With the impending release of free-to-play game Initial D: Perfect Shift Online
for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan, Sega says that it is carefully monitoring the future of free-to-play games on the Nintendo handheld.
"In order for a free-to-play game to succeed... the device must be spread out in terms of popularity — that's the condition you must meet,” Sega's Toshihiro Nagoshi noted in an interview with Famitsu, as translated by Siliconera
"In Japan, the most widely used handheld device is definitely the smartphone," he continued. "But following that, it is definitely the Nintendo 3DS. I understand that the market is different, but on the other hand, I believe that everyone is aware of that, and that's how the Nintendo 3DS has kept going on without having to release free-to-play titles."
This is why Sega is interested in experimenting with free-to-play on the 3DS, as this may well be a market that no-one has properly tapped into yet.
"I believe that we might see some unexpected results,” says Nagoshi. "It might not even go too well, - there are many possibilities. The Nintendo 3DS has a wide audience from elementary school to high school students, but that’s not all. I believe there’s a business chance in the older market."
The plan, then, is to see how Initial D: Perfect Shift Online
fares as a free-to-play game on Nintendo 3DS, and work out a strategy from there.
"At the moment, I can say that we've been thinking about plenty of things," adds the Yakuza
creator. "We have suggestions amongst ourselves like 'wouldn’t this be a perfect game for a free-to-play title on Nintendo 3DS' and many more."
Of course, Sega isn't the first to try out free-to-play on the 3DS. Nintendo itself has been experimenting this year with both Steel Diver
and Darumeshi Sports Store
, having admitted earlier in the year that free-to-play may be a good way to go