Nintendo - DLC, Mobile & Microtransactions

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pratty
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Nintendo - DLC, Mobile & Microtransactions

Post by pratty » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:06 pm

Apparently the microtransactions in Mario Kart Tour are really bad, and the game itself isn't even that good either.

On the one hand it's disappointing to see Nintendo go down this route, and use some of the more cynical and greedy tactics to generate more revenue than the game probably deserves.

However I also feel this is the kind of game the mobile market deserves. When the 3DS and Vita came out we had discussions on here about the viability of dedicated handheld gaming, and one argument against dedicated handhelds was that mobile phones covered people's mobile gaming needs and did it cheaper, with Nintendo being out of touch. Nintendo were also criticised around that time for wanting to preserve value of games to the consumer instead of making games as cheap as possible. I think the likelihood of the typical mobile phone gamer paying £35 upfront for even a full Mario Kart mobile game is extremely low, so I think the free-to-start model is the model most of them will entertain. So as negatative as the critical response has been, I think we'll have to see how much the consumer decides to spend on what is by all accounts a pretty limited Mario kart experience.

Personally I wouldn't even touch these mobile phone games, especially since I have the 'proper' versions of most of Nintendo's mobile offerings. I think you generally get what you pay for. It's hard for me to have too much sympathy for mobile gamers feeling exploited when the full Mario Kart experience has been on handheld since the GBA, if people would only buy the systems and the games. I hear people say Nintendo's handhelds are too expensive but then the same people are often on their second or third X-Box One or PS4 unit, so to me they're simply not interested in a 'proper' handheld Mario Kart enough to pay the price required.

As for DLC Nintendo's approach has been mixed (perhaps partly because of the different studios under their umbrella), but I think the season pass model they seem to be favouring currently is the one I prefer. It's relatively costly upfront and a bit of a gamble if you by it early, however it seems the most fair way of doing DLC and pretty good value, and crucially it removes payment and purchasing from the gameplay loop itself. It certainly feels like the DLC is in addition to an already otherwise complete enough game and the content seems significant, Xenoblade 2's DLC contained an entire new game! That is DLC I'm prepared to support.
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Matt_B
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Re: Nintendo - DLC, Mobile & Microtransactions

Post by Matt_B » Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:51 pm

Yep. Not to put too fine a point on it, Nintendo's console games rock and their mobile games suck.

There are a few exceptions both ways. They've got a highly experimental streak that puts out the likes of 1-2 Switch and Labo from time to time, and the Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing mobile games aren't too bad if you can overlook the bits that are effectively gated off from people who aren't prepared to splash the cash on a regular basis.

Still, generally keeping their mobile games at the tawdry end of the market comes as pretty much a necessity if they don't want to kill the golden goose that's their console business. And while the revenues from some of their mobile games have been impressive, it's still pretty clear where the lions share of their business lies.

ulrich7ad
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Re: Nintendo - DLC, Mobile & Microtransactions

Post by ulrich7ad » Tue Oct 01, 2019 9:29 pm

I grabbed mario run in a sale a while back and put many hours into it despite not being a mobile gamer.I've seen complaints about buying rally tickets but I've never needed too, there's plenty in game bonuses to be had. But micro transactions aren't going anywhere and Nintendo would be silly to ignore them. As long as the kids pay, us old farts will have to put up with it.

pratty
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Re: Nintendo - DLC, Mobile & Microtransactions

Post by pratty » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:07 pm

Matt_B wrote:
Tue Oct 01, 2019 8:51 pm
Yep. Not to put too fine a point on it, Nintendo's console games rock and their mobile games suck.

There are a few exceptions both ways. They've got a highly experimental streak that puts out the likes of 1-2 Switch and Labo from time to time, and the Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing mobile games aren't too bad if you can overlook the bits that are effectively gated off from people who aren't prepared to splash the cash on a regular basis.

