Nintendo investor writes letter to Iwata, urges him to try in-app purchasing on mobile

Thursday, 27th February 2014 10:19 GMT By Dave Cook

Nintendo isn’t keen on the mobile space, that much is abundantly clear, but one company investor has spoken out regarding a way the firm could reap great rewards in that space using in-app purchasing.


“Just think of paying 99 cents just to get Mario to jump a little higher,” hedge fund manager Seth Fischer said in a letter to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, showing a worrying misunderstanding of the concept of value.

“We believe Nintendo can create very profitable games based on in-game revenue models with the right development team,” he went on. “The same people who spent hours playing Super Mario, Donkey Kong, and Legend of Zelda as children are now a demographic whose engagement on the smartphone is valued by the market at well over $100 billion.”

What’s next, paying real money for bonus Rupees, or different coloured armour for Samus?

While Nintendo is trying free-to-play with Steel Diver: Sub Wars, it’s staying clear of the mobile space, a move some people believe is hurting the firm.

But what do you think readers?

Via Wall Street Journal & Nintendo Life.



  1. Lloytron

    And that my friends, is why investors do not make good game developers. Hopefully they will tell him to stick it, or advise him where else to spend his money.

    #1 10 months ago
  2. Dragon

    “Just think of paying 99 cents just to get Mario to jump a little higher,”
    I am thinking…

    However, you also have to see where the interest of shareholders lie. Most of them have short term views on money making. But, really, one shouldn’t forget the crux of the reason why these voices are coming up. Its because they know the current ninty management and system is a big failure, alongwith “please understand” Iwata.
    Show the results, or see the door, the mantra of a publicly traded company.

    These are the sort of people Iwata needs to answer, since they pay him, not their fanboys.

    #2 10 months ago
  3. polygem

    iwata is a great ceo and the wiiu is a great device that will probably build a bridge to their next machine. the 2 screen nintendo device is more or less a given now and i think that´s a good thing because it works exceptionally well. the wiiu is not a failure at all but having 2 systems that, to a large degree, play very similar software isn´t working anymore. that was the mistake nintendo made and sony made it too with the vita. they need to focus on one device in the future and concentrate all their dev power on that. going mobile is a very shortsighted view and it would harm their brands and ip´s in the long run. it´s not an option, it would be a wrong move. i am glad that iwata seems to be strong and confident enough to realise that and because of this he is absolutely the right guy in the right position.
    nintendo have done a lot to become more modern, in fact, in many areas they feel so much more innovative, unique and modern than their competition. nintendo are different by design and that´s a good thing. they will be fine. their software is better than ever too. don´t worry be happy – there will be colourful rainbows again soon.

    #3 10 months ago
  4. The_Red

    “Just think of paying 99 cents just to get Mario to jump a little higher,”
    Wow… that is the worst game related thing I’ve read in some time. Seriously, while I do agree that Nintendo should start looking at mobile, the super disgusting way he is talking about is definitely NOT the way.

    Of course, just because Iwata and his useless board are not supporting that stupid idea of 99 cents for higher jumps, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be fired. He struck gold with Wii and DS, then made EVERY possible mistake with 3DS (Which according to people like Jaffe, is allowed as his first major mistake) and then repeated ALL of them with Wii U (Which should NOT be tolerated at all).

    #4 10 months ago
  5. wicktus

    I don’t think those investors are aware of the concept of REPUTATION and IMAGE, they think that in app purchase and Pay2win are here to stay, but overall I think people are more and more aware of the fact that the’yre not actually playing to win but paying to win, look at all the forums or the ratings in app stores.

    Nintendo may be a little broke but AT LEAST they don’t f#ck their fanbase, each nintendo game is made by interested dev and not just greedy bastards, donkey kong TF is another example, but if you see for instance Animal crossing : 4M units sold, they could’ve added A LOT of DLC, they know that it would critically damage their reputation and they do not need that at all, they may not have modern hardwares, or top notch services, but they have the reputation regarding their 1p, the majority aknowledge that mario kart, pokemon, Super smahs are one of the best 1p :) and are all system sellers

    #5 10 months ago
  6. Joe Musashi

    “..the wiiu is not a failure at all..”

    The delusion is strong with this one. Even when the corporation making the product has mentioned how it is failing, the blind devotion denies reality.

    When you can’t accept reality your views have zero credibility.

    Also, the hypersensitivity that prompted another sales pitch from a perfectly neutral article demonstrates a mindset incapable of accepting or tolerating any critique that doesn’t match personal bias.

    The actions on [constant] display speak far louder than any words of protestation do. As will be demonstrated shortly.


