Cheap Games, Or, Nintendo's New Comeback Plan

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

Cheap Games, Or, Nintendo's New Comeback Plan

There will be some who object to that headline, noting that—as LL Cool J was once famously heard to remark—Nintendo can't have a comeback, as it's been here for years. In that sense, they would have a point, but Nintendo also hasn't been top of the heap for quite some time, either, and nowadays that's no exception. However, whatever you call it, Nintendo has a plan to help it recover from recent losses, and this time around, it's not a plan that will likely make users cringe. This time, it's all about the games, and all about lowering game prices.

A simple yet usually brilliant plan, Nintendo is planning to perk up its sales by bringing out more low-cost software, offering software for “a few hundred yen,” according to reports. Since a good rule of thumb is that there are about a hundred yen to the dollar—I say “about” here because any currency exchange rate will suffer fluctuation even in the space of minutes; write one value at the start of a paragraph, and by the time you finish writing that paragraph the value has likely changed—you can tell immediately that Nintendo's talking about some pretty bargain-basement gaming.

Nintendo, at last report, has plans for remakes of older titles, particularly those for the Nintendo 3DS, as well as releases previously only seen on smartphones. More free trials are also planned to help bolster name recognition, and boost the chances that games will shell out for the full version, a commonly-used tactic.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, meanwhile, has no illusions that this will take time. Iwata expects a return to “...profit levels more typical of the company” starting in about March 2016, and that's going to require a bit of patience on investors' part, a tall order after just seeing an operating loss of $15 million, at last report.

But this isn't a bad strategy. I've long said that Nintendo's biggest asset was its huge array of intellectual property and old games. Bringing back some of these older titles with a bit of spit and polish certainly couldn't hurt, and if there's one thing Nintendo needs right now—for the Wii U in particular but for the 3DS too—it's games. This is where Nintendo needs to be making its money, not that grotesquerie known as the Nintendo Creator's Program. Let's face it, there are some amazing games out there we remember from our collective childhood—whether it was straight NES, Super NES, N64, Gamecube, whatever—that we'd love to play again but have a tough time finding. Nintendo could make that happen. Actually, everybody could make that happen. So if that's the case, why aren't we seeing so much more of it take place? Why is Nintendo so focused on getting its slice of YouTube when it could be going after some sweet remake cash?

Still though, it's a good idea, and the more Nintendo can do of that the better. Ports, remakes, and the like could give Nintendo a nice push in the nostalgia market, and that's no small market since the children of the 80s and 90s have the disposable income whip hand these days. Only time will tell just how far this all goes, but the end result could be something to see.



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