Nintendo is now charging for online play. Sometimes.
This, my friends, is a development.
At the GDC (which doesn’t seem to end), some Japanese Nintendo guy said that the company is changing their stance on online play, adding more “fuck-up” to their strategy.
Nintendo project leader Takashi Aoyama announced “Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Pay And Play”, a new “service” which will add a whole new element to the wifi connection that you may have guessed by now. What’s basically gonna happen is that certain titles, dunno which yet, will have a red Pay and Play logo where the blue Wifi logo should be. These games will have a subscription model to online play, meaning you’ll be able to DL any content and updates at will if you’re subscribed, but the downside of course is that the service is no longer free for Wii. Other games will still be free to play, but the ratio of paid vs free is unknown for the time being.
Sometimes i think i’m not cutting Nintendo enough slack on their efforts to appease those of us who’ve been weaned on their flavor of gaming since our young youths and know what the competition offers these days, but this move has “bonehead” written all over it in italics. The Wifi Connection on Wii had some solid numbers at first, and now it will probably plummet and give them an excuse to not have to do anything with online outside of channels.
Granted, it could be that this service will separate the hardcore from the mainstream user and allow Nintendo to divide their audience up into better demographic targets, but going back on something as important as online and their word of it being free to use will turn many heads for the wrong reasons. We can hope that the games requiring subscriptions will convince devs with more serious online games in mind to make them for Wii, but the negatives seem to be heavier than the positives in this case, at least initially.
Somewhere, right now, a Sony exec is writing up a statement about the still-free PSN on his Macbook Air.