    #6 10 months ago
  7. OlderGamer

    A couple of stories today, having the same issues. So I guess my theme of the day is Suits and how they ruin the game industry. Being an investor is fine. Wanting a return on that investment is fine. But leave the games to the people that eat, drink and sleep games. Leave it to the artists. The designers. Leave it to the people that dedicate their lives to pursuing their life long passion of creating and crafting worth while experiences.

    Leave games in the hands of the game people.

    Having an investor tinker with a demand changes to the craft is a lot like having a football club owner stepping onto the field and making roster adjustments and game strategy changes. Best to leave that to the coaching staff.

    I fully understand that games are a biz and anything that makes money attracts the suits. However the industry was built on the backs of New IP ( ), not established franchises able to be milked. The industry thrives off of the creative vision of, and passion of people that care a lot less about creating new/more revenue streams then they do creating worthwhile, entertaining, captivating experiences for their fans.

    What do you call 1000 suits at the bottom of the ocean?

    A good start.

    Ok, ok, I know these people have a purpose here. I get that. But they should know their role. Stay out of the way. Let people do their jobs. And most important they should understand that their influence is changing this industry, I think in a bad way. They should be careful what they whish for…what they push for. They might just get it, and that could change the games so drasticly that the fans will walk away .

    Not going to rant forever here, but one last thought.

    We saw this with Sony last gen and with MS and Nintendo this gen, I think they took the gamers for granted. You have to prove yourself and your value every day in this industry(in many industries in fact). Just because you build it, doesn’t mean fans will come. MS and Nintendo built systems that most people don’t want, people aren’t buying them the way they had hoped. Sony had that problem with their handhelds and their PS3. Having success once or twice doesn’t guarantee success every time. Very few gamers actually blindly loyal to one brand. You have to represent value with each and every offering.

    Having 99cents for Mario to jump a little higher, for example, is only going to drive fans away.
    Peddling the same old worn out franchises will lead fans to become bored and seek new experiences else where. And forcing products and policies on to the scene that fans don’t like or want(I am looking at you MS and Nintendo) will also end up alienating fans.

    #7 10 months ago
  8. OlderGamer

    “They might just get it, and that could change the games so drasticly that the fans will walk away .”

    …from the products that these suits are pushing for….not from the entire industry.

    Wanted to clear that up before some yahoo tries and picks apart what I said for the sake of trying to win the internet.

    And really VG247, we need an edit button.

    #8 10 months ago
  9. Michael Ireland

    #9 10 months ago
  10. polygem

    @Joe Musashi

    if you look at the expected sales the wiiu can be described as a failure (for now, status quo)

    that´s ONE way to look at this, i give you that.

    if you look at the actual fact that it absolutely achieves what was expected and desired in a creative way. i think the wiiu is a huge success.

    that´s my point and i stand by that.

    #10 10 months ago
  11. The_Red

    @polygem But how did Wii U achieve anything creatively? It’s 2 best games are:
    - Remake of a GameCube title that didn’t need GamePad.
    - Sequel to a 3DS that doesn’t really use GamePad.

    It’s true creative goal was to make GamePad matter in terms of dual screen gameplay, something that Wii Sports did for Wii. The whole point of Wii U was to continue the Wii-family and turn GamePad into the next great step while ALSO being a console that both casuals and hardcore games buy (According to Nintendo’s own Iwata). When the console has failed on ALL of those accounts AND is the worst selling Nintendo console of all time, there is no other word to describe it but failure.

    #11 10 months ago
  12. salarta

    It took me a bit to fit an article outside VG247 that actually says this 99 cents to jump higher thing, since WSJ is behind a paywall.

    And holy fuck, if that’s the actual plan, then this guy is an asshole. A proposal to make mobile phone games, I can understand. Part of why Nintendo got so popular, at least in the U.S., was the cartoons and candy and cards and everything they put out with the NES that the company doesn’t do anymore.

    But “pay 99 cents to jump higher” is exploitation. That’s pure unadulterated greed talking. That’s a guy that doesn’t give a damn about quality, good business sense, treating people respectfully. That’s a guy that wants cash cash cash and doesn’t care what it takes to get it.

    If Nintendo listens to him, they’re screwed. I should also say it does give some excellent insight as to why Nintendo makes certain decisions, and does present the notion that perhaps their current situation is the least of all evils that the greedy business types are trying to force on them.

    #12 10 months ago
  13. polygem


    i really think that this is only a small part of the story.

    it does not sell well but it delivered in almost every aspect anyway. almost everyone who has a wiiu enjoys it and that´s no miracle because it´s a great console.

    -zombiu made a huge difference with the pad and imo it is one of the best videogames of the last few years – because of the pad. the gamepad helped A LOT to make this game as immersive as it is. completely underrated gem this one. completely. almost worth buying a wiiu for that alone.

