Nintendo of America has announced that Tank! Tank! Tank! developed by Namco Bandai is now completely free to download on Wii U with paid DLC in tow. The game went free to play in Europe a number of months ago. In Tank! Tank! Tank! the player takes control of a tank and is tasked with shooting numerous monsters with a bountiful supply of ammunition. You can check out the game for free on Wii U eShop, right now.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has revealed that the company is looking beyond digital distribution and is actively thinking about free-to-play games. Iwata says that Nintendo is constantly thinking about current and new business models to bring in new streams of revenue.
Q: You talked about Nintendo’s digital business in the presentation. I remember you said that in addition to the packaged software business, the digital business could be a core business for Nintendo. Could you please give an indication as to how much you expect to generate in digital sales this fiscal year and the next? Also, apart from replacing packaged distribution with digital distribution, I understand that you are developing network-based products such as “Wii Street U powered by Google.” Do you expect to be able to make hit network-based products and create a buzz in society?
A: Also, as you pointed out, 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. Digitalization 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.
Nintendo UK has sent out a press release stating that Wii U launch title Tank! Tank! Tank! has now become a free to play title on the Wii U eShop. The basic pack includes three thrilling game modes – Monster Battle, Free-For-All, and Team Versus, You can play any of the three modes up to three times a day for free. You can also purchase add-on content for game and purchasing any of these additional contents removes the daily play restriction from the Basic Pack. Ten add-on modes are also available, priced from €1.99 to €9.99.
In Japan, the first free-to-play title to hit the Wii U is Namco Bandai Games’ Tank! Tank! Tank!. In the UK, however, Zen Studios’ Zen Pinball 2 is the the country’s first free-to-play Wii U title. Starting later this week, consumers in the UK can download Zen Pinball 2 for free from the Nintendo eShop on Wii U. Downloadable content for the free pinball video game will be priced at £2.39-£7.99. Also hitting the Nintendo eShop on Wii U today is the digital version of Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, which costs £49.99 to download.
Perhaps because it didn’t sell as well as publisher Namco Bandai had hoped, Wii U launch title Tank! Tank! Tank! is now available to download as an upgradable demo from the Japanese Nintendo eShop.
Japanese players can download a basic pack of the action game for free, which supports multiplayer and allows them to select the city map for Free for All, Team Battle and Giant Monster modes.
Players who download the free version of Tank! Tank! Tank! can only play it three times daily; however, this restriction is removed if players purchase any downloadable content for the game.
To unlock more parts to the upgradable demo, players must, of course, purchase the offered downloadable content on the game.
EA COO Peter Moore believes that the games industry is currently in a difficult transition between different business models. Moore thinks that future console games will be free to play, but they will all feature microtransactions like those found on iOS and Android.
“I think, ultimately, those microtransactions will be in every game, but the game itself or the access to the game will be free.”
“The great majority will never pay us a penny which is perfectly fine with us, but they add to the eco-system and the people who do pay money—the whales as they are affectionately referred to—to use a Las Vegas term, love it because to be number one of a game that like 55 million people playing is a big deal.”
Satoru Iwata confirmed that the Wii U will support free-to-play games and microtransactions. Nintendo has designed the Wii U “to allow developers to freely take advantage of things like free-to-play and microtransactions.” Iwata reconfirmed that Nintendo doesn’t plan to offer first-party games as free-to-play titles, but they may offer free downloadable content.
“We have prepared a Digital Rights Management system. We have designed the system from a technical standpoint to allow developers to freely take advantage of things like free-to-play and microtransactions.”
“Currently, we are not actively looking at free to play for our first-party content and I don’t think that’s a direction that we should go in right now, but that doesn’t mean for the future that there may not come a time where we have specific content that might be suited to that model.”