Nintendo is working on its new smartphone renditions of their popular franchise Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing that will be available for free, as confirmed by DeNA’s Chief Executive Isao Moriyasu. Moriyasu also confirmed that the actual terminology will be used as “Free-to-start,” which that user doesn’t have to pay anything in order to get it started. It will be monetized and that part will come later. Nitendo’s efforts in this realm and with the ever increasing applications with Nintendo and mobile company DeNA, this could as will the norm that company will be going ahead with.
Unfortunately no additional details were given surrounding how the apps will utilize the free-to-play model. Animal Crossing on its own uses “bells” as a currency for players to purchase items, pay off their in-game homes and more, so it’s very possible there could be a similar model in the mobile app. Fire Emblem is a strategy role-playing game notorious for featuring game modes where members of your party can succumb to permadeath, but perhaps a freemium model could offer options to bring them back for a fee. This is an unsurprising move given the company’s recent track record of releasing games like Pokemon Shuffle and Pokemon Rumble World as freemium options, both available via 3DS/2DS and mobile titles. Both rely on “energy” to continue playing if you run out of the allotted currency. Games like Nintendo Badge Arcade offer free plays each day and dangle additional badges to collect in the faces of those unwilling to pay further to explore, and Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball gives players the option to haggle to purchase in-game minigames. It’s not clear how Nintendo will handle these high-profile franchises just yet, but free-to-play will almost certainly get more consumers invested than premium pricing. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.