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Renegade Kid Developer Explains Why 3DS eShop Games Will Never Be As Cheap As iPhone Games

Renegade Kid’s creative director Jools Watsham has tried to explain to GamaSutra why he feels that Nintendo 3DS digital games will never be as cheap as the games on Apple’s immensely popular iPhone:

Perhaps $40 for a 3DS game is outrageous, but what surprises me is when people scoff at the cost of $5 and $10 Nintendo eShop games. Really? Now even $5 or $10 is too much for a game?

Time for some perspective: our best selling DS game has sold around 100,000 copies worldwide. Based on how the average original non-licensed game sells on the DS market, 100,000 copies is a big success. On a side note, we saw no profits from this title due to the broken business model of retail – but that’s a different story.

In my opinion, iPhone games have a greater chance of selling closer to 200,000 copies due to the nature of the platform and the audience using it (they also have the same chance of selling zero copies due to how flooded the market is).

But, they have to be the right types of experiences for the iPhone audience.

Games that go beyond literal simple pleasures take time and money to create. This will never change. If people are unwilling to pay higher prices for richer experiences, then these types of games will cease to exist. You know supply and demand and all that.

We will then be left with a market full of simple gaming experiences that offer the same value as what you paid for it.

72 thoughts on “Renegade Kid Developer Explains Why 3DS eShop Games Will Never Be As Cheap As iPhone Games”

      1. What if you are indie developer, who, for example: you made the programming, another friend makes sprites and another friend makes the soundtrack? Will that cost you?

        1. So you are saying you would not want to be paid for the time and effort the two of you put into making a game yourselves? That is a flat out lie and you know it.

  1. I understand this but a lot of the eshop games are very hit and miss. I don’t really feel the need to buy a game for $5 or $10 that sounds good, but ultimately is a disappointment. That high price tag does mean that I won’t take as many chances on the eshop, especially now that I’ve tried some real duds

  2. Cant help but siaagree. I mean cut the rope on the eShop is like £4 and is a more lacking dumbed down version of the iOS game which is 69p.

      1. Latest game I saw in the android store: “Battle duty: Modern Field 3”

        These app stores are full of shits. Mobile games will NEVER replace handheld games, NEVER!

  3. There’s something I don’t understand.
    Several of iPhone games are better than others on the DS market. A game like Infinity Blade takes time and money too, surely more than games on the DS market…

    1. But only a couple of those “high-end” games can exist on the App Store, because one there’s more than one or two, people lose interest. Also, Apple greatly helped market Infinity Blade 1, which is why they could have such high development costs and yet somehow make a profit. Most high-end games don’t make a profit on the App Store, unless they’re sequels (where the engine and game resources are already in place, and all you need are stuff like enemy placement and level design) or ports (GTA Chinatown Wars, Ace Attorney, Chrono Trigger).

  4. What about ‘Cut the rope’ on 3ds though, that was on iPhone first for 69p but it’s a few quid on 3ds and it’s the same experience, if not more awkward :/

      1. No, that doesn’t make any sense. That’s not the reason at all.

        When you have a set price, people will have a set demand at that price. There’s somewhere on the price/demand curve where games will net more profit than other prices; for example, if a game at $0.99 sells 100 copies, you make around $100*2/3, or $66.67. If raising the price to $1.99 gets you 70 copies sold, you make $140*2/3, or somewhere around $80. There’s no supply (downloadable game) or shipping costs, which is why your “basic fact” doesn’t apply here.

  5. iPhone market has a bigger audience so logically a game on iPhone market sells more units and therefore even a game that has cost a lot of time and money to develop can still be cheaper than a game in the eshop that cost about as much time and money. Overall however I like the games from the eStore MUCH better than iPhone games; although they are often well designed, iPhone games tend to be too arcade and repetitive for my taste. But some games on the eshop suck too

  6. it is like in horticulture and agriculture people mone about the price of food but they don’t realize all the work that goes into bring a tomato’s to market it is the same thing. there are a group of people wanting something for nothing. if we all acted like that over everything civilisation would fall apart .

  7. what did he mean by ‘original non-licensed game’? i thought all ds/3ds games are licensed by nintendo. /o\

    1. It means a game that isn’t licensed by an outside company like, say, a Harry Potter video game is licensed by Warner Brothers, which means they fund the game’s development. It’s to ensure the company actually makes the game; without licensing, there’s no incentive for the aforementioned company to make a Harry Potter game without a license.

