nintendoFile today's news that both Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem will be free-to-play under "unsurprising' since we all expected Nintendo to adopt the free-to-play model for the great majority, if not all, of its upcoming games. Today, DeNA's Chief Executive, Isao Moriyasu, stated that "Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing are both free-to-start apps," and while we all pretty much knew that would be the case, this is the first time we get a firm confirmation.

According to the Wall Street Journal story, a Nintendo spokeswoman confirmed this comment, so it's fair to say that you won't have to pay anything up front to download either Animal Crossing or Fire Emblem once they come out. Nintendo's president declined in the past to say how the company plans to monetize the two upcoming titles, but it had been hinted in the past that Nintendo's App Store strategy would lean heavily on the free-to-play model.


Personally, I wasn't expecting Nintendo to go any other path than free-to-play since it's abundantly clear that revenue from free-to-play games is much higher - and with a much longer tail - than from premium games. Some hoped that Fire Emblem would be a premium app, but it makes more sense for Nintendo to go with the model that will bring in the most revenue. At the same time, simply because these two games will be free-to-play doesn't mean they'll be bad, so don't start getting disappointed already; Nintendo has proven that it knows how to build good games, so I have faith in the company. Hopefully I won't be proven wrong.

[via WSJ]

  • baldeagle86

    Not surprising, I'm still holding out that AC will be a fun app and not just some gimmicky add-on to the 3ds/console versions. Just give me fishing and animal neighbors and friends to visit!

    • Dmian

      Absolutely. I think they will create bells packs that you can purchase (like 1000 bells for .99, etc) and then spend those bell as usual in any AC game. So, no need to grind for bells if you want to improve your house or buy an enseble from Gracie.

      And they'll leave the rest of the game pretty much the same as the rest of the franchise.

      It'll be a really good game, I think.

      • Themagicjesus

        Yeah because the animal crossing is all about spending real money to decorate your in game house and not working your way to a great one little by little by actually playing the game. The fact that people are willing to just say "It's okay that the game will obviously have a terrible paywall I'll just spend twenty dollars in a mobile game" is sad

      • Modjular

        Okay, I've heard people complain about IAP's in other games where they're truly horrific. But Animal Crossing is a game where iAP will probably have the least effect on people's experience. If you don't want to spend money... don't spend it? But in no way does it seem like a paywall.

      • Themagicjesus

        The bell rate will obviously be incredibly to make people buy packages. Why would they make it easy to get bells when they want people to spend money?

      • Robot:String

        In regular AC it's not easy to get bells... 😒

      • Dmian

        I believe people cand spend their money in whatever they wish, if that makes them happy.
        I don't go around saying that people is "sad" because they spend money in something I dissaprove. So obviously, I do not agree at all in your view, which to me is an attempt to put yourself in a higher moral ground.
        You won't make many friends in life with that attitude, I tell you.
        Let people be happy however they like.

        Other than that, Nintendo can do whatever they want with their IPs. It's theirs for them to try whatever business model they see fit.

        I've played practically all AC installments, and in my humble opinion, I think this will be a fabulous version. I'm also not alone in thinking this way.

        Fortunately for you, you have a simple solution for your woes: simply, don't download the game or play it. Just as simple as that.

        Or buy a Wii and the console version, if you prefer that, and consider it the "true" version. Nintendo is waiting for your money, I'm pretty sure...

  • robinvanpee

    Aaaaaaaaaand, I'm out...

    • fearlesskk

      Go for it, miss it. Go cry in your little corner about f2p games,

      • korossyl

        That seems unnecessarily mean.

      • robinvanpee

        Everybody has his own opinion. If you want to spend your time playing c(l)ash of clans and gossip with your virtual friends on Miitomo about how real life sucks on you, I won't stop you.. I just don't understand Nintendo can't see the opportunities in premium mobile games.

      • chicoach

        Because there is a lot of data that supports the fact that F2P games make considerably more revenue than premium games. I'd rather see premium as well but I get it. There are good F2P games out there...