    -playing nsmb coop or rayman is just great with the pad

    - you have your cods etc. sometimes even the best looking versions of them.

    -wonderful 101 uses the pad in a very unique way too

    -off screen play in general is a huge deal

    -miiverse alone is worth shipping a console with a pad tbh

    -lots of indies, finally regular sales – don´t forget wii bc

    it´s far from a failure. it is a great concept that works well and i am sure that we will see some great games that will show that even more.
    i also don´t think that every game has to use the pad to legitimate it´s existence.

    i don´t think that the poor sales proof that the basic concept of the console isn´t working and therefore it is a failure. i believe that people don´t want, or can´t afford 2 different nintendo machines anymore. you can see these difficulties on the vita/ps4 as well. if people buy several gaming devices they buy one from nintendo PLUS a playstation or xbox and that makes a lot of sense.

    the dual screen idea works and people love it. they only seem to prefer the 3ds in delivering that experience, that´s why nintendo needs to focus on one device next time. this way they do not have to split dev creativity also, which is another big plus. third party support wont be that important then anymore either.

    calling it a failure just isn´t the appropriate term. it´s a one dimensional look at the situation and it reduces it to just one piece of the puzzle. therefore it´s a flawed conclusion. the story of the wii this far is about a great system that didn´t meet it´s sales expectations. there is a difference between that and a failure.

    #13 10 months ago
  14. polygem

    sorry guys. we need that edit button back asap, like, yesterday.

    #14 10 months ago
  15. Legendaryboss

    I um, find this notion silly. So no, just no.

    The Wii U is a failure? In reality yes, in make-believe land? God no! Personal objective enjoyment is not linked to the status of a platform. It is just that, personal objective enjoyment. Saying sales is a small piece of the puzzle is stretching just to suit your warped, repetitious viewpoint. And saying a manufacturer does not need third parties when they themselves admitted they do. Even if their actions towards getting those third parties is completely baffling.

    #15 10 months ago
  16. Legendaryboss

    @Legendaryboss Is ignorance RE third party.

    #16 10 months ago
  17. polygem

    i love how you keep twisting things. it is indeed legendary.
    i have said “third party support wont be that important then anymore” that´s not “saying a manufacturer does not need third parties”. in fact there is a huge difference.
    just like bad sales do not necessarily mean that something is a failure.
    i think this perfectly shows why you really fail to get my point all the time. i have perfectly explained it. just read it, scratch the twisting…you´ll get it.

    #17 10 months ago
  18. polygem

    one more try to explain this.
    the wiiu has a value for nintendo in the long term. it is a solid, reliable, fun machine with top quality software. the miiverse is a huge improvement and a great and unique take on social online. it´s something i am sure nintendo will continue to push with their next machines. for that they will need some sort of tablet controller. there´s no way back from that now so i am sure we will see something like it in their next device. that alone proves that the term failure is absolutely inappropriate if you keep the bigger picture in mind. calling it a failure is generalizing things and it is a very narrow – minded, short – sighted analysis of the situation.

    #18 10 months ago
  19. Dragon

    Some numbers for a gentleman named OlderGamer who told me how he wholeheartedly believes the rating agencies and chances of bankruptcy estimations.–Nintendo-Co-Ltd–Sony-Corporation

    How is your opinion how?

    Btw, this comment is only for OG, lets see if others have self-control not to jump on comments which are made in good language not aimed at them.

    #19 10 months ago
  20. CharlesLupula

    The Wii U has been a giant failure and this sort of talk wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t. This is only the beginning. Investors are tired of “please understand.” They want results. Iwata is incapable of them.

    And yes, the Wii U is a failure. Just because you enjoy it doesn’t mean that it didn’t fail. I loved the Saturn as a fan of fighting games, but it’d take a ridiculous amount of delusion to think that that system wasn’t a failure, as well. Millions and billions of dollars are not invested in things so that a small group of people can say they have fun with them. That money is invested to return a profit. If it isn’t returning a profit, it’s a failure. Fact. Period. Point blank.

    And speaking of failure, why is there no article on Nintendo giving Wii and DS owners a mouthful of dick , by shutting down the Wii and DS online infrastructures, in a naked attempt to force them to buy Wii U’s and 3DS?

    #20 10 months ago
  21. Joe Musashi

    Well, whaddya know – the demonstrated actions of the reality-denying delusional fanboy speak far louder than their protestations.

    Who could possibly have seen that coming?!


    #21 10 months ago
  22. Dragon

    “why is there no article on Nintendo giving Wii and DS owners a mouthful of dick , by shutting down the Wii and DS online infrastructures, in a naked attempt to force them to buy Wii U’s and 3DS?”

