Nintendo is slowly opening up to the exciting world of alternative revenue streams. While that might sound like the title of a panel at every business convention ever, it really just means that you will get the opportunity to pay for more stuff in a 3DS game soon.
The Japanese publisher revealed today that it will sell new 18-hole courses for the upcoming 3DS links game Mario Golf: World Tour for $6 each. For the first time, however, Nintendo is also offering a $15 “season pass” that will guarantee players access to all three planned DLC expansions for a $3 discount. The 3DS arcade-style golfer is due out May 2 for $40.
The first add-on, called the Mushroom Pack, hits on May 2 when Mario Golf releases. It features two new courses and Toadette as a new playable character. The Flower Pack debuts later in May also with two 36 new holes and the purple bandit Nabbit from the New Super Mario Bros. series. Finally, in June, Nintendo plans to unleash Super Mario Galaxy’s Rosalina in the Star Pack, which also introduces two new courses.
While Nintendo is offering extra content after the release of World Tour, the company is keen to inform its fans that it isn’t skimping on features. The retail version of Mario Golf for 3DS has 10 courses and 126 holes. In a press release, Nintendo points out this is “equivalent to previous titles in the franchise.”
Nintendo has only recently started dabbling in downloadable content for its games. It introduced bonus scenarios in its tactical role-playing game Fire Emblem: Awakening for the 3DS last year, and it sold level packs for New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the handheld. At the same time, the company has voiced concerns that a business model like this could degrade the value of some of its properties.
“We would like to supply consumers with only add-on or downloadable content which they are happy to pay for as compensation for creative work,” Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata said in a meeting with investors last year. “For example, some might say that it would be unbelievably profitable to provide paid add-on content for Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but we were concerned that a game in which you enjoy yourself more by [spending] money would not be suitable, and we decided to avoid such a feature after an intensive discussion with the development team.”
The publisher has also started experimenting with free-to-play games that feature in-app purchases. It recently released Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball for the 3DS, which enables players to haggle with an in-game dog who can drop the real-world price of the minigames.