Everyone under the sun has heard about the New 3DS XL at this point (haven’t you? READ HERE if not), and of course the main reason gamers have become interested is due to the mostly universally praised 1st party titles Nintendo comes up with. Most of these are considered AAA games whether we’re talking about Pokemon, Mario, or Zelda.
With the announcement of the New 3DS XL most gamers are drawn to not only the technical benefits of better hardware, but also the fact that some AAA games will be exclusive to this new device somewhere down the road. Nintendo fans certainly do not want to miss out on the next big (or little considering we are talking handheld gaming) installment for any of their given IPs.
However, an interesting trend is beginning to pop up with the announcement of a Free-to-Play Pokemon game strangely resembling what most people were playing on their smartphones in 2012 – insert ‘Jewels’ clone names here. This begins to seem like a smart idea, since of course the Free-to-Play model is heavily profitable and can allow Nintendo to try out more experimental ideas with their IP which fans have always asked for.
Ultimately, fans can support the experiments they think went right by buying in-game purchases, and if they find it to be a broken piece of crap – may let Nintendo know that by NOT buying them. For Nintendo’s somewhat stubborn and picky fan-base, this should work out just fine. These are seasoned gamers who would hopefully be discerning with their dollars.
Beyond that, purely free games may become a promotional avenue for large AAA games in the third party world. The amount of micro games costing between 99 cents and 15 dollars should also increase as titles on the eShop like Shovel Knight have proven there’s a lot of money to be made by cashing in on pleasing Nintendo’s hardcore gaming audience with purely simple and fun gameplay everyone can easily agree to.
Bandai Namco has announced one such exciting prospect in this direction, and is perhaps one of the most overlooked titles right now from Nintendo’s recent event. Katsuhiro Harada has stated that a new project is underway between Nintendo and Bandai Namco currently dubbed “Project Treasure” and although there is no screenshot to show just yet – this sounds at least a bit promising. Four players will come together on the Nintendo Wii U in order to hunt enemies together and quest for loot which will likely be tied to some sort of role playing game system capable of using this loot for addictive “leveling up” moments that are all the rage these days.
This trend can lead into directions that are obviously bad, but with over a decade of Free-to-Play games for the market and consumers to learn from, I think Nintendo is doing the right thing by allowing this sort of renovation to prosper on their two main platforms. We all know Nintendo is going to be picky about what they allow on the eShop, and as long as that remains true plus Nintendo fans being loud and non-paying to projects they don’t agree with, I see this as smooth sailing and another huge step forward for the positive end of what can come out of digital distribution.