Angry devs of Angry Birds respond to Reggie calling App Store games “disposable”


Reggie Fils-Aime, the president of NOA, ruffled a few feathers when he defended Nintendo’s traditional pricing tier and threw in a jab at $0.99 downloadable games from the iTunes App Store, calling them “disposable” and “one of the biggest risks of the gaming industry”. Some say that these games represent a threat to mainstream gaming as a whole; others believe the enticingly cheap games are just a threat to Nintendo’s bottom line.

At their GDC presentation, the developers of Angry Birds took the opportunity to take aim at the Nintendo stronghold and lob a few verbal bombs of their own. Rovio executive Peter Vesterbacka had this to say:

There were comments by Nintendo that 99¢ games are destroying the industry and making games disposable. We don’t regard Angry Birds as disposable content. That’s why every few weeks we update the game: more levels, more content.

When you look at the pricing, there’s no denying it: 99¢ is the App Store price. But true value comes from updating. Games today are more about turning something static into a service. Websites that never get updated aren’t usually very popular. Ones that always shift are.

The implied jab at Nintendo would be that in contrast to lightweight games like Angry Birds, which are easily updated and dynamically evolving much like a PC title, Nintendo games are static. Sure, the extra money you’ll pay for a DS or Wii title will get you more content right out of the box, but the entirety of that experience is ultimately contained within that box. You can’t download more stars for Mario to collect in Super Mario Galaxy, or new tracks in Mario Kart Wii. And as far as Nintendo is concerned, they don’t seem to feel this is something they should offer, because your final purchase is a complete experience in and of itself.

On the other hand, we’ve seen what happens when console games subscribe to the “constant stream of new content” model, as seen on Xbox Live where you can pay for DLC (downloadable content) to enhance your experience. Unlike Angry Birds which offers free seasonal updates with new levels, if you want that new map, song pack, or other bonus content on Xbox Live, you may quickly find yourself being nickel-and-dimed to death.

Now that Nintendo has deigned to acknowledge the ubiquity of online gaming with the Wii and DS by offering online play, virtual shops, and game demos on both platforms, is it time for the big N to step up their game and offer some unique DLC as well? Would you pay for DLC that added new content to games on the 3DS, Wii, and/or Wii successor? Or should any such new optional content be free of cost if Nintendo wants to stave off the advances of App Store gaming? And can they maintain a $40 asking price for handheld games when $0.99 games like Angry Birds (which is also available in a free version) are gaining more ground?

Via Examiner

Web developer living in Olympia, WA.


  1. I’d rather have complete video games than have to purchase DLC and hope they didn’t just withhold game content just to gouge me on the price.

    There’s an old Southern expression called “hit dog always hollers.” I don’t remember if Reggie said that Angry Birds in particular was disposable, just a lot of iPhone games in general. But the reaction is interesting.

    And since Angry Birds insists on charging $1 when there are, as you say, free versions, I wonder why they think Angry Birds is worth that much.

    Also, wanting DLC is foolish. We already have enough problems as it is with publishers purposefully releasing incomplete games and charging DLC fees later for things that use to be standard (or even things are actually still on the disc that you own.)

    The benefits do not outweigh the problems, and wanting DLC just because it’s some new kind of buzzword is like saying “Please! Please take advantage of me! I want to pay much much more for video games!”

    I want more video games to be shipped as complete, not less.

  2. There’s a reason “there are exceptions to every rule” is a cliche–it’s because it’s true and repeats over and over again throughout history.

    Speaking for myself, 95% of the games/apps that I’ve downloaded for free or for $0.99 on my iPhone or iPad are largely disposable. I don’t play them much after the first few days, and the really bad ones I delete and never think about ever again. Except Angry Birds. It’s an exception, not the rule.

    Good for Rovio for being the blind squirrel that found a nut, but for the most part I think in this specific case Nintendo’s got nothing to worry about.

  3. With DLC being possible it would also open the door to releasing incomplete buggy games that can be fixed later with downloadable patches.

    Do we want to go down that road too?

  4. He SAID that Angry Birds was an exception when he said that…

  5. Nintendo is hardcore. iOS is teh kiddy.

  6. wasn’t there mention of a 3ds function that lets you buy items and stuff for you game through the built-in pedometer? i remember reading about that in a link offered buy infendo a while ago

  7. The best form of DLC is additional content for an already complete game. I gladly pay for new songs for Rock Band on a near-weekly basis, and that’s what keeps me playing it months after the initial purchase.

    Imagine if Marikart Wii had included the ability to download new tracks every month. More folks would still be playing it. If this becomes a reality for the 3DS version, I’d hop aboard in a blink.

    A game can be both complete and expandable…it just hasn’t happened very often.

  8. mario kart and smash bros were games that really should have had DLC. missed opportunity on nintendos part

  9. Personally, I’d rather not have DLC for my Nintendo games. I like having the complete package on one disk. Sometimes I’ll feel like I’ve really beaten a game and there’s a sense of accomplishment, but DLC takes that away. It’s like I didn’t quite finish the game. With Nintendo titles in particular, I’m a completionist. I want there to be a definitive end and sense of accomplishment.

