Downloadable content coming to 3DS, Wii U

By Steve Watts, Aug 01, 2011 8:00am PDT

Nintendo is planning to offer downloadable content through both the 3DS and Wii U, with tools for the handheld system primed to hit developers later this year.

News of downloadable content only makes sense on the Wii U, since it's aiming to be a direct competitor to the PS3 and 360, both of which offer DLC on a regular basis. The 3DS news, on the other hand, comes as more of a surprise, and could be a boon to the system.

Andriasang reports that company president Satoru Iwata revealed the plans at an earnings briefing on Friday, and promised Nintendo will be judicious in its own use of the system. Iwata said that the company is interested in offering other stages and new features, but said they feel that some DLC (like paid stat increases) doesn't create a long-term relationship with customers. Nintendo won't offer this type of content, but Iwata doesn't seem to be forbidding it for developers.

This led naturally to the question of free-to-play games, which Iwata feels damages the premium value of Nintendo's games. He also mentioned that the 3DS connection rate is much larger than the DS, and the company is aiming to make the eShop a larger part of the business over the next three years.

Nintendo recently reported a loss, attributed to slow 3DS sales. A hefty price drop might spur sales, but some gamers are simply waiting for a must-have game. After a sharp influx of canceled, moved, and delayed games, tempting developers with DLC revenue could bring much-needed third-party support to the system.

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