    Well, whatdaya know, I wonder if such actions of ninty are purposefully ignored by some.

    #22 10 months ago
  23. CharlesLupula

    @Dragon Ah, thanks for that. I blame this weird new format the site has. I looked and couldn’t find an article on it.

    Now I wonder if there are almost no comments on it because people don’t want to admit it when Nintendo does something fucked up or they never read it because, like me, they couldn’t find it on the site.

    #23 10 months ago
  24. Dragon

    That seems plausible too. But when you see someone on the site round the clock commenting on a multitude on articles, ones that are way older, it arouses some suspicion.

    Well, either way, whatever. Going around in circles for a millionth time isn’t funny. Guess I will eat some popcorns, no? :lol:

    #24 10 months ago
  25. Legendaryboss

    Fine my bad, implying that third parties will no longer necessary because of a focus on one platform is ignorance and is a big gamble on their part, it could end up being a Wii U 2 saleswise. Contrary to your viewpoint that bad sales don’t matter, it does in reality. You won’t see a Wii U 2? (LOL that won’t make sense) if Wii U continues on its path. There is a difference between “great device” and “bad sales”, you cannot say the latter doesn’t matter in regards to success/failure and try to replace it with personal objective enjoyment to make it seem like a success: it doesn’t work that way. You can’t equate success or failure with personal objective enjoyment.

    Your viewpoint doesn’t need explaining, it needs something but explaining isn’t one. Yeah that repetitious explanation just shows your equating personal objective enjoyment with success/failure and i should note ‘well man thats just your opinion’and if i go on the forum to the Wii U thread someone did the same albeit in a less love lettery tone. You should also know that failure and success is subjective to change and unless Mario Kart 8 & SSB does something to drastically change Wii U’s fortune then is at the moment, failing. Your personal objective enjoyment/opinion is not the bigger picture, its something but not the big picture.

    #25 10 months ago
  26. Legendaryboss

    @polygem I will agree we need that edit button back.

    #26 10 months ago
  27. polygem

    i am not talking about personal enjoyment here. not in the slightest. i stated objective facts about some of the many positive things the wiiu offers and pointed out why i believe that these achievements in console design will turn out to become a success for nintendo as a whole in the long term. therfore i believe that calling something a failure only because it doesn´t sell well is a very one dimensional analysis of the situation that ignores the many fields in which the wiiu shines. i offered a view on why i think the wiiu isn´t selling so well and what nintendo could do to fix this situation. i think it´s the same scenario that we have with the vita and ps4 but vice versa. the solution is a focus on one device in the future – that doesn´t make the wiiu as a whole a failure. i see it more like a gap filling device, a creative signpost of things to come…but i have said that already. multiple times. we always dance the same dance. we do not have to agree about this. your arguments do not convince me though. not at all. imo they are pretty damn ignorant and autocratic.
    let us talk again in a few years and analyse this situation again.

    #27 10 months ago
  28. Legendaryboss

    @polygem LOL at objective facts :) LOL at if it isn’t a love letter it will never convince me :) LOL at calling my viewpoint Autocratic & Ignorant :) You just have to laugh :D

    Now it makes sense, any viewpoint which doesn’t include the usage of rainbows and any other nonsensical words, isn’t based on reality and real life facts, doesn’t make omissions to support my love letters is a flawed conclusion reeking of ignorance and is autocratic. Never mind the fact that you want to equate success or failure with personal objective enjoyment and YES that is what your posts contain in regards to the above. Again you just have to laugh :)

    What you fail to understand is that i never asked for an explanation nor did i ask for a repetitious love letter, that is all on you. So look in the mirror, these love letters are your own doing and isn’t my request or anyones for that matter.

    #28 10 months ago
  29. polygem

    glad that you are having fun.
    no love letters here (you used that term a bit too much in your last post for my taste – sounds disturbing, just a tip)
    i do not love nintendo at all – i just enjoy their current systems and i think that they are on a good way into a successful future despite a currently weak wiiu.
    everything points in that direction if you can read between the lines.

    #29 10 months ago
  30. TheWulf


    If Nintendo brings this to the 3DS or anywhere else, I’m done with them. I can’t tolerate anyone who utilises in-app purchases to exploit their players, and I definitely can’t support them. I’m sick of seeing this, and I’m sick of sleepwalkers just allowing themselves to be exploited.

    So… no. No. No! That’s all I have to say about that.

    #30 10 months ago
  31. SinfulKnight

    Yes, because the one thing gamers are happy with is paying more money after paying full price for a incomplete game.

    Even free games with in-app purchases are crap. Why can’t the game just be good with stuff you can unlock by working for it. Na, throw money at the problem.

    I really don’t like it and while Nintendo needs help this is NOT the solution.

    #31 10 months ago

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