Nintendo’s development partner has confirmed that its upcoming Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem titles for mobile will be free-to-play.
This will allow a greater number of fans to get their hands on them, but it’s big blow for those who despise in-app purchases.
While most fans are waiting for Super Mario or The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem are two popular Nintendo franchises that a lot of gamers are incredibly excited about. They’re already a hit on the Nintendo 3DS, and they’re immensely better than Miitomo.
But unlike their console counterparts, Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem for smartphones won’t be complete games as soon as you download them. Certain content will be behind a paywall, and you’ll have to splash out on in-app purchases to unlock it.
This is hardly surprising. Nintendo has already hinted that most of its mobile games, which are developed in partnership with DeNA, will be free-to-play — and it’s a model that makes a lot of sense for the Japanese firm.
Not only does the free-to-play approach make games more accessible to younger fans who might not be able to afford an upfront fee, but it can also be incredibly successful. According to one report, Nintendo is currently raking in $280,000 a week from Miitomo.
Free-to-play works for plenty of others, too. The latest data from SensorTower shows that 94 percent of App Store revenue last quarter went to just 1 percent of publishers, which includes Supercell and MZ, which make a fortune on their “freemium” games.
The other advantage to free-to-play is that it curbs piracy. That’s not so much of a problem on iOS, because it’s harder to access pirated games — but it’s a massive problem on Android. Nintendo doesn’t want to risk releasing paid games that can be obtained for free.
The silver lining here is that you might not need to purchase in-app purchases to enjoy these games. If you can live without the additional content, they won’t cost you a penny. And so long as Nintendo’s successful in the App Store, it’ll keep making iOS games.
You can expect Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem to arrive on iOS next March.