Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime is blasting game makers who use downloadable content (DLC) as a way to nickel-and-dime gamers for material that should have been included in the game upfront. In an interview with AOL, Fils-Aime said Nintendo is "unwilling to sell a piece of a game upfront and ... force a consumer to buy more later. That's what [the developers] don't want to do, and I completely agree. I think the consumer wants to get, for their money, a complete experience, and then we have opportunities to provide more on top of that."
We've all been there. We have all no doubt seen a piece of DLC - a power-up, a new level, a gameplay mode - that really should have just been included in the game to begin with but that we now have to pay $2 - $10 for.
There have been some egregious examples, including a Tomb Raider game on the Xbox 360 that launched last year. The game was supposed to have online multiplayer support but developers were unable to get the feature up and running by launch day. So instead of pushing the game back, it was released as scheduled, with the promise of a multiplayer add-on to come later. Then, when the feature was finally available, the publisher sent out a press release as though it was a brand new idea.
This is exactly the kind of marketing baloney that Fils-Aime is talking about. It's a strong talking point to make Nintendo seem as the company that cares about consumers - even if the 3DS has been a case study in bungled product launches. The company cannot compete against the PS3, Xbox 360, Windows Phone, etc, but it can show a stronger sense of positive customer relationship.
Can that translate to sales, though? Perhaps. Nintendo has taken all sorts of different marketing approaches with the 3DS since its launch, so it's always interesting to see a new strategy, and we'll see if these kinds of comments are able to resonate with consumers.