Comment & Opinion

F2P pioneer Jason Citron questions Nintendo's demarcation between design and operations

F2P pioneer Jason Citron questions Nintendo's demarcation between design and operations

Opinion about Nintendo's new deal with DeNA seems to be split.

Some are hopefully that Nintendo's historic seal of quality can prevail into the F2P mobile gaming world, while others think the situation is doomed.

Those with a more positive approach have been taking heart from a TIME interview with Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata in which he plays down DeNA's involvement in game development.

"Development of smart device games will be mainly done by Nintendo", he comments.

Instead Iwata says that Nintendo's new partner's role will be limited to operating its new online platform and the usual games-as-a-service events and support.

Indivisible

However, as part of the PocketGamer.biz Mobile Mavens group, an interesting point was raised by Jason Citron.

A co-founder and CEO of US pioneering mobile gaming platform OpenFeint, and now running his own F2P studio, Citron comments on the TIME article, saying "The big red flag there IMO is the notion that 'Nintendo makes the games, DeNA runs the service'.

"As we all know by now, in order to effectively build a game-as-a-service, you make fundamentally different design decisions.

The big red flag ... is the notion that 'Nintendo makes the games, DeNA runs the service'.
Jason Citron

"To what extent will Nintendo influence their design decisions to make a proper live game? It can't be a we do X, you do Y type of partnership.

"The design directors on the games will need to internalize live-ops design."

It's a significant comment, and one that points to Nintendo's lack of experience in operating free-to-play games and the wider games-as-a-service, which demands a holistic approach to gameplay, monetisation and the live operations that can support and grow a community for months and years.

You can read the entire Mobile Mavens discussion on Nintendo's decision to go mobile here.


Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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