podcasts, you can subscribe to us on YouTube, where our discussion segments are uploaded on Thursdays, and these select snippets from the rest of the podcast—which we call NWC—are uploaded throughout the week. If you like what you hear, we’d love it if you leave us a review on iTunes, where you can find episodes covering tons of other subjects, or send us your feedback! We’d love to know what you think of the show, and how you think we can improve it.

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