      • Outsiplou

        Indeed, to bad it is much easier to slowly suck money out of the player instead of creating a shockwave of comments on a premium game that costs €20

      • spader623

        Opportunity? What opportunity? People can't pay a freaking buck for a premium game. Nintendo, if they wanted premium, would charge square Enix levels of money and people would NOT buy it. Oh sure some would, but free to play, while everyone (me included) may not like it, is literally the smarter business decision.

      • Outsiplou

        Wich one would get more revenues:
        Pokémon Red for 3DS ( costs 10 bucks) or the mobile version (Let us say 5 bucks) . I know you could say that Nintendo has profits from the sales of the 3ds, but there aren't many people buying a 3DS to play the first gen pokémon-games.
        What I want to say is that Nintendo has a lot of games that can be ported to mobile. The roads of handhelds and mobile phones will cross in the near future and Nintendo should invest in the mobile gamers

      • spader623

        Option 3: a free to play new shiny Pokemon that has a pikachu mascot and oh my god you can capture a mew and etc etc

      • Sentinel82

        ...for only 500 gems....

      • Spader

        Which makes them FAR more money then a $5 "pay once play forever" game 😛 (not on my TA account, just my disquis one so this is "spader623")

      • Themagicjesus

        Which is sad. It literally forces them to make games worse

      • Quazonk

        Well that's a bit much. It's funny that not playing F2P games is considered the "crying in the corner" while they sit in that corner playing, like...Final Fantasy VII. Yeah, what a sad corner to be in. F2P-overdefensiveness in its purest form.

      • curtisrshideler

        VII and IX! And DQ VIII, MHFU, and Football Manager Mobile, RBI Baseball, Broken Sword, LEGO everything! This corner is indeed awesome. 😉

      • Themagicjesus

        Get out of here. F2P has ruined more games than anyone can count. Including some classics.

      • Stormourner of the Nature


      • Stormourner of the Nature

        it's rare to see this type of comments

  • NickyNichols

    In other news, the sun will come out tomorrow morning.

    • rayray307

      Not promised

      • HelperMonkey

        TA cannot confirm. Awaiting report from Shaun in Japan.

  • Milotorou

    Fire Emblem F2P.... and suddenly im happy i never had too much hope for this.

    • Brendan Charles

      I know exactly how it will work. You know all those hero emblems and special items to upgrade your classes? Well, now you gotta drop $5 on it before you can use it.

      Permadeath in Fire Emblem is pretty cool right? Well now, just 2.99 will resurrect your character!

      • Chungston

        Hyperbole. How it usually works is you can grind or pay to get ahead with cosmetic features and new characters and missions. Playable but not ideal.

    • 3mry5

      This + the simplified gameplay is starting to sound like something horrible oh man

  • ItouchBrett


  • fearlesskk

    I am actually happy that these will be f2p. I already have both on my 3ds and hopefully ill get an other experience of play

  • Gurney Halleck

    Happily playing my massive backlog of awesome NDS titles and then will just buy a 3DS. At this point it wouldn't surprise me if Nintendo had fallen to bear irrelevance by the time I get to their online offerings. Considering how money focused they are with their mobile approach when compared to their dedicated platforms (I understand the current climate on mobile and given Nintendo's fiscal issues it makes sense for them, just not for me.) Their greatest gaming experiences are best played as premium games and I only see the introduction of f2p causing an undesirable change to their game design... I'll try to keep an open mind, but considering their mobile efforts so far, I will not be holding my breathe. That said, Nintendo has given me a lifetime of great gaming already and I am happy playing through the titles they have already released on NDS and 3DS for my Nintendo fix. Mobile has plenty of great developers providing quality premium experiences which still remain and they get all my mobile dollars 🙂

    • Modjular

      Maybe they hope everyone will see it like you. I look forward to these mobile releases, but I do have to wonder how much better the experience could be on a DS. They've made it apparent they want it to stay relevant.

