Gameloft has announced that its first free-to-download venture on Nintendo Switch, Asphalt 9: Legends, has hit 1 million installs in its first seven days on the Nintendo eShop.
That’s a strong start for the franchise’s entry to the Switch, and it suggests that maybe – just maybe – free-to-play could become an even bigger deal on the Nintendo eShop than it already has been.
Guilherme Lauchaut, VP Strategic Partnerships at Gameloft explained: “this is an incredible moment for us…Bringing Asphalt 9: Legends to Nintendo Switch is something we wanted to do for a long time, as we are great fans of this platform. It has been a strong request from our community and it translates today with one million downloads in a week.”
Asphalt 9: Legends is the same as the 2018 mobile game of the same name, featuring over 50 licensed supercars, local split screen and offline game modes, along with 8-player online play. Notably, it also includes in-app purchases to help players progress, although there are no in-game adverts like on the mobile version.
Gameloft has already stated that it will be regularly updated with new tracks and cars over time, with it’s uncertain if these will also be free.
What does this mean for the Nintendo eShop? Well, we could be seeing the start of many more casual free-to-play games making their way across from mobile and that could be tough news for developers of premium titles. Granted, free-to-play isn’t new on the service with the likes of a little game called Fortnite doing rather well, Nintendo’s own Tetris 99, as well as Warframe late last year but Asphalt 9: Legends has achieved a lot in a short space of time. Crucially, it’s a much more typically mobile game than the others.
It’s likely that Gameloft will launch more titles on the service, with presumably other major casual free-to-play publishers following suit. Could this be a pivotal change for the Nintendo eShop? For now, potential is everything rather than reality, but time will tell.
Story by Jennifer Allen