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Iwata takes issue with "insincerity" of free-to-play

Nintendo president worries about undermining value of content, but says "free-to-start" can co-exist with packaged retail games

Nintendo is finally going into mobile game development, but the company is still wary of many tactics associated with the market. Speaking with Time, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata discussed some of his reservations, starting with the business model commonly referred to as "free-to-play."

"I do not like to use the term 'Free-to-play,'" Iwata said. "I have come to realize that there is a degree of insincerity to consumers with this terminology, since so-called 'Free-to-play' should be referred to more accurately as 'Free-to-start.'

"The thing that concerns me most is that, in the digital age, if we fail to make efforts to maintain the value of our content, there is the high possibility for the value to be greatly reduced as the history of the music industry has shown," he added. "On the other hand, I have no intention to deny the Free-to-start model. In fact, depending on how we approach this model, we may be able to overcome these problems."

Iwata went on to say he doesn't think Nintendo needs to commit to just free-to-start games or the company's traditional packaged goods titles. Different games will suit different business models, Iwata said, and there are still plenty of customers who appreciate retail games.

The executive also addressed a recent report that Nintendo is working with Netflix on a live-action Zelda TV series.

"As of now, I have nothing new to share with you in regard to the use of our IPs for any TV shows or films, but I can at least confirm that the article in question is not based on correct information," Iwata said.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar

Brendan Sinclair

Managing Editor

Brendan joined GamesIndustry.biz in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot in the US.