Nintendo is looking into the possibility of completely removing physical games from their portables. Their plan would be to use a Kindle like 3G network download service where the cost of wireless data transfer is included in the Kindle’s price.
The reasons for this seem to be price focused. “I’m interested because [the Kindle is] a new business model in which the user doesn’t bear the communications cost” said Nintendo’s company president Satoru Iwata. “Only people who can pay thousands of yen a month [in mobile phone subscriptions] can be iPhone customers. That doesn’t fit Nintendo customers because we make amusement products.”
Iwata went on to note that there would be a downside to this plan, “In reality, if we did this it would increase the cost of the hardware, and customers would complain about Nintendo putting prices up, but it is one option for the future.”
I can’t say I’m particularly fond of digital distribution. I love having physical product, but at this point it is only a matter of time till we go full digital distribution.