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Nintendo begins to experiment with free-to-play in the West
Nintendo begins to experiment with free-to-play in the West
February 13, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

Today, Nintendo announced that it is releasing two free-to-play games to its 3DS eShop service: Steel Diver: Sub Wars and Rusty's Real Deal Baseball.

Steel Diver: Sub Wars is a submarine-based first person shooter, and it's more of a hobbled, unlimited-time demo than a true free-to-play game -- paying $9.99 will unlock the "premium" version of the game. It is available now.

Rusty's Real Deal Baseball, meanwhile, offers a slate of minigames players can unlock by spending real currency in-game. They start at $4 a game, but players can haggle with the game's protagonist, Rusty, to pay a lower cash price if they choose. Gamasutra posted a story about the Japanese version of this game last year which contains more details. The game will launch in the West this April.

Neither game features "real" microtransactions, with Steel Diver: Sub Wars particularly far from the standard set by smartphone games and PC MMOs.

Rusty's Real Deal Baseball

Last year, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata spoke about his company's interest in the free-to-play model, saying, "For new titles with no established base, if, in the process of development, we found it to suit the free-to-play model, we might follow that route, or we might do something like 'Cheap-to-play.'" Rusty seems to fit that proposed "cheap-to-play" mold.

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