Last week Amazon put up a listing indicating that Mario Maker, a game some thought would be a digital only Wii U eShop game, would be getting a retail release. Surprisingly, there were a number of people on message boards and social media outlets complaining about the game potentially getting a physical release. Personally the news got me excited as someone who loves having a physical collection of games to show to others. It also got me confused over the negative backlash I saw online.
Many of the complaints I saw mentioned that Mario Maker did not have enough content to justify a retail release. I found this baffling for a number of reasons. The main reason is that all of the features in Mario Maker are not known. Even the development team doesn’t know exactly how much content the game will feature at this point in time. If done right the game can easily justify a fifty or sixty dollar price-point so complaining about a lack of content right now is bewildering to me.
I feel like it must be pointed out that the way a game is distributed does not affect the amount of content within. Sure, digital distribution made it more feasible for shorter gaming experiences to be crafted but there are other digital-only titles that are just as feature-rich as AAA blockbuster retail games. You don’t have to look further than games like Spelunky to see that you can easily spend hundreds of hours within a digital game.
So here are my questions to you, the reader, why does the gaming community pre-attach values to a game purely on how it is released? Why are there gaming enthusiasts that scoff at the price of download-only games when they are over $15? I find this puzzling since the way a game is released is quickly becoming meaningless.
We are at a point in the current gaming landscape where games like Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World get day-one digital releases. Which leads me to my next point: this doesn’t change a thing for you if you want it digitally. All it is doing is offering one more way the product is available to potential buyers. Gamers should be glad that the game will reach a larger market since the game will thrive or perish with its online community. Finally, it should be noted that Nintendo already has set a precedent with tiered pricing when releasing physical versions of its downloadable content. Not saying there will be a difference in pricing (I very much doubt the digital version will be cheaper) but it is still a possibility.
So those are my thoughts on Mario Maker potentially being a retail game. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.