Is a Free-to-Play Animal Crossing Coming Soon?
Animal Crossing lead designer Katsuya Eguchi says that Nintendo would consider making a free-to-play version of the popular community simulation series featuring micro-transactions.
Eguchi told VentureBeat:
"I think the main thing 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."
Nintendo recently revealed at E3 the release of Steel Diver as its first free-to-play game that will be available by March 2014. While the exact business model for the game has yet to be determined, a successful launch of Steel Diver could strongly help shape the future possibilities of a free-to-play Animal Crossing.
Eguchi also noted that the primary audience that loves playing Animal Crossing consists of many of the same people that enjoy free-to-play games on their mobile phones.
"When you look at our main audiences in Japan, they are definitely that audience that has smartphones. [They are] women in their late teens and early 20's. They are certainly playing free-to-play games on their smartphone."
With the huge success of popular free-to-play games that already utilize micro-transactions and in-game purchases, such as FarmVille, Candy Crush, and even MOBA giant League of Legends, there's no doubt that Nintendo could come up with a successful business plan for its beloved Animal Crossing series in the future.