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3DS project lead says no to cheap games

Hideki Konno "not worried about competing at a price point level"

Nintendo's Hideki Konno, project lead on the 3DS, has said that Nintendo isn't interested in making cheap titles for the handheld to compete with App Store prices.

Echoing sentiments expressed by both Reggie Fils-Aime and Satoru Iawata earlier this year, Konno told Gamasutra that his company was too heavily invested in quality to try and match dollar price points for games.

"So now in terms of one dollar games, or free games, or whatever that is out there in the market, I mean, really, we're not going to be competing with that," said Konno.

"We're not going to try to match that; we're just going to continually strive to not just maintain, but increase, the quality of the entertainment that we're providing, and let it sort itself out. Again, we're not worried about competing at a price point level."

Part of that reasoning, Konno argues, is that releasing franchise iterations at low price points means that those games have to be limited in scope or risk devaluing full-priced titles.

"Now of course as a customer, if somebody said to me, 'Hey, we've got Call of Duty on your portable device and it's only going to cost you 100 yen,' yeah, I'd be super stoked, really excited about that."

"And I'd be really excited to see a great game at a really cheap price, but I just don't think that you could make a game that's immersive and as big as, let's say Call of Duty, or any other large title, and sell it at that price point; it's just not possible.

"The only way that you're going to get a game at that price point is if it's a limited version with limited levels or something. They're going to have to reduce it to sell at that price. So that other game - because the content is valuable - it's still going to be a viable product at a higher price point," Konno continued.

"If we went out and created one of our titles - a big title for Nintendo - and we decided to sell it at, like, say 100 yen, how many do we have to sell to get back our investment? That number's insane. It's just incredible, right?

"As a game developer I've put my heart into what I create, and I'm hoping that what I'm putting out there is something that people will be engaged by and entertained by. And as a consumer, I want the same thing. If I go and I see a game that interests me and I think I want to play it, I don't mind the fact that I have to pay a reasonable price for it.

"I'm not trying to say that I think games on cell phones are a bad thing; I'm not trying to say that they're worthless, or have no value at all. I'm just saying that they're just different."

Neither Konno or Nintendo are alone in the position that cheaper games devalue the experience and promote throwaway development - both Donald Mustard of Chair Entertainment and Keith Burgun of 100 Rogues developer Dinofarm Games have both expressed similar opinions in recent interviews.

The 3DS' download store, which replaces the DSiWare system, will be known as the eshop. Payments will be made in real-world currencies rather than in bespoke points. Following original concerns over a delay to the system's release, Nintendo has now confirmed that the eshop will be operational at launch, selling DSiWare and ported GameBoy titles.

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