Nintendo takes a dig at 'disposable' app store gaming

Nintendo generally takes the high road when it comes to cross-platform trash talk, so on the odd occasion when big-wigs like US boss Reggie Fils-Aime go off-script for a little digging at competitors, we can't help but want to listen in.

During an interview for GameTrailers TV, Geoff Keighley compared Nintendo's 3DS price structure with that of Apple's app store; a comparison Fils-Aime was quick to defend, saying, “I actually think that one of the biggest risks today in our industry are these inexpensive games that are candidly disposable from a consumer standpoint."

While he admitted that Angry Birds was one exception to his not-at-all-biased rule, Fils-Aime argued that the countless other cheaply priced games for mobiles are causing a headache for developers of more substantial portable titles, adding, “Angry Birds is a great piece of experience but that is one compared to thousands of other pieces of content that, for one or two dollars, I think actually create a mentality for the consumer that a piece of gaming content should only be two dollars.”

Listen, we get it - you don't want good games to be devalued by crap games. We agree that Ocarina of Time 3D should be valued higher than the iPhone's "Princess Pony - Matching Memory Pairs Game," but seriously, Nintendo, Fighting Street on the Wii Virtual Console for $8? That game is worth no more than $2, whether or not it's a piece of gaming history. 99 cents sounds about right. Maybe.

[Source: GameTrailers TV]

Feb 4, 2011


iPhone Nintendo


  • alphafour - April 21, 2011 1:31 p.m.

    @GRTyler, I think this is very interesting and to be honest, I find Reggie to be a bit of a hypocrite in some ways. It seems that he is trying to suggest that $0.99 games are negatively impacting the consumer value judgement. However, I think his company, and the relevant developers, were also trying to affect our value judgement with the pricing of very SHITTY Nintendo DS games. I know that it's up to the retailers to set their own prices in the majority of cases, but somebody along the line sets an RRP or an MSRP and this is usually followed. When we had Pokemon Black and White retailing for £34.99 and then we had Art Academy selling for £29.99 in the same shop (the prices may have changed since I was actually in there), it is quite amusing! I don't think I can honestly say that Pokemon Black and White is only 14% better than Art Academy.. (more like 40000% but that's just me). Personally, I would say that these games are priced at $0.99 because (some) have very low production costs (and often production quality) and it's just a smart way to make money considering they don't have to worry about shipping physical units anywhere. The only major costs (I'm not an expert) would be, as far as I can imagine, the development costs and then any appropriate fees paid to Android or Apple (or any others) for listing and selling their products on the relevant marketplaces. Since the costs are fairly fixed (i.e. the development cost is a sunk cost, the licensing cost might be a fixed amount regardless of sales), the developers don't really have any marginal costs to work with! For that reason, it makes sense to just set the price low and get as many sales as you can for your monthly listing fee (or however it works). Feel free to correct me wherever I'm mistaken, I didn't really look anything up, I just tried use some very basic business knowledge! Personally, I never pay for games on my phone. The contract is already £30 a month for that, I thought I would be getting my breakfast made by robots in the morning for that sort of price! No way am I throwing money at these games. I'll stick to buying FIFA each year, albeit for £35-£40, and enjoying it EVERYDAY (no really, everyday) until the next one comes out. That's what I call value! (or at least when they make some significant changes to the gameplay and graphics!
  • Terrorrizor - April 8, 2011 10:24 p.m.

    @marioman50 That makes sense, maybe the nintendo guy said except for Angry Birds because they are going to put it up for download.
  • Robusken - February 5, 2011 5:35 a.m.

    He makes a good point, but also the whole Virtual Console thing isn't any better. I just really dislike the comparison between Iphone app games and you know...actual games on a 3DS.
  • Spybreak8 - February 5, 2011 3:16 a.m.

    Yeah the market is flooded with mobile forgetmenots. I'd pay for the premium of a well known Nintendo game any day.
  • adamstephenson - February 5, 2011 2:24 a.m.

    @rebornkusabi That's a pretty good point. That philosophy is very applicable to games of higher caliber like Link's awakening and SML2. My main issue is that (at least the last time i was on my Wii) the prices don't reflect the quality. They have awesome games priced the same as damn near unplayable titles.
  • marioman50 - February 5, 2011 2:17 a.m.

    Expect an "Angry Birds on 3DS" announcement within the next few months :)
  • RebornKusabi - February 5, 2011 1:44 a.m.

