Nintendo: Wii U to support free-to-play games

Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata says its next-gen Wii U console will support a free-to-play gaming model.

“With respect to the Wii U system, when we began working on it, one of our goals was to have a variety of purchase options and additional e-commerce options available at its launch,” Iwata confirmed in a Q&A posted on Nintendo’s website cited by GamesRadar.  

“And because of that, we have prepared a Digital Rights Management system. We have designed the system from a technical standpoint to allow developers to freely take advantage of things like free to play and micro transactions.”

Iwata also noted that Nintendo wouldn’t rule out the possibility of exploring “other types of games,” but was not interested in coding an indigenous F2P title unless it was suitable as an F2P experience.

Meanwhile, the debate continues over setting an appropriate Wii U price point, with Destructoid’s Alec Kubas-Meyer opining that even at $250, the Wii U faces some major hurdles. 

“I want the Wii U to take the gaming world by storm. I really, really do. But with each passing day, I become less and less convinced that Nintendo can make lightning strike twice. Nintendo has a tough road ahead. What they showed at E3 this year is pretty cool, and I think it has a lot of potential,” said Kubas-Meyer.

“But so did the Wii, and only a handful of companies ever figured out how to take advantage of it… Nintendo’s old-fashioned way of doing things with the 3DS seem to have worked out well enough for them, at least in the wake of the price drop. As far as the market was concerned, $250 was too much for a 3DS but perfect for a Wii. Would it be perfect for a Wii U?”

Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter concurs, saying he believes Nintendo will have to price its next-gen Wii console at less than $300 – if it wants to stand any chance at all in the hyper-competitive gaming market.

“The console must be priced below $300 to succeed, in my opinion, and best at $249 or less,” he added.