Nintendo's Mario Kart 7 for its 3DS handheld system is just about a month away from release, but some people are already thinking beyond the launch date. Over at TechnoBuffalo, my pal and Power Button podcast co-host Joey Davidson says that this new Mario Kart challenge is the perfect platform for Nintendo to sell post-release add-on downloadable content.
Nintendo has now given themselves the opportunity to take that consistently massive software installation base and give it reasons to spend even more money. If Nintendo releases, say, new karts, characters, items and tracks on a monthly basis, most Mario Kart fans will queue up to snag each add-on as soon as it’s available.
Not only would Nintendo enjoy profits from digital sales, but this move would also, potentially, lead to an even stronger performance at the retail level. If Nintendo presents gamers with new courses to play and characters to unlock, players have less of a reason to sell their software to the pre-owned marketplace. As retailers lose pre-owned stock, potential shoppers will have to turn towards new software for their purchases.
While, say, a year ago I would have been right there with Joey's stance on this, after being nickeled-and-dimed-and-dollared for downloadable content through the PlayStation Store lately, I'm starting to sour on paying more money for material that really should have been part of the base game's price. Frankly, I don't want to pay $7 to add Nightwing to Batman: Arkham City's challenge maps, nor do I want to kick out $25 for Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception multiplayer mode character skins and maps. I certainly don't want to start paying extra for additional characters and tracks in Mario Kart if Nintendo is just going to take advantage of the DLC market the way that other publishers do these days. I would pay a fair amount for worthwhile content, but there's no way that I'll hand over additional money to add, say, Baby Wario to the Mario Kart 7 experience. Nintendo has a knack for doing its own thing compared to the other industry power players. I hope that their next major reinvention is the post-release paid downloadable content market.