  • lukey89

    I can see how animal crossing could be f2p but i dont see how they could do fire emblem... Maybe iap to resurrect a member, weapons, etc... I just hope no paywall. Glad i have a NN3DS

  • Chocolatetoad

    I can understand how Animal Crossing could be a free to play game and how it would fit it almost perfectly. But as far as Fire Emblem goes, I can't imagine them making it in the style of the traditional Fire Emblem games and still be a free to play. I have a haunting feeling it's going to be a generic auto play game with the name and the characters from FE. Boy I hope I'm wrong ):

    • nkarafo

      I don't like either that Fire Emblem will be f2p. Fire Emblem on Wii is my favourite turn based strategy of all time! After this, is X-Com. But the new one will make it probably too challenging in the levels and you have to pay to get better equipment or better allies. On 3DS the first Fire Emblem had some similar elements to f2p, so it will be probably around the paywalls etc.. Sad, sad..

    • Milotorou

      exactly my thoughts.

    • Michal Hochmajer

      I see two potential ways, how it should work.
      1. Record Keeper like. Shorter stories in text form with high quality and well balanced battles. And maybe even with most beloved 2D GBA art style. But with annoying grind per month currency to exchange it for nothing in slot machine. Less convenient, but cheaper approach for me.
      2. Pay for content. Mini-stories for 3-5 bucks released on monthly basis? DS art style. Would prefer this one.

      • curtisrshideler

        Oh yeah. I'd pay per story. But I won't buy currency to speed up or fill energy.

  • Michal Hochmajer

    So be it! I will give it a shot, once it's out. Still hope for some less grindy f2p model... But "free to start" statement immediately switched my panic button on. Or maybe I am just wrong and I will be gladly paying for shorter Fire Emblem stories. We will see. Stay tuned.

  • Dragan

    Fair freemium for F.E. Okay, cash cow freemium and I'm out, that seems the right path to take.

  • Aggro Magnet Games

    Judgement: Reserved.

  • Brendan Charles

    God damnit.

  • bossjaja

    Well that pretty much ruins them IMO. Unless they do it Ace Attorney style where it's free to start, and you can just pay to unlock chapters as you want. Just don't do energy timers 😪

  • spader623

    Uh DUH. I mean really now, what did you people expect? As I've said in other threads, you need to realize: Nintendo is NOT doing this to have people play their games on iOS, they're doing this to have people say 'hey this game is cool, but oh look it's on a 3DS, and it has so much more content and etc etc, I think I'll go get a 3DS). It's meant to push you towards their hardware and their games on said hardware, while also making some money. Also, if you want to ignore that argument, which I suppose I can't prove, free to play is the obvious answer because A. It's DeNA who's a HUGE F2P company and B. Free to play is literally the best way to make money. I hate it, trust me I really do but business wise, it's the smartest and will make them the most money.

  • Michael Gevins

    They aren't F2P, they are free to start. The 3DS store has a bunch of these. It means you get to start, then at a certain point you have to pay some money to continue the adventure. These aren't micro transactions (although there is probably a shop), you want to get past a certain point, your gonna pay for the game.

  • Billy Ocean

    Oh and also the file sizes will be gigantic and they will chug data (if miitomo is any indication).

  • Alexythimia23

    I cant believe that Nintendo is that naive that they actually think releasing f2p games are going to bring a lot more people over to nintendo!!
    Well sorry to break it to you nintendo but i don't think you are capable, as a vast majority of peeps don't like spending a lot of money on iOS gaming as you actually will create such amazing games for f2p that peeps are going to think..WOW! i gotta go spend £100 plus on nintendo hardware and purchase their premium games at nearly half the hardware price!!
    Erm........i don't think so, sure a few might, but for enough to make you enough revenue off mobile? Answer is no, you saying your reason for f2p is to bring peeps to Nintendo? I say you are well aware that f2p is going to bring you the most money on mobile, ( i also think a premium port would make you as much money because of who you are ) hence you saying that will suck die hard nintendo fan boys into hopefully pumping some money into mobile for you. It just does not add up knowing that peeps wont want your hardware based on they will already have a F2p experience, sorry but your games are not that amazing that they have that much buzz around them to bring peeps to spend more money on a ds etc call a spade a spade,this is nothing more then you wanting a chunk of the f2p profit...because guess what, whatever you release, there will already be games for that style on iOS, as we have many great games even without you coming to mobile...

