For years Nintendo stayed away from the rising trend of DLC in games, with executives like CEO Satoru Iwata emphatically stating that they believe the full game experience should be offered at launch. A few years ago, Nintendo softened on that stance a bit and began to test the waters with DLC, but they continued to have goals of making the game feel “complete” by itself and making the DLC a good value.
Fast forward to today and the majority of Nintendo’s major titles (such as Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U) have either already received DLC or have it on the way. Is this the new standard for Nintendo? According to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime, that’s not the case.
Question: What about digital add-ons? Recently, there’ve been new characters and tracks for Mario Kart 8 available as paid downloads, and Nintendo recently said there will be downloadable content in Super Smash Bros. as well. Is that the new norm for your games?
Fils-Aime: I wouldn’t quite frame it as “the new normal.” But what I would say is this: Where our developers see a strong value for the consumer in having additional downloadable content, we’ll make that available. Let’s take Fire Emblem, which launched last year for the 3DS. There was extensive downloadable content that extended the story, it added a lot of value to the Fire Emblem game because of the nature of that software. Mario Kart, we’re making available a tremendous amount of content for a very low price. That’s the way we think about downloadable content. If it makes sense for the game, and it makes sense for the consumer, we’ll make it available. It’s not that every single game in the future now will have DLC.
Rather than treating DLC as a standard, Nintendo lets the development team for each game decide if they see an opportunity to create quality add-on content. Most recent Nintendo games have had DLC because the developers had lots of ideas for new content, but it won’t be forced onto titles.