Why Was Capcom Going to Charge for the Mega Man Legends 3 Prototype Version?

When the Mega Man Legends 3 Prototype Version was announced, we also learned that there had been plans to charge those who wished to download it from the Nintendo 3DS eShop 200 Yen, or about $2 USD. Though such a prospect fit in perfectly with prior statements from the company, many took it as little more than a simple sign of corporate greed. "To charge for a demo? Nothing short of outrageous" seemed to be the general consent.

However, though Capcom has kept silent on the matter, new information reveals that there is more to this than meets the eye, and it goes well beyond Mega Man Legends 3.

Citing an article from 4Gamer.net, Nintendo World Report reveals that third parties are simply unable to offer free software through Nintendo's 3DS eShop:

200 yen ($2) is the minimum price that third parties can set software on the eShop, no matter the type of software. Konami is developing a software tool that allows players to transfer game save data from their DS dating sims, Love Plus and Love Plus +, to their upcoming 3DS edition, New Love Plus. Since the free option is not available, the currently unnamed tool has been set at the minimum price.

The article goes on to note that this is why what demos have been available, including Capcom's own Nazo Waku Yakata, have been priced at the minimum. Of course, being Nintendo's system, the first-party company itself is not subject to those same rules and restrictions, thus allowing them to release titles such as 3D Classics Excitebike and Pokédex 3D without any charge attached.

It hardly seems fair, does it?

And in truth, this could shed some new light on the whole of Mega Man Legends 3's unfortunate end, or at least that of the Prototype Version. Perhaps Capcom themselves felt the same way as many fans about the prospect of charging for a demo, and decided that releasing it-- as much as it would have contained on its own-- would not have been a wise prospect. And who knows? Without that support, perhaps they felt the problem would negatively affect the rest of the project as well.

But again, Capcom has not really said much on the matter. All we know for sure now is that it seems Capcom would not have been guilty of putting a $2 price on the demo, as they would apparently have had no other choice. Beyond that, we can only speculate at the impact this had on the rest of the project.