Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said about 10 per cent of the company’s Japanese consumers are willing to purchase games digitally, and that as a result, the company will expand its digital business.

Nintendo has traditionally had very strong ties to physical retail in Japan, and the company’s digital offering extremely limited when compared to its competitors at Sony and Microsoft. Speaking with investors regarding the company’s yearly financial report, Iwata said, “We are already seeing changes that would have been inconceivable, say, about a decade ago.”

“In consideration of the fact shown in my presentation that, once people have chosen a download version, they tend to choose another download version the next time they purchase software, I still feel that the digital ratio will change dramatically in two or three years’ time, as I did when I initially made this remark,” said Iwata.

“We think that digital distribution of packaged software is only the first step in expanding our digital business. We will not simply change our existing packaged software distribution channel. Rather, we might have many other types of business models in addition to packaged software.”

Iwata went on to hypothesise all kinds of far-out futuristic purchasing scenarios such as games “that require a monthly subscription fee”, games “that cost much less”, and even “free-to-play” games.

“Digitalisation allows for greater flexibility, whereby having more ways to make payments, both software developers and consumers have more options,” explained Iwata. “And Nintendo 3DS and Wii U have flexible systems to handle such trends, so it is now a question of putting these ideas into action.”

In its most recent financial results, Nintendo reported that its eShop sales more than doubled in FY 2013, year-on-year.