Posted May 7, 2012 by Adam Shurey in Previews

Satoru Iwata Says You Should Pay Full Price To Download Games

As we reported last month, Nintendo are planning to offer full retail games for customers to download on both the Nintendo 3DS and the upcoming Nintendo Wii U consoles. Though a starting date hasn’t been set for the service, as the company’s president, Satoru Iwata has been speaking out out about their pricing policy. Speaking to investors about Nintendo’s plans for the service, Iwata mentioned their decision to set the same recommended retail price (RRP) for retail games, whether they are bought in stores or downloaded from the eShop. According to him, it’s all about the software’s inherent value, and they’ve also spoken to other publishers about it. Iwata described their stance:

Different people value different things. If we said, “This is the only proposal we will make, so you have to take it,” it would be a problem as there would be no options for the consumers to choose from. On the contrary, what I explained today is that we are proposing the two formats of sales mechanisms from which our consumers can make their own choices. The needs of society shall be determined by the choices to be made by the consumers.

We do not hold such a premise that digitally distributed software has less value. In fact, as we have discussed this with a number of software publishers around the world, we have found that their opinions are completely divided on the topic of the price points of the digital distribution of packaged software. Some publishers believe that the digital versions should be cheaper while others insist that both versions must be set at exactly the same price. So, it is not only Nintendo’s idea. Each publisher has various ideas on this point and, among them, Nintendo is now offering both versions at the same price point.

Even with that being the case though, retailers will still be able to set their own prices for the physical cards (which will have codes printed on them) that they sell in their stores. Nintendo have made their stance on the issue clear though, so we’ll know what to expect when the service launches later this year. So, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Adam Shurey

A well-rounded gamer who believes that no matter the platform, there will always be great games to be found. Whether it's for handheld, PC, or console - he'll play it. Well, as long as he's not too busy getting stuck into the latest RPG.



    How can a digital version be priced the same as a boxed version when the boxed version surely has the manufacturing costs built into the price? Yes you’re getting the same game, but arguably you’re not getting the same product. Iwata says he’s giving consumers the choice, but basically he’s forcing me to buy the retail version because I feel it’s better value for money.


    Nintendo suck. As do Activision, EA, Bethesda, THQ etc. They’re all just money hungry grubs; they act like they’re doing us a favour by offering a digital version of their game, which is often priced higher than the retail copy (unless you shop at EB). Problem is, people are stupid and pay the higher price for the digital copy.

    It’ll be a sad day when consoles come out with digital games only… especially when the internet fails 🙁


    Iwata is a damn fool if he believes it’s okay to do this.

    Consumers will baulk, just like they did with XBL’s Games on Demand service, and like they do every time a game shows up on Steam for the same price as retail.

    There’s an expectation that, because there was no need for packaging and logistics costs to be added to the price of a downloadable game, that it should be cheaper. Nintendo are stupid if they believe otherwise.


    Dumb choice there ninty


    Satoru Iwata, you crazy man. Noone is going to accept paying full price for a digitally downloaded game, considering such games have no physical packaging or distribution models. Digitally downloaded games strip all these and thus should be cheaper. Iwata, keep going down this path and Nintendo will become just like Sega. What a fool.


    wow this guy really just doesn’t get it does he?


    Bad form Nintendo. Always wanting to be premium.

    At least 3rd parties can set their own prices. I wonder how long it will take for Nintendo to see the effects.


    Derrr, we are Nintendo and we will coast off our own IP for all the rest of eternity lol.

    If their digital service is anything like the one on the current Wii it’s going to be a fucking joke. They don’t even tie your digital purchases to an account so you can use it on any future hardware you buy. They also don’t let you re-download your purchases as a result.

    Buying games digitally really should be an ongoing service as opposed to the “Download the game and then fuck off” system Nintendo pulls right now.

    But then again, who am I kidding, sif I’m going to buy a Wii U anyway.


    I also forgot to mention the whole second-hand benefit as well. Score one more point for a retail copy that you can sell or trade if you don’t like it or you’ve finished it. Can’t do that with a digital download, unless you sell your console as well.

    Adam Shurey

    I agree, I like being able to trade in old games, so digital releases tend to be less attractive. They are convenient though, and don’t take up physical space, which is really good. I don’t think Nintendo are being very wise about how they’re handling it though, we know that their IPs sell, but not all consumers are just going to blindly go and download their games for full price. I think retailers will be the real winners here, with people hunting for lower prices, and retailers having the power to make them happen (even if it’s only $5 less).


    I’ve gotta say, I complete expected this. Knowing Nintendo, they also won’t have sales on for digital games, you’ll either have to pay full price or not get it at all. Add onto this the fact that the Wii U likely won’t have enough memory in it to save many games to it, (and the 3DS certainly doesn’t have much space, only whatever you have on your SD card), and you’ll probably find it more expensive to download games, after you start buying extra memory cards to store stuff. I think that, as a consumer, sticking with the retail model will be the way to go with the Wii U.


      Ugh, no edit option.

      I just realised that it appears as though Nintendo may want you to buy physical cards at retail that simply have a redeem code on it, and that you still need to download the software. If this is the case, it will be horrible for those of us in Australia, who still have comparatively poor internet compared to some other countries. With a console like the 3DS without an inbuilt harddrive, this kind of system would be really inconvenient, especially if combined with dodgy/slow internet connections. It could really limit their market in Australia, particuarly with the casual crowd.


        Nintendo already confirmed individual accounts so I figured the retail cards would be acting like iTunes cards.


    Sensationalist article, ahoy!

    From the way Nintendo have previously stated it, they will personally charge full price for downloadable titles on their store directly, as a way to not piss off retailers.

    They will, instead of discounting on their store, be allowing retailers to set lower sale prices themselves in-store/on their websites as a way for the consumers to still get discounts on DD and also not alienate retailers.

    Also, just for Cyph, Games of Demand actually makes Microsoft a fair bit of money. A lot of people are actually more than willing to pay full price for a DD copy of a game just to save space at home or, in the case of a handheld, have the convenience of always having the game on the system.

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