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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wii Retro Library Pricing

Nintendo President Saturo Iwata spoke yesterday at a Japanese marketing event (Japanese source), revealing information about "virtual console" pricing and the Wii's relationship with the DS. Iwata revealed that games for Nintendo's "virtual console" that will allow Wii owners to play old titles on their consoles will be priced at ¥500 and ¥1,000, roughly US$4.50 to US$8.99. For reference, classic retro games for the Nintendo GameBoy sold for upwards of US$35 for some titles, US$19.99 for others. Uptake was understandably low, as gamers were reticent to pay that much for old content.

Retro gaming may prove to be a big boon for Nintendo. Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace has already captured the attention of many gamers with games costing 400 to 1,200 Microsoft "points," which translates to US$5 to US$12.50. Nintendo's pricing is roughly competitive with Microsoft's, but the ability to launch with a massive library of retro games could easily overshadow Microsoft's service, which has been anemic in terms of new titles since launch (though we wait in anticipation for Paperboy, Contra, and others). Are gamers more likely to buy Zuma for US$10, or Majora's Mask?
-- Wii's classic games to be priced less than US$10

Hands down ... Majora's Mask. Still, Nintendo hasn't proven it's willing to open a door for indie development just yet, aside from some very mild rumblings. I mean, being able to load up old games for a lark is great and all ... but there's clearly a market for new casual games as well. Hopefully the big N won't be relying soley on pre-existing franchises and titles to get by on the Wii.

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