Why Nintendo's Free-to-Play and discount trophies matters to you

Written by Kyo on

The Nintendo Direct conference shown on 14th Feb 2014 6 in the morning Malaysian time had plenty of good news. We saw Little Mac coming into the Super Smash line up, we've got a new Bayonetta 2 trailer (I SO WANT HER AS MY WIFE. NOW), more developments on Monolith Soft's X, a release date for Mario Kart 8 and so many other good goodies to come.


But the one thing that was surprising garnered the most attention to me was Nintendo going to Free-to-Play (F2P). It may be considered as common nowadays, but the next announcement was much more surprising.

It was in-game rewards affecting real world currency. But before I delve into that, lets talk a little more about F2P first.

The Free to Play segment

Steel Diver: Sub Wars is a good idea to start giving people more incentive to jump into the Steel diver bandwagon again. This title will is F2P, but you are limited to 2 submarines and a handful of missions for both online and offline multiplayer (I didn't see any single player mode. I may have missed that). If you ask me, this something similar to what Killer Instinct (for Xbox One) is doing. In Killer Instinct, you can download the whole game for free, but you're only allowed to use Jago, the main character. Every other character, you're going to have to buy them. Or you could buy the whole pack as well. Perhaps Nintendo could look into that as well? (Offering the whole pack as a Season Pass)

F2P model no doubts looks like a you're given a demo and you only need to buy an unlock code to buy the whole game (PS3 and Xbox 360 does this all the time). But it no doubts allows for flexibility in the consumer's pocket. The good part also is that it wants to focus on Microtransactions, which actually is still a big deal if you're to consider the Mobile Phone market with all the games being sold there. You gotta hate Candy Crush Saga for consistently asking you to buy energy just so you can cure your addiction.

But is there a downside to this F2P model? Well, there is. Nintendo gamers are used to getting things all in 1 shot. And in a way, Nintendo gamers like it as such. Could you imagine the uproar if Pokemon was to be in this route? It would totally be unacceptable. Not everyone easily has an Internet Connection, especially in our country, and not many would be interested to use Cash Codes nor Credit Cards to facilitate downloadable purchases.

F2P will help Nintendo, no doubt. But whether it does become the next successful Nintendo revolution? It remains to be seen, and will depend on content. Content will always be king in this case.


The Rewarding Trophies

And then, there's the in-game rewards affecting real world currency (lets call it Rewarding Trophies instead).

I think for me, Rewarding Trophies is one of the best ideas that finally is implemented. Have I thought of it before? Yes. Probably in 2000 when I was hot in chasing Trophies on the PS3. But when you look at it, Trophies on the PS3, or even Gamerscore on Windows, doesn't really do much except for extending my e-peen / e-ego (I am not saying what e-peen means. Go Google it). Yay I have 13 platinum trophies or 1 million gamerscore!!! All just for bragging.

But Nintendo wants to be smart. So, they are experimenting with Rusty's Real Deal Baseball.

This game is played with Minigames and Episodic contents (from what I read so far). If you did well in a minigame, the game will reward you with a stamp. Collect enough stamps, and you earn an in-game item like a trimmer. So when Rusty feels the need to... erh... trim his nose, offer that Trimmer (that you had to earn hard). Rusty will then tell a little more about himself, and offer you a discount on the next DLC. FOR REAL. (Hence why it had to have REAL DEAL in the title).

It's serious. For example, a USD 4 DLC might just be discounted to USD 3 just because you played the minigame and you earned it well. THIS.CHANGES.EVERYTHING.


Make no mistake, this idea was done before. When Microsoft did it, it felt like a publicity stunt. Once a gamer got a free Xbox just because he maintained his Xbox Live Gold account since the Xbox came out. It was a true limited edition version, and every gamer in the world got jealous. No doubt.

This is every bit of a motivation that I need to play a game. Imagine the ideas that can come from here. Grind your level to 99, get a discount. Beat the hidden boss, get a discount. Complete Link's all 20 hearts in the Majora's Mask 3D REMAKE and get a discount! (Hold it, I may have said too much)

Think of how the community will then react? To unlock a certain item in the game, you'd have to find tips and tricks that will be shared among the community. Cheats and secrets will be shared. The team will cave in and do one for Nintendo's side. The endless possibilities!

An e-peen is fine. But the e-peen is just that. An e-peen. You would do better by having a live digital photo frame that constantly updates your trophy count or gamerscore and hung up on your wall (I should invent that). But to tell you that you have been rewarded in real life by playing a game, is pretty cool if you ask me.

Sure, the idea would be scooped up later. I see no harm. An idea can only be great if it is properly executed. The rewards will need to be significant as well for this to totally work. If not, it's another Power Glove.

Before this gets TL;DR, allow me to end by saying that this is a positive idea and one that most of us will be excited to see happen. If the popular titles will get this treatment, then I see good things coming for Nintendo.

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