Sony’s NGP is touting its 3G mobile connectivity features, but Sony has unsurprisingly confirmed this will not be free, and consumers and even Nintendo’s CEO all appear extremely hostile to the idea.
SCE’s European boss has confirmed that the NGP’s 3G connectivity will not be a free service, meaning contracts with mobile phone providers will almost certainly be involved.
If the market for smartphones is anything to go by, this will likely mean $20-$100 monthly data plans, minimum contract periods and a variety of other inconveniences, all without the benefit of actually being able to make phone calls or do much beyond play games (which of course also have to be bought).
Nintendo’s CEO actually rubbished the NGP for just this reason, saying he thought it would be extremely difficult to persuade consumers to stomach the costs of a mobile data plan:
“I won’t deny we’ve been looking into [3G support for the 3DS]. However, with the separate subscription fee required it is a very difficult option to consider.”
Of course, this was the man who said a console with a battery life under 10 hours would be “no good” only to release one with a 3 hour battery life.
That the NGP’s 3G will be a hard sell, if not an impossible one, is already in evidence from the 2ch reaction to the news that a fee will be involved:
“If this is true, then it’s already done for in the Japanese market.
Consumers will never accept the notion of paying ¥3000-¥4000 monthly for a game console which they can’t use as a phone or for anything else.
And the parents will never let their kids have these. Without schoolchildren it won’t take root.”
Providing a non-3G model (which is confirmed) and carefully marketing the subscription plan to both buyers and those who want no part in it may prove marketing hassle Sony could do without.