It seems Nintendo is ready to put its money where its mouth is. As it suggested back in April, the Japanese gaming giant is making its first foray into the world of free-to-play titles.
And Nintendo’s first free-to-play game will be based on Steel Diver, a tactical submarine simulator developed specifically for the launch of the 3DS handheld console.
At the E3 2013 event last week, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata said the free-to-play title is currently in development and would be released before the end of the financial year, which is in March 2014. Iwata did not give any other details about the title and Nintendo only confirmed that it would not be part of the Mario or Pokemon franchises.
But a couple of days ago, veteran game designer Shigeru Miyamoto told IGN that the new title is based on the 3DS Steel Diver game idea, but will have a new design and is going to be very fun. The game will include a multiplayer mode, Miyamoto said, talking also about a very interesting four-player battle mode. The new game will be ready very soon and will probably be released later this year, the designer added.
Steel Diver is a slow-paced action game in which players have to control a submarine with virtual buttons displayed on the touchscreen. The game was developed by EAD Tokyo studio, which was also responsible for some of Nintendo’s widely popular titles, including Super Mario Galaxy, and was released in 2011 together with the 3DS.
An exact business model for the free-to-play Steel Diver version has not yet been determined, according to Miyamoto. But we can expect the game to be affordable, as Iwata said last week Nintendo was doing everything in its power to avoid an unbalanced game setup which would require players to pay a lot of money.
Nintendo is hoping that by promoting balanced and reasonable free titles, it will forge a favorable relationship with customers in the long term. Analysts believe the move will help the company boost revenues from the digital market.
The Japanese gaming giant has hit a rough patch with its Wii U console, which did not sell as well as it was expected. This was largely due to the absence of a significant game library for the platform.
What do you think of the plan? Will a free-to-play title increase Nintendo’s popularity and boost revenue?
[Image via Destructoid]