When Nintendo announced they would be jumping on the F2P bandwagon, the internet was ablaze with predictions. There were talks of everything from Mario to Pokemon entering the free-to-play realm, and it seemed that fanboys were just excited to see what the company would announce. Thus, when Satoru Iwata revealed today that said title would in fact be something exponentially less relevant, a collective hush fell over the world as fans responded wide-eyed and bewildered at whether this was some kind of really late April’s Fools joke, or just a near sighted, poorly thought out, generally awful decision.
Regrettably, it would appear the latter is true, as Steel Diver was the Big N’s big unveiling today. That’s right, the underwhelming 3DS launch title will be going free-to-play, except this time with a multiplayer component included. Despite the sheer disappointment that we’re all feeling, it would appear that Nintendo has a rationale behind their decision. Iwata mentioned that part of this reasoning is due to how uncomfortable consumers have seemed in purchasing the game. But regardless of the title’s rather uninspired delivery and gameplay mechanics at large, Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto spoke out on the upcoming changes to it, to ensure a better gameplay experience overall.
There is something we’re doing with the Steel Diver idea that I think is going to open things up with that game… It’s going to be very fun. We’re exploring from a perspective of where we can take that from a multiplayer standpoint—it’s going to have this four-player battle mode that I think is going to be very interesting.
So while this clearly is a bit of a letdown, the decision does make some kind of sense. Considering this is Nintendo’s first foray into F2P, there’s not much risk involved with things going sour, if in fact they do, seeing as there’ll be no collateral or brand damage involved, because, you know, no one really cares about, knows or remembers Steel Diver. So, if they can pull this off, then it’ll go down as a great stepping stone to future, more satisfying endeavors. And if it doesn’t, no one will notice.