How Nintendo Is Getting Microtransactions Right
Microtransactions are quite the taboo in gaming communities. Just hearing the phrase sends shivers down the spines of the most dedicated of players. Sometimes players just want to play and not worry about having to spend extra money here and there, it’s understandable. However, Nintendo have come into the picture and tried to spruce up the concept of microtransactions with recent game titles, and honestly, they just get it right. From how they use downloadable content to the complete abolishment of microtransactions in franchises known for their microtransactions, more developers should look to how Nintendo implements microtransactions.
You Can Turn Microtransactions Into the Price Tag
Pokémon Rumble World was released in April of this year for the Nintendo 3DS, and puts a limit on in-game microtransactions. The latest title in the Pokémon Rumble franchise, players take on the role of their Mii in the world of Toy Pokémon and have been requested by the local king to collect more Toy Pokémon than a Wizard, who showed up one day with ten different species. Taking the king’s Pikachu and travelling by hot air balloon, you travel to different islands and rumble, collecting more Toy Pokémon to your collection. More hot air balloons, speeding the time for hot air balloons to inflate modifiers to your overall stats, clothes for your Mii, chances to retry levels, and other tidbits are all purchased with the in-game currency of Poke Diamonds. These can be found regularly by completing certain challenges, through StreetPass and SpotPass, or by purchasing them with real money.
The thing is, you can’t keep just buying Poke Diamonds; after 3000 total have been purchased, the game won’t let you buy any more. You unlock a mine that also gives you 20 Poke Diamonds per day. 3000 diamonds equates to around $30 to $40, so for the price of a Nintendo 3DS digital game, you can remove the concept of microtransactions from a game that has microtransactions. So, you can just play though regularly, buy a few Poke Diamonds here and there, or you can outright “buy” the game after trying out a very extended demo.
You Can Haggle for Cheaper Microtransactions
Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball is a unique example on this list, in that as far as I know, it’s the only game that allows for players to haggle down the price of microtransactions. The game was released in 2013 in Japan, and 2014 in North America for the Nintendo 3DS and is centered around baseball themed minigames. While there hasn’t been a European or Australian release, the way this game does microtransactions is quite unique. Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball stars Rusty, a retired dog baseballer who owns Rusty Slugger’s Sports Shack, as well as selling Nontendo 4DS games.
The game itself is free to download, but if you want to play all available minigames, you have to pay $40 for everything. However, Rusty’s life is in the dumps, trying to raise ten kids and he’s looking for a sympathetic ear, or at least someone to give him some doughnuts. Listening to Rusty’s tale of woe, or feeding him the iconic food of the lazy person will result in him reducing the price of his store stock; the microtransactions go from $40 total to just $16. For someone down on their luck, it can’t be helping his business model any, but for Nintendo, it makes sense. It takes the minigame concept and puts a new spin on it. It takes a little bit extra effort, but what you put in, you get back in the form of sweet deals.
You Can Remove Microtransactions Entirely
Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition for the Nintendo 3DS comes from the Puzzle & Dragons franchise, usually known for their nickel and diming of mobile players. The concept of the game is that you traverse a dungeon with a team of dragons and creatures, and fight against other dragons and creatures by completing match three puzzles. Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition turns this on its head by removing any and all kinds of microtransactions. While this makes sense as it’s a full priced retail title, the complete removal of microtransactions in a franchise that is known to stick to these conventions is outstanding.
Other developers should take note. Be different with how you do your microtransactions. Spruce things up from time to time. Sure, it may not get the most revenue, but using microtransactions creatively is a way to draw people in. Supplement that with fun gameplay, and you’ve got a recipe for a fun time.