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Nintendo’s Free-to-Play Game is Steel Diver

Last week, during an investor and analyst presentation, Nintendo revealed it had a free-to-play game in the works, due to debut before the end of the year. The publisher also indicated it wouldn’t use franchises like Mario or Pokemon for its new pricing experiment, due to the “degree of trust” that had already been built with consumers with regards to pricing. But at E3 2013, Nintendo executive Shigeru Miyamoto revealed to IGN that the franchise his company has targeted is none other than Steel Diver.

Though many would be quick to assume Nintendo might just port the same Steel Diver that served as a Nintendo 3DS launch title, Miyamoto was clear that looking at the series through the free-to-play model would change the game’s design – and he did not specify the intended platforms for this new product.

“There is something we’re doing with the Steel Diver idea that I think is going to open things up with that game… It’s going to be very fun. We’re exploring from a perspective of where we can take that from a multiplayer standpoint – it’s going to have this four-player battle mode that I think is going to be very interesting,” Miyamoto told me.

What was telling, however, was that while the legendary game creator seemed to have a sense of where Steel Diver’s gameplay would be headed, the precise business model of this ‘free-to-play’ concept was still being decided, and the final product could end up using some sort of membership or micro-transaction type of fee. Miyamoto stressed that his team was focused on balancing how a pricing model would affect the entertainment value of the final product, which ultimately would be available in a packaged form as well.

“It’s something that we’re hoping to be able to show relatively soon,” Miyamoto concluded. With Nintendo able to unleash its Direct broadcasts at any time, there’s no telling when we might see Steel Diver return.