Nintendo Wii U games go free-to-play in 2013 with Tank! Tank! Tank!

nintendo wii u games go free to play in 2013 with tank 625x1000

Nintendo Wii U represents a lot of firsts for the Kyoto-based company. It’s the first Nintendo home console to receive multiple firmware updates within days of its release. It’s the very first Nintendo console to offer up all of its retail games as downloadable titles at the exact same time they come out in stores. It’s the first Nintendo console to make backwards compatibility with its predecessor, namely the Wii, a ridiculous chore. It’s also going to be the very first Nintendo console to offer free-to-play video games.  What will new Wii U owners be able to play for nothing at first and in tiny increments after that?

Namco Bandai’s arcade shooter launch game Tank! Tank! Tank! is going free-to-play in 2013 but only in Japan to start. The publisher will offer the game as an upgradeable demo starting early next year. Here’s how it works: Downloading the Tank!! Tank! Tank! basic pack from the eShop doesn’t cost a dime and includes access to the City Map alongside the multiplayer modes Free For All, Giant Monster, and Team Battle mode. While this content’s free, you can only play three times a day.

After that, you’d got to pay for each piece of the game. The multiplayer My Kong mode, where one player on the GamePad controls a giant monster and the others control tanks trying to bring them down runs an extra 1,000 yen ($12.) Additional multiplayer areas like Volcano, Beach, and Canyon run 200 yen ($2.30) a pop, while the single player mode costs 2,200 yen ($26) on its own. At the end of January, unlocking the full game via the eShop will cost 5,040 yen ($66), more than the $60 price tag on the current retail version of the game.

Nintendo has said all along that it would encourage Wii U developers to embrace all different sales models on the new eShop, including free-to-play. Shortly after E3 2012, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata emphasized how his company was embracing alternative digital distribution pricing. “With respect to the Wii U system, when we began working on it, one of our goals was to have a variety of purchase options and additional e-commerce options available at its launch,” Iwata said during an investor question and answer session,”And because of that, we have prepared a Digital Rights Management system. We have designed the system from a technical standpoint to allow developers to freely take advantage of things like free-to-play and micro transactions.“

Tank! Tank! Tank! will be an interesting test for the Wii U, at least in Japan. Namco has only confirmed the piecemeal downloadable version for its homeland, not the US or Europe. Considering the success of other free-to-play games involving tanks like the 45 million player-strong World of Tanks, Namco will likely move the new version overseas in short order.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.
Gaming

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.
Gaming

Relive the 8-bit gaming era with the best NES emulators for Android and PC

For years prior to the release of the NES Classic, emulators have offered a means to every NES game ever created without needing the console. Here are the best NES emulators for Android and PC.
Gaming

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.
Gaming

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Product Review

‘Resident Evil 2' is a terrifying new virus you'll want to catch

Resident Evil 2 brings the Raccoon City incident to a new generation of players, acting both as a nostalgic throwback and a thoroughly modern horror game with some of the best visuals of the generation.
Gaming

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.
Gaming

Goodbye, Machinima: YouTube gaming channel pulls the plug after 13 years

Machinima, a YouTube gaming channel that was launched in 2006, has suddenly shut down, with all of its videos set to private. The #RIPMachinima hashtag is now making the rounds in social media to reminisce about the channel's content.
Gaming

Overkill’s ‘The Walking Dead’ delayed indefinitely for PlayStation 4, Xbox One

Overkill's The Walking Dead for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been postponed without a new release date. The co-op zombie shooter suffered massive delays, then received lukewarm reviews once it launched for the PC through Steam.
Gaming

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Learn the many ways you can factory reset your PS4. From reverting your settings to factory to doing a full wipe and reinstalling the latest PlayStation firmware, we cover it all here, step by step.
Gaming

Can't stand keyboard gaming on PC? Here's how to use a PS3 controller instead

Properly connecting a PlayStation 3 Controller to a PC is no easy task, especially when you opt for third-party peripherals. Thankfully, our guide will help you through the process.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ update makes you the most dangerous snowman ever

The latest content update for Epic Games' Fortnite adds the Sneaky Snowman item, turning players into stealthy masters of disguise. The update also changes the Sniper Shootout game mode.
Gaming

Having issues with your PS4? Check out our solutions to its most common problems

Just because the PlayStation 4 is a remarkable system doesn't mean that it's immune to the occasional hiccup. Thankfully, we've vetted some of the bigger PS4 problems and found solutions for whatever might ail you.