Nintendo President, Satura Iwata, Speaks About Digital, Free-to-Play and Subscriptions

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo President believes that around 10% of Japanese consumers would be willing to opt for digital versions of titles that are available on Nintendo systems.

He says, “We are already seeing changes that would have been inconceivable, say, about a decade ago. In consideration of the fact shown in my presentation that, once people have chosen a download version, they tend to choose another download version the next time they purchase software, I still feel that the digital ratio will change dramatically in two or three years’ time, as I did when I initially made this remark.”

He added, “We think that digital distribution of packaged software is only the first step in expanding our digital business. We will not simply change our existing packaged software distribution channel. Rather, we might have many other types of business models in addition to packaged software”.

“For example, we might see more games that are similar to free-to-play games, games that cost much less or games that require a monthly subscription fee. Digitization allows for greater flexibility, whereby having more ways to make payments, both software developers and consumers have more options. And Nintendo 3DS and Wii U have flexible systems to handle such trends, so it is now a question of putting these ideas into action.”

“I can definitely say that Nintendo will make new offers that go well beyond simply replacing packaged software with digital software. And I feel that the possibilities may go beyond simply charging our consumers a certain price at the time of download.”

Iwata added, “I feel that there will be more ways for consumers to take advantage of these options. I think that those who already own a Wii U system are starting to understand the advantages of having a game console that is connected to a TV as well as the Internet and, together with a device with touchscreen controls that you can hold in your hands, integrate to form one system. As a platform holder, Nintendo anticipates that as the system becomes increasingly convenient for consumers, the number of business opportunities taking advantage of these features will grow.”

“We do not do business under the concept that “digital business” equals simply replacing packaged software with digital software, or, put another way, changing our distribution channels.” Nintendo said its eShop sales more than doubled in FY 2013, year-on-year.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree with Iwata?