  • dancingcrane

    Nintendo has to make money, or go under. So, much success to their F2p, AND their premium games.

  • nini

    Might work in a similar style to Ace Attorney or Ghost Trick where it's free to get in the door but expect to pay for the rest after a given point.

  • Jakeopp

    Of course it will be F2P, the only reason they are entering the phone/tablet market is to make money.

    • Eli Hodapp

      It's weird, it's almost like Nintendo is a publicly traded company or something.

      • Themagicjesus

        It's almost like they used to care about releases and the quality of content they produce. We've gotten less than half the normal releases for he Wii U. No Zelda, No Samus, No new Mario and they are already getting ready to release the next console while hardly having anything to do with the current one.

        But yeah man whatever IPs they want to ruin ALA Dungeon Keeper.

    • Alexythimia23

      Course theres nothing wrong with them making money, they are well established and a huge company so of course they need the revenue. Im not a fan of them dressing it up like the only reason they are coming to mobile is to bring peeps to nintendo, sure they will come to nintendo......but only for the free apps.
      Everyone sees the articles, even f2p suffers, which is why there are no plans ti release quality games for mobile, sure they will be polished but dont expect console level gaming from them.
      Just a hunch but i dont think the games released will be anything special, still i guess its nice to finally see them come to mobile.

  • one.sixty.four

    Is is one of the few times I agree F2P is the way to go. The whole goal behind nintendo's mobile apps was to get people to try the franchises for the first time and eventually get them into dedicated gaming devices to play the real deal. What better way to do that then to make it free?

  • DuckingGold

    Not only is the headline misleading, but the entire poorly written article fails to understand what Nintendo said.

    Even with a direct quote of free to start, the writer still insists on calling it free to play. You know, like how it was called try before you buy back in the day.

    If someone can't make that distinction, they have no business writing about it.

    • baldeagle86

      Link to your better article? Pl0x I need it

  • Cropod

    Free to start? Like those scam games on 3ds, there's one that's this fps and you have to buy the full game to do anything but the first mission.

    • Squablo

      Think of it as more of a demo than free to play. The game you are talking about is IronFall. First campaign level is free, with the rest obtainable through purchase. The multiplayer mode is totally free. Personally I prefer this to multiple currencies and timers which are consistent with most free to play games. Just remember, there is a difference between free to start and free to play.

  • Mightywiggles

    Tom Nook's gonna get his, don't you worry. Free to play? Tom Nook doesn't know the meaning of the word "free"... You'd best be ready to fork over all your bells of his nephews will be by to have a chat.

    • baldeagle86

      This is exactly what I was imagining, you buy some IAP, then he says "That's it?"

      Then offers you double bells for the same price. Thanks much!!

  • HelperMonkey

    It's honestly this or nothing from Nintendo, folks. Worth a shot, I suppose.

  • Feathers

    Nintendo's free-to-start games on the 3DS have had very fair payment models - download for free, you can buy gems of some kind to advance with, once you've spent so much you can't buy any more and you get given free gems every day.

    So, if they follow that model, it would be good.

  • Devok

    Nintendo are gonna make millions, they know how to market the gaming industry, that's why they are number one, good on you Nintendo, now let's support them.

  • Daniel

    well, if it's free, we don't have to expect much from those apps? I mean, will animal crossing APP really feel like an animal crossing game?

  • Krian

    It's free to START, not free to PLAY. HUGE difference - Nintendo already has a couple of free to start games in the 3DS eshop, and it's a model I actually wish was used a lot more.

    Yes, it is basically exactly like a pay to play game, but once you spent about the amount of cash you'd pay for a digital download premium game for the 3DS (about 30 Euro in the EU), all the P2P limiters are removed and it's just like a premium title.

    I love that system - it's like a demo version that you can expand step by step until you have the full game. And if you loose interest in the game before that point, you saved money compared to buying a premium title full price and loosing interest after a couple of hours.