    Doing a quick Google search finds that Link's Awakening, which will probably sell on the virtual console for about $5-$8 goes for anywhere from $15 to $200 for the DX version on Ebay, Amazon and elsewhere. Super Mario Land 2 goes for anywhere from $8-$200 on Ebay and Amazon. SML2 goes from $5- $100+ and Wario Land goes from $6 to $25. Pokemon Red? $20 to $300. Just saying that paying $5 dollars for a more portable (i.e. non-emulated on the PC) copy is not that unfair when you think about it. Also, if money's an issue, I just got a used copy of Pokemon Yellow for $4 at my local used electronics store... so you know, it helps to also keep in mind that there is always a pot of gold in the shit-storm that is used electonics stores! Meh, it's your money. I just hate pirating games because I love them so much and even at slightly-above minimum wage ($10 /hour), I can still pay bills AND hunt for older games... but not everyone has that leisure.
  • garnsr - February 5, 2011 1:08 a.m.

    I don't see why digital games have to be so much more than you can get them for at retail when the price drops. Especially older systems' games, which you can get at pawn shops for a buck or two, and especially on Ebay. My greatest problem with digital-only consoles is a lack of price drops on games that are long past their prime, current-gen or previous-gens.
  • adamstephenson - February 5, 2011 12:17 a.m.

    Flat price rates are definitely bad for the consumer. They should be selling Game Boy games for $1 - $6. He talks about disposable games/apps as if the virtual console doesn't have its fair share of those. A point that Matt made with Fighting Street. Nintendo needs to restructure their pricing, or at least offer some Steam-like sales. Some of my fondest Game Boy memories come from Mario Land, Dr. Mario, and Tetris. I can't seriously see myself paying $6 and thats pushing for those games, two of which have better versions currently available. I would rather eat a burrito from Moe's.
  • geneticallyalteredsupergiraffeejaculatinggrenades - February 4, 2011 11:53 p.m.

    I don't think I want to pay more then $5 for an old gameboy game.
  • bmrskate - February 4, 2011 11:12 p.m.

    @Tyler: I think they should price classic Game Boy games in between there....maybe 4-6? Nintendo definitely needs to work on that lazy global Virtual Console/WiiWare pricing system they have. It has already been said before, but it's simply unjustified to have POS games put up for the same price as classic games with infinitely more value and lasting appeal. Oh hey, Nintendo! I'm still waiting for a proper Donkey Kong arcade port! Or maybe the old Donkey Kong GB game as a teaser?
  • sirdilznik - February 4, 2011 11:11 p.m.

    I would pay not more than $5 for a Game Boy game on the 3DS virtual console. The one exception is that I'd be willing to pay $8 for a Zelda Oracle bundle, but that's 2 games.
  • TURbo - February 4, 2011 11:05 p.m.

    Reggie, the consumers set the prices. If those games are worth $8, you better make them worth that value.
  • Brutalicus - February 4, 2011 11:02 p.m.

    Nintendo is mostly cool people, but Reggie... just something about him makes me want to punch him. I'd pay 6 or 7 USD for the Oracle of Ages/Seasons games or the GBA Link to the Past. Same goes for GBA-era Castlevania titles. Those were awesome games.
  • wiitard07 - February 4, 2011 10:31 p.m.

    I would pay up to 8-10 dollars for an old pokemon or zelda game
  • 510BrotherPanda - February 4, 2011 10:09 p.m.

    @GRTeeDub I'd pay $5-8 for the original Game Boy cartridge. I don't really want to play old GameBoy games unless they are on the system they were made for; absinthe-green screen FTW. I MAYBE might be willing to pay $2-5 on the 3DS store... but I'm not getting a 3DS. I still haven't been won over by that one-shot gimmick yet.
  • paganpoet - February 4, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    Well, I mean, no matter how good the game itself's still a 20 year old game, you know? I don't mind paying a price to play it, but it needs to be something reasonable. $8 for Fighting Street is not reasonable.
  • oneshotfinch - February 4, 2011 8:44 p.m.

    Price is based of what console the game in question is on, and nothing else. Considering NES games are $5, $3 or $4 would be an accurate guess. I'm knocking the notion of $8 GB games, yo!
  • GamesRadarTylerWilde - February 4, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    I know I'm not supposed to say this, but you can play any Game Boy game you want, right now, by emulating it. Or by... getting out your Game Boy. Or GBA games on your (older) DS. Or by buying a Game Boy with a bunch of games on ebay for $15-$25.
  • db1331 - February 4, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    I think $6 would be a good price for the best of the best GB games, like Metroid 2 and Link's awakening. Anything more than that and I'm just going to play it on my PC with an emulator for free. Their loss.

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