  10. The thing about Nintendo is that they have a good attitude towards their customer base. Nintendo will not offer DLC unless they are able to offer it for free.

  11. Umm, if you infendo folks knew what you were talking about. You would know that tge 3DS actually DOES offer DLC (or at least a form of it) through Spot Pass. I am losing respect for TGIS site with every post.

  12. Jeff and BlueRocks, I agree. I would rather have a complete title than something that was rushed out the door because they could always add to it or fix the bugs later.

    Mr. Paper, I am very much aware of the existence of Spot Pass, Street Pass and coins on the 3DS. Spot Pass lets you automatically update the 3DS in sleep mode, which doesn’t sound like DLC to me. Street Pass lets you exchange content with other 3DS systems in range, which also doesn’t sound like DLC (you are not spending any money or downloading anything from a Nintendo-run central service). And the coins, at least from what I understand so far, a) do not require you to spend any real money, and b) unlock dormant features on the games rather than downloading content. So none of those features really fall within my definition of DLC.

    If Nintendo were to create a central eShop where you could spend real currency (even if that amount were $0.00) to buy levels, characters, weapons, and other items to enhance games you’ve already purchased, and download them, that would be DLC. I haven’t seen anything specifically to that effect yet.

  13. “…ones that always shift are.”

    Except for Gawker sites! Oh, snap!

  14. Reggie has a point. I’ve spent $20 on my iPhone against $250 on DSiware and only because there ARE times when all I’ve got on me is my celphone and I could kill some time with a quick game or two.

  15. I think the Reggie is correct in saying iPhone apps are disposable and for $1-$2 a game, I don’t care if I can only download to my iPhone only and that it is a shorter game. However, Nintendo also offers wiiWare and downloadable virtual console games to the Wii and Nintendo treats these as “disposable” because they do not have a method to transfer the games to a different Wii when an owner decides to buy a new one. Reggie fails to realize that Nintendo offers its own disposable games too…. what and idiot he is!

    The record industry is going through this transition now. Downloadable singles are selling in iTunes, Amazon, etc.. Some say this is disposable because music buyers are not buying entire albums as much as before. So what!? They are still selling music and listeners are still enjoying music. Are music singles disposable too?

  16. All games are disposable. I would likely never play a Zelda game again after I’ve completed it.

    The value of the game comes from how much time you spend enjoying it. Sure Angry Birds is only 0.99, but I could spend as much time playing that as I do a $50 Zelda game.

    Angry Birds also has better replay value than any Zelda game.

  17. I have never spent a penny on DLC, and I don’t plan to. DLC is just a way to squeeze a couple extra bucks out of us for content that could have been included with the original purchase.

    When I buy a game, I like knowing that I’m getting everything included right there, and I don’t have to spend more money later to get the full experience.

  18. Reggie isn’t the only the one, pretty much a lot of game journalists and podcasters are saying iOS games are disposable.

  19. If the Angry Birds devs are taking this personal for whatever reason does this jeopardize the release of Angry Birds slated to come to Nintendo hardware later this year?

    I’d also like to mention that even though Mario Kart Wii doesn’t have DLC, they are constantly putting up new challenges every week online with new obstacles and goals.

  20. IPhone games are completely disposable. I have yet to purchase the full version of any game. The free versions usally only hold my attention for a very short amount of time and I’ve just never been compelled to buy. Compare that to the huge number of Nintendo games or videogames ive rented and then still bought. For me iPhone games at this point are nowhere near the quality of ds games let alone 3ds games. And I don’t believe they will be a threat. Not even angry birds which although a fun game is nothing more than a time killer.

  21. @Relden10
    Your Angry Birds > Zelda.. Just in terms of replay value or not.. Was the worst statement I’ve ever read. Angry Birds is a time waster, a simple, cheap, time waster. If you get the same experience from A.B. as you do from exploring Hyrule.. I must say I’m dissapointed in todays gaming standards….

  22. I’m glad most people here acknowledges that DLC is just a cheap way to get more money from us.

    Also, I think Angry Birds is a horrible game. Seriously. But I understand it’s not disposable for most people. But anyway, that makes one non-disposable game against about 300.000 disposable games on Appstore.

  23. There’s no denying that the ways of the apple app store are disruptive to the way the gaming industry runs today. It’s gonna be interesting which way wins out in the end.

  24. I also don’t get why angry birds is considered the poster child for a great game in the app store. It frankly stinks. There’s tons of much much better games in the app store. No wonder people that dont know much about what’s currently available just assume all games are as lousy or lousier than AB.


  26. I have to agree with Reggie on this one just because most of the app that I get on app store are mostly free or $0.99 unless if the app will have free DLC and that stuff but some of those .99 cents app sometimes are on sale at that price like I got some EA apps that were originally 4.99 or higher and they had a sale and some of them I got for .99 cents or $1.25 and those are not I would say disposable but there are app out on the app store that are and is somewhat of a problem.