Nintendo president Satoru Iwata suggested the company is looking into automatically pushing demos to 3DS and Wii U systems -- with the owners' prior consent -- in order to expose those players to new experiences.
As part of a wide-ranging Q&A session with investors recently, Iwata acknowledged the power of the free-to-play model in attracting new users to mobile and social games, and suggested a twist on the model might work for Nintendo consoles.
"When Nintendo would like to ask users to try a specific new game, we should deliver it to their Nintendo 3DS, and possibly Wii U, with their prior consent and recommend that they just try it and, if they like it, they can pay for it," Iwata said. "In this way, we need to introduce users to unknown products."
The Nintendo president suggested such an auto-download feature would be most useful for exposing players to new IP, which they might be reluctant to spend money on sight unseen.
"Consumers are likely to be convinced to pay about 5,000 yen [about $61.50] for a well-established franchise product, but not all the people are willing to pay a certain amount of money for an innovative but unknown product," he said. "Now is the time to prepare for these situations."
In a previous investor Q&A last October, Iwata suggested
the 3DS might be able to automatically obtain system updates over the Internet through the Spot Pass system.
A June 15 system update
for the portable added an option to automatically download future system updates when in range of a wireless signal, though users still have to manually start the installation process after downloading.
Nintendo has only offered demos for a limited, rotating selection of WiiWare titles since first experimenting with demo downloads in late 2009
, in stark contrast to more robust downloadable demo offerings from Sony and Microsoft.