Still, generally keeping their mobile games at the tawdry end of the market comes as pretty much a necessity if they don't want to kill the golden goose that's their console business. And while the revenues from some of their mobile games have been impressive, it's still pretty clear where the lions share of their business lies.
I hope Nintendo continue to maintain the distiction between bought games and free-to-start, and limit microtransactions and paid loot boxes to the latter. To my knowledge they have so far, and that's worth bearing in mind amid the criticism they're starting to face for sinking to a new low.

While I generally feel mobile games are half-arsed games for casual gamers, to be charitable they do often offer low cost gaming (to those that can resist the induced urge to spend). It's a market Nintendo probably feel it's worth having a pressence in, it's advertising for Nintendo's brands, and if there is money being gambled away by mobile gamers they probably feel it might as well go into their pockets for the good of their general economic health.

The thought of Nintendo acting so cynically does bother me as a lifelong fan of theirs, but I see the free-to-start market as something quite seperate to the gaming I'm into so i'm not too concerned.
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Re: Nintendo - DLC, Mobile & Microtransactions

Post by Matt_B » Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:29 am

I've often wondered how much you'd have to pay to unlock all the content in Fire Emblem Heroes. A quick check shows that £64.99 will net you 143 orbs. Assuming 4 orbs on average per summon and an 8% chance of getting a 5* hero, that'll net you less than 3 of them on average.

There are 428 heroes in the ever expanding roster, although you can maybe get a hundred or so of those at 5* through free play, so let's say you only need to buy 300. That's still around £7000 though, and you're going to get some duplicates.

Except that the game mechanics mean you want duplicates, ideally ten merges per hero with additional ones to inherit useful skills. Getting the optimal build for each character then requires tens of thousands of pounds.

You're never done either, as there's continual power creep whenever new content gets added.

That's why Nintendo's best mobile game is also its worst. It's just been withdrawn in Belgium because of new anti-gambling legislation. I can't help but think that the rest of the world should follow suit.

Or you could just spend roughly the same £65 on Three Houses and its DLC and get a better game. It's an easy choice.

pratty
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Re: Nintendo - DLC, Mobile & Microtransactions

Post by pratty » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:45 pm

Matt_B wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:29 am
I've often wondered how much you'd have to pay to unlock all the content in Fire Emblem Heroes. A quick check shows that £64.99 will net you 143 orbs. Assuming 4 orbs on average per summon and an 8% chance of getting a 5* hero, that'll net you less than 3 of them on average.

There are 428 heroes in the ever expanding roster, although you can maybe get a hundred or so of those at 5* through free play, so let's say you only need to buy 300. That's still around £7000 though, and you're going to get some duplicates.

Except that the game mechanics mean you want duplicates, ideally ten merges per hero with additional ones to inherit useful skills. Getting the optimal build for each character then requires tens of thousands of pounds.

You're never done either, as there's continual power creep whenever new content gets added.

That's why Nintendo's best mobile game is also its worst. It's just been withdrawn in Belgium because of new anti-gambling legislation. I can't help but think that the rest of the world should follow suit.
Realistically though I don't think a developer expects the typical player to spend that much on their single game. The typical mobile gamer probably downloads a game for free, then only spends to enhance their experience when absolutely necessary, and only as far as they're prepaired to go. Game depth is there for the few that want it, but since most games probably function as a brief distraction I'd expect most games never come close to being completed or having their content fully unlocked, and I'm sure Nintendo know this.
Matt_B wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 1:29 am
Or you could just spend roughly the same £65 on Three Houses and its DLC and get a better game. It's an easy choice.
That may be the point. As you alluded to it's not in Nintendo's interest to put a full, high quality Nintendo game on mobile. An intended side-effect may be to highlight the superiority of Nintendo's own hardware platforms for the full Nintendo experience.
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Re: Nintendo - DLC, Mobile & Microtransactions

Post by Matt_B » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:16 pm

Yeah, there are a whole host of different marketing ploys at work.

They get Nintendo's brand out beyond the bubble of console gaming, the gimped gameplay will pipeline those looking for a richer experience to the Switch, and if you just want to blow a fortune on gacha they'll take your money.

I'd hope that keeping their Switch games relatively free from microtransaction hell remains part of that bargain though.

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