GDC08: Platform adds 'elasticity' to game pricing but won't hurt retail said format holder

Nintendo fleshes out WiiWare ethos

During a GDC session exploring the development of Nintendo’s online services, the firm’s Takashi Aoyama has fleshed out the thinking behind the upcoming WiiWare distribution channel.

Telling attendees that a "flexible pricing model allows accessible pricing" he said the new service – which lets any licensed developer upload and sell a game to Wii owners – was in line with the company’s overall strategy to make a machine that was accessible to a wider audience of non-gamers and developers and seen as "a companion to the television".

He also said that Nintendo does not think that the channel will undermine retail.

"Rest assured that this is not the case. Sales of boxed games are very important to the games business," said Aoyama, describing WiiWare as "an excellent compliment to boxed game sales".

Although he added: "But there is no elasticity on pricing. The barrier to shipping a game is too high to everyone without a huge budget."

Instead, given that there are multiple users of the Wii in almost every household that owns one, Aoyama said "there is a great business chance here" to reach out to many consumers at once and that Nintendo was making the platform accessible to the rest of the industry as the company was committed to growing the market but "we cannot develop new ideas entirely on our own".

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