  8. I’m annoyed at how you can get Angry Birds for free on iPhone and PC yet I have to pay £2.29 on my Windows phone just for achievements.

    There are a few games in the eShop that I wouldn’t mind TRYING but I wont pay a few quid just for a game to be not as good as I thought, but at a sub £1 price-point, I would probaby give it a go.

  9. With all the digital download games for cheap. I would still pay for 40 games. Just to have a hard copy in my hand. That’s just me…

  10. I think the Problem ist that Gameboy Games cost 5 Euro..thats way to much, because well…this is overpriced.. I think gameboy games should be around the 1-2 Euro Price, and should release more quickly..

    A good example for the overpriecing from Nintenod is “cut the Rope” which costs 0,79 € on the I Phone, with every Add-on and following content. Cut the Rope on 3Ds costs 5 Euro and has NO why is the price more than 7 times higher, compared to the I Phone version.

  11. This doesn’t make sense. Sure for most games it’s true. But some games on the 3DS like Plants vs. Zombies are in the apple store as well and they cost way less.

  12. what he doesnt take account for is the price of the hardware

    a 3ds is much cheaper than an iphone

    i mean buying a 700$ piece of hardware you kinda expect everything else to be a bit cheaper

    in the end you pay more for everything with a phoen

  13. Do they care to explain why I can pay £4.50 on the eShop for a game (Bloons Tower Defence for what it’s worth) than I can play on the developers website for free? That just doesn’t sit right with me. Part of the reason the only games I get off the eShop are VC games, and occasionally 3D classics.

  14. That’s not the whole post (sickr you should have mentioned that), if you want to see the whole argument for higher eShop pricing on original games, then go to the source link. It’ll make for a much better argument and inside look into game development.

  15. Lets see here…
    An iPhone game that costs 99 cents or a 3DS game that costs $40. I will still chose the $40 game.

    Ever heard the saying ” you get what you pay for”

  16. Nice to hear someone explain the prices. I mean, yes, we do have some rip offs in the eShop (like free games being sold for money or for higher prices than elsewhere), but hey, you get those on any gaming platform.

  17. I think it’s a little specious to use the certain amount of iOS games that got ported to DSi/3DSWare as some kind of indicator of unfair pricing, because it’s just as easy to look at a few DS to iOS ports like Scribblenauts that have missing features and shit controls. This is why a game like VVVVVV, which is good for PCs and 3DS would never work on iOS because it would either be unplayable or dumbed down to a shadow of it’s former self.

    And yes, quibbling over $4-$10 prices is a little disheartening if you actually want to survive on your digital a developer. I can imagine any young upstart trying to make iOS games NOW finding the marketplace crowded and the takings so meager that they’ll look for fresh audiences elsewhere, despite the prevalence of these smartphones.

  18. 3DS games are actual games that are GOOD, and the iphone has shitty games that you play for 10 mins. That is why iphone games are cheaper.

  19. It’s funny how everyone brings eShop prices. Cave Story is available on the DSiware for $9.99. The same game is available on PC for that same price on Steam. Plants vs Zombies cost the same on the Xbox, so I don’t see why people keep saying Nintendo forces the high prices on us.

    The only reason games on smartphones are cheaper is because they either have ads, which gamers dislike, or they want their games to be noticeable. Peopple on smartphones will play games not because they want to but because they’re cheap.

    Even Scribblednauts was once a big DS game, then it became into a $0.99 game on the iPhone, and even then it didn’t become popular. Why? Because that’s not the type of game that sells on smartphones, the likes of Angry Birds and Cut the Rope do. They’re designed to minute wasters. Scribblenauts is similar to that, but it’s not quite what sells on there. Plus, the people who play these games don’t even know the developers and their other games or have any respect for them. It’s quite sad if you ask me.

  20. I completely agree with this article. Nintendo has said multiple times that they want to continue to develop games that offer unique experiences and that cannot be recreated on a mobile device platform. Nintendo could however, develop a side market of easy-to-pick-up mobile games. These could be of the arcade or even educational variety. Nonetheless, I don’t think we will ever see a full Zelda game, for example, come to any phone – ever.

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