Nintendo CEO: Mobile Games Are Free-to-Start, Not Free-to-Play
Nintendo President and CEO Satoru Iwata had some interesting things to say about his company's mobile games, differentiating between the phrases "free-to-play" and "free-to-start."
Nintendo recently announced that it will be partnering with DeNA to produce mobile games from Nintendo's brands. In a recent interview with Time, Satoru Iwata admitted that he would rather call his mobile games "free-to-start," since he believes that the term "free-to-play" is misleading, Polygon reports. While Iwata didn't rule out the possibility of free-to-play games, he was pretty hesitant about the whole matter.
“I do not like to use the term ‘Free-to-play,'” says Iwata. “I have come to realize that there is a degree of insincerity to consumers with this terminology, since so-called ‘Free-to-play’ should be referred to more accurately as ‘Free-to-start.'”
This may be a relief to parents who have felt the harsh reality of their children spending money on games and apps without their permission. Iwata went on to continue to reiterate that within these mobile games, they are looking to make sure that Nintendo's brand is firmly cemented. Specifically, Nintendo will be taking its own path instead of following the lead of other companies such as Google or Apple who, while admittedly have great success in the market, also have faced serious charges from upset parents.
Nintendo does not want our IP to be used in any scenarios that consumers might think we have taken it a bit too far or question whether the content is suitable for children.
The Nintendo brand encompasses more than 30-years' worth [sic] of accumulated trust that parents can feel safe letting their children play with our products — an asset that is very precious to Nintendo. We want to maintain this consumer trust and would not want to damage it in any way.
The thing that concerns me most is that, in the digital age, if we fail to make efforts to maintain the value of our content, there is the high possibility for the value to be greatly reduced as the history of the music industry has shown. On the other hand, I have no intention to deny the Free-to-start model. In fact, depending on how we approach this model, we may be able to overcome these problems.
We will just have to see if Iwata stays true to his word sometime later this year when the first product of the Nintendo and DeNA mobile partnership will debut.