“I can’t say that our fixed-cost model has really been a success,” the usually candid Miyamoto said. “But we’re going to continue pushing it forward until it becomes entrenched. That way everyone can develop games in a comfortable environment. By focusing on bringing games to the widest range of people possible, we can continue boosting our mobile game business.”
The comments come almost two years after Nintendo unveiled Super Mario Run, the first smartphone game it developed in-house. The title charged a flat fee, which many users criticized as being too expensive for the amount of content provided. The company then switched to free-to-play for the next two titles. One of the games, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, has received criticism for being too focused on profits over fun gameplay.
Miyamoto also said game developers should heed lessons from the music industry, which is still struggling to recover after consumers learned to consume music for free through MP3 file sharing, as well as YouTube and streaming services. He said subscription-style services should play a bigger role in games, but said the key is to develop a culture of paying for good software.
“It’s necessary for developers to learn to get along with” subscription-style services, Miyamoto said. “When seeking a partner for this, it’s important to find someone who understands the value of your software. Then customers will feel the value in your apps and software and develop a habit of paying money for them.”
Nintendo will soon roll out two more mobile games. Dragalia Lost is slated to debut soon and is being co-developed with CyberAgent Inc., a publisher that’s been criticized for using aggressive tactics in monetizing games. The second title, Mario Kart Tour, will be released by March.