Nintendo initially dragged its feet when it came to embracing online gaming and downloadable content, but that has now changed and we regularly see games ship with unlockable content, future DLC promised, and even the odd microtransaction to help you progress through a game. Do I like such features? Not really. Especially when they are for content that’s already been available for over a year in another territory. However, during the Nintendo Direct presentation today, Nintendo went a step further — and maybe a step too far — by announcing a free-to-play title carrying the name of one of its biggest franchises.
Nintendo has announced Pokemon Shuffle, which is basically a match-3 puzzle game using the ever-popular Pokemon name and characters. You won’t be paying anything to play this game even though Nintendo could get away with selling it on a cart. Instead, it’s a free download from the 3DS eShop. Check out the trailer:
The gameplay is very simple: you match Pokemon in the lower section of the screen, which in turn damages the wild Pokemon on the upper screen. Your aim is to defeat the wild Pokemon and progress through each level. However, you only have a limited number of moves with which to do this.
Nintendo intends to make money from Pokemon Shuffle by selling you power-ups to help you
cheat progress through the game. You’ll also be able to take advantage of type advantages, mega evolution, and use items to make progression easier. It’s unclear if items will also be something you can purchase.
Pokemon Shuffle is sure to be extremely popular simply due to the fact that it carries the Pokemon name, but I feel Nintendo is playing a dangerous game here. How many parents are going to be caught out by a game their kids can spend a small amount of cash on repeatedly, potentially generating a large bill? It also positions Nintendo as acting more like a King.com than the classic Nintendo parents have come to trust.
This could seriously backfire depending on exactly how Nintendo has integrated the microtransactions and the controls it puts on kids spending in the game.
Now read: How Nintendo turned the Wii U around