Nintendo finally begins to embrace free-to-play games

Responding to the trends in the mobile market, Nintendo today announced their two first free to play games, both internally developed and both coming exclusively to the Nintendo 3DS. The first of these is, as promised by Nintendo last year, Steel Diver. Dubbed Steel Diver: Sub Wars, the game includes local and online multiplayer and what appears to be a fairly standard free-to-play model, with a basic set of maps and submarines available to players to begin with, and more being unlockable with transactions. 

At E3 last year, Nintendo gave itself until March to launch a free-to-play title in the Nintendo eShop. That same week, Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that the gratis game would be based on Steel Diver, a 3DS launch title. Today, Nintendo delivered, releasing Steel Diver: Sub Wars on the 3DS eShop. Technically, it’s not the first free-to-play title to grace one of Nintendo’s online storefronts (that distinction goes to Namco’s Tank! Tank! Tank!), but it is the publisher’s inaugural first-party attempt at aping the mobile gaming market. It won’t be its last either. During today’s Nintendo Direct livestream, the company also announced Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball, a mini-game collection that will let players haggle over the price of DLC expansions.

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