Nintendo: Digital pricing to be on par with physical

Wednesday, 2nd May 2012 05:12 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Having announced a strong push for digital distribution, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has said the company won’t be undercutting retail prices.

In a question and answer session following Nintendo’s latest financial release, Iwata told investors that he doesn’t believe downloadable games have less value than physical ones, and that a price difference isn’t justified.

“We do not hold such a premise that digitally distributed software has less value,” he said, noting that some consumers may find additional value in the ability to download lots of games and carry them in hardware.

“Different people value different things. If we said, this is the only proposal we will make so you have to take it, it would be a problem as there would be no options for the consumers to choose from. On the contrary, what I explained today is that we are proposing the two formats of sales mechanisms from which our consumers can make their own choices.”

Iwata said Nintendo had discussed the matter with a number of publishers and found strongly varying attitudes towards digital pricing.

“Some publishers believe that the digital versions should be cheaper while others insist that both versions must be set at exactly the same price,” he said.

“So, it is not only Nintendo’s idea. Each publisher has various ideas on this point and, among them, Nintendo is now offering both versions at the same price point (the same suggested retail price).”

Interestingly, Iwata noted during his presentation that retailers would be able to sell downloadable copies of games as they would physical stock, meaning they can run sales or lower pricing as they see fit. However, since the costs of housing and transporting stock will be negated, Nintendo expects changes in profit margins.

Thanks, Siliconera.



  1. Telepathic.Geometry

    Boo! For the customer, you get less. You get one less box. You get one less disk. One less instruction manual. You don’t ‘own’ shit. And as a customer who isn’t retarded or hasn’t recently had a full frontal lobotomy, it’s clear that the publishers, rather than passing the enormous saving – or part of that enormous saving – onto the customer, they intend to keep it all. “Boo!” I say.

    I also think that when we move from Wii, PS3 and 360 to Wii U, PS4 and Xbox Next, it’ll be very interesting to see what happens to our digital purchases. My guess is that we will have to buy them again on the new formats rather than being able to just pass them forward. Nintendo are the kings of this kind of bullshit, so I expect them to somehow sell Ocarina of Time yet again.

    I know, I’m overly cynical, but that’s how I see it…

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Christopher Jack

    Upsetting. This should be an opportunity to attack the physical retailers, not play catch them. Still beats Microsoft’s stance. I prefer Sony’s stance on it but they haven’t done the best job with consistency. No one can argue that Valve & other digital distributors do it best though.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Telepathic.Geometry

    The online takes a certain amount of risk out of the equation for publishers too. They don’t have to think about how many units to make, nor do they have to worry about running out of copies.

    I’d actually love to know roughly how much the box, disc printing, instruction manual, sorting and distribution and retailer’s cut costs per game. I’m guessing it’s a CONSIDERABLE amount of the retail price. Brenna? Pat? Any rough estimates out there?

    #3 3 years ago

    What a bunch of rip off merchants!

    Seriously, if you’re going to charge big money for next to nothing, just say it.

    This kind of ‘logic’, including the attempted blame sharing is nothing short of offensive.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. alterecho

    Atleast this will give retail physical copies an edge. I don’t want to be dependent on the net to get my games.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. silkvg247

    OK When are people going to pull their heads out their asses and realise it’s the customer keeping them afloat, and the customer should come first. I don’t give a damn about retail, it will die, jobs will be lost, it’s a shame but it’s how it is. The sooner it’s gone the better for us anyway, that’s when we can hopefully start to see fair digital pricing.

    It’s a disgrace that the thing really holding back digital software now is the bricks n mortar retailer, something that I daresay most of us haven’t used for months.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. frostquake

    Yet another HUGE mistake by Nintendo! NO WAY, will I buy digital when I can get the physical copy for the exact same price!! IDIOTS!!

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Gadzooks!

    Good move in my opinion. I’d like to go mostly download next gen. Physical media is dead.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. ManuOtaku

    I dont know what people expects this seems straightforward with the nintendo way of doing things, if ones looks at the nintendo physical tittles, you will find that in most of the cases the price at the release date will keep the same even from years to come, and in some cases the price goes up, way up, so i think this is no different, i kind of expected this to tell you the truth.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Da Man

    #8 Gadzooks! +1

    #10 3 years ago
  11. DrDamn

    “Some publishers believe that the digital versions should be cheaper while others insist that both versions must be set at exactly the same price,”

    So why not give them the option like Sony does and with your own stuff set the standard by putting a discount on the digital versions.

    I’ve gone largely digital on Vita and I can’t see myself switching back to physical for the next generation. If this is the case then I’ll just end up buying fewer games, be picker about what I buy, and favour the publishers who set digital prices realistically.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. OlderGamer

    The deal breaker for me: does the game in question have a demo?

    I can rent physical media, and often do. Then I buy it. If I can try a game before I purchase it, no problem. But if there is guess work involved: no thanks.

    I will stick to Nintendo games, as I am sure of what I am going to get. New IPs and 3rd party pubs will be the riskier investment in a digital world…unless demos are involved.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. DrDamn

    Because Nintendo have such a great track record with demos … I can see your logic, but with respect it’s rubbish logic :D

    #13 3 years ago
  14. ManuOtaku

    #13 resident evil revelations, did have a demo, therefore i think they are in the right track.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. OlderGamer

    Nothing wrong with the logic at all. I said I want demos, esp, where full priced digi downloads are concerned. I never said Nintendo are great at getting demos out.

    Demos are one thing that i would like to see Nintendo really improve on this gen.

    To be fair, i have noticed across all platforms demos have become an infrequent thing. Often times the demos come out after the game has been on shelves for awhile. Or demo have been rebranded as “Betas” and used as preorder promotional tools.

    I think by enlarge pubs undervalue demos, feeling instead they are giving away product for free(and worried that will discourage sales). I also understand that demos take money. But so does buying a game, and esp one your not too sure about.

    In the game world facing the death of physical media, I feel, demos will be esential. Nintendo or not.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. viralshag

    Bring back game magazines and demo CDs! Yearrrgh!

    #16 3 years ago
  17. DrDamn

    You want demos but will stick to Nintendo games. I get that you feel you know what you are getting with Nintendo, but the logic is flawed because you will just be getting what you know. Put it another way. If consumers aren’t going to take any chances then why should developers?

    I’ve noticed a dip in availability of demos recently too, last couple of years. I think it’s a reflection of where we are in the console lifecycle and the current financial climate. The money men will always see demos as a quick win to cull if money needs to be saved.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. OlderGamer

    It is kind of a self full filling circle Doc.

    If there is a lack of demos, then there is a lack of exposure. And if a game doesn’t get out there, then people can’t try it. They might like it enough to buy it. We have all had games like that. But because games don’t get out there with demos, then gamers aren’t exposed to it. And there fore gamers buy what we know. And if we buy just what we know, then why put a demo out at all? Why even make a new IP or take a game in a new direction?

    I have seen a lot of Kinect demos. I wonder if MS is encouraging certian types of demos over other ones.

    On a personal note, and it prolly resenates with a lot of gamers, I like to buy good games. I know what Nintendo games are all about. I know that a Nintendo first party game is a top teir quality game. I know that those are the kind of games I enjoy.

    Interestingly enough right now I am waiting for the Dirt Showdown Demo to finish downloading on Steam. I am not a Dirt fan, but because this instalment goes into a new direction. I am interested in the game, but until I play it, I won’t know if I wanna drop the cash for it. But w/o a demo, I wouldn’t take the chance.

    #18 3 years ago

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