Nintendo Could Introduce Online Subscription Model

by Annette Gonzalez on May 07, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Nintendo may be considering a paid subscription model. Currently through Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service, Wii and DS owners can play online for free. According to a recent interview with Shigeru Miyamoto, however, this could change in the future.

“… Probably the other thing that we are desperate to realize is the core [online] business structure,” Miyamoto told Edge. “Do we need to demand customers pay monthly fees to enjoy online activities? Or give an online subscription that is free of charge, but then offer something extra for people that pay, so that they get some extra value? With these core business strategies I think we are less active than we should be.”

Does this mean Nintendo admits to being in last place in terms of online services?

“To be honest, I think it’s rather unfair whenever I hear such comments – that Nintendo isn’t proactive when it comes to its online strategy. The fact of the matter is that we always want all Wii consoles to be connected online, all the time, so Nintendo has never been less than proactive in that kind of endeavor,” he said.

Last year Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said Nintendo was looking into the business model of Amazon's popular e-reader, Kindle, that charges additional money upfront for the product to make up for costs of 3G use by the product owner, this way users won't have to deal with communications costs down the line. This one-off cost, Iwata said, is better suited for Nintendo's customer base as opposed to charging scheduled fees.

If one thing is clear, Nintendo is obviously putting lots of thought into the future of their consoles by examining business models of other comparable, and successful, products. We suspect there will be plenty of announcements at this year's E3 to better clarify the direction the company is headed.