News: Animal Crossing Could Have a Free-to-Play Future

Free-to-play is an established mechanism for some PC games, and browser-based applications on popular social networks, but never really hit a stride on console gaming. This is something that is beginning to slowly change. The Wii U gained its first free-to-play title back in May, Tank!Tank!Tank!, which was originally sold at retail, and Nintendo is already at work to prepare Steel Diver under the same service.

While Nintendo is wary of attaching franchises like Pokemon to this structure, it seems Animal Crossing might be something the company could consider. Lead designer on Animal Crossing, Katsuya Eguchi, spoke to VentureBeat recently, and seemed confident in the idea of Animal Crossing adopting the platform.
I think the main thing that we need to think about before even considering doing something like that is to determine what we’re going to make available from the beginning. I think that’s key in deciding whether we do something like that. If I find a business model that works, however — that works for Nintendo and the end-user — then I can’t say that [free-to-play] is something we wouldn’t consider.
Eguchi's optimism and careful consideration is refreshing, and he clearly recognizes that Animal Crossing reaches a very wide audience. An audience that would be appropriate for this kind of design.
When you look at our main audience in Japan, they are definitely that audience that has smartphones. [They are] women in their late teens and early 20s. They are certainly playing free-to-play games on their smartphone.
What are your thoughts on a free-to-play Animal Crossing? Do you think it could benefit a game like this? Shout off in the comments below!

Source: VentureBeat/Nintendo Life

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