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February 25 2014

February 24 2014

February 04 2014

8 Ideas That May Save Nintendo
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There's trouble in Mario's house.

The Wii U is not the console Nintendo had hoped for, and its executives must figure out how to keep the company moving forward

While The Big N is not in dire financial straits just yet, thanks to cash reserves from the Wii's success, it can't keep investors happy if it remains so far in the red. What can the hardware and software maker do to keep afloat?

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata ran a plan by investors last week that included a focus on smart devices and licensing first-party characters beyond video games. This could be a first step, but might not be dramatic enough to make a difference. Read more...

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January 30 2014

Nintendo Mulling Mobile Apps as Part of Recovery Plan
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Nintendo is considering mobile apps as part of a way to spur recovery after a slump in Wii U sales — but that doesn't mean you'll be able to play Mario games on your smartphone anytime soon.

In a presentation to Nintendo investors on Wednesday, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata said the company is looking to build relationships with its customers through "smart devices" instead of letting the customer relationship remain walled off on each console.

In the past, Nintendo's online IDs for customers have been limited to their consoles, such as the Wii, Wii U, 3DS or DS handhelds. Now, Iwata said, the company is trying to connect all the devices, as well as continue that relationship with consumers on their mobile devices. This cloud connection behind a unified identity is something that companies such as Microsoft, Sony and Apple have already figured out — so Nintendo is playing catch-up. Read more...

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January 29 2014

Nintendo Says It Loves Mobile—It Just Won't Release Games For Smartphones

Looks like Nintendo games won't be showing up on your smartphone anytime soon after all.

Fans and investors have long urged the struggling videogame maker to embrace smartphone and tablet gaming by porting some of its oldest and most beloved games to iOS and Android. And a week ago, Nintendo said it was considering “a big shift” in strategy after forecasting a third straight annual loss, which led many believe that Nintendo’s mobile transition might finally happen. 

But Nintendo now says it has no plans to offer such “mini games” for smartphone platforms. “Nintendo’s intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices and as such, we can confirm that there are no plans to offer mini-games on smartphone devices,” the company said in a statement to Engadget.

According to a report two days ago in the Nikkei, Japan's leading financial daily, Nintendo may still try to bolster its presence on today's mobile devices. Too bad its reported ideas so far mostly consist of an upcoming smartphone app for marketing—one designed to spread news about the company’s other gaming platforms and upcoming releases.

The Nikkei reported that Nintendo might also offer playable demo previews of games for smartphones, although Nintendo might well just have denied that, too. (Depends on whether you consider a playable demo a "mini-game.") Plus, it's hard to see a company like Nintendo expending the effort to code playable iOS and Android game demos if it doesn't ever plan to actually release full games on those platforms.

So Nintendo’s first steps into today's mobile market—setting aside its own line of DS handhelds—will almost certainly be baby steps. Which is too bad, because the company needs way more of a strategy than a new “marketing app.”

Nintendo's latest earnings were dismal—its already meager profits dropped another 30%, and the company forecast a third consecutive annual loss for its full fiscal year. (It originally projected $974 million in profit, but now expects an operating loss of about $336 million.) Nintendo's president has offered to take a drastic pay cut as a result.

Nintendo has always managed to do a lot with just a little—the list of bestselling video games of all-time includes many of Nintendo's own titles—so there’s still hope for the company. In fact, two new game titles from the company’s biggest franchises—Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros.—will be arriving this spring, which should help Nintendo promote its underselling year-old console, the Wii U.

Lead image via Nintendo

Tags: Nintendo

January 23 2014

'Press Start': Every Nintendo Start Screen in Three Hours
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The idea of creating a three-hour supercut of Nintendo start screens seems time consuming — mind-bogglingly so, in fact. But the result is something so simple yet so oddly mesmerizing that it is practically a work of art.

Youtuber NicksplosionFX has completed the unimaginable task of compiling and editing all the footage (or so he claims), and anyone who can sit through it in entirely deserves a pat on the back

Read more...

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January 20 2014

Making Mario Mobile: How Nintendo Can Reverse Its Fortunes

After forecasting a third straight annual loss on Friday, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said the company is considering a big shift which could possibly—finally—place its hit game franchises like Super Mario Bros. and Zelda in the hands of iOS and Android users.

But such a move could threaten Nintendo’s own hardware business, and scare away the developers who still write games for its Wii console and handheld 3DS game player—which is why the company has long hesitated at even suggesting such a move.

“We are thinking about a new business structure,” Iwata said at a Friday press conference in Japan, according to Bloomberg. “Given the expansion of smart devices, we are naturally studying how smart devices can be used to grow the game-player business. It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.”

That may sound like he’s hedging, but even broaching the idea is a marked reversal from what Iwata said in late 2011, after Nintendo announced its first-ever annual net loss.

Porting Mario to other platforms "is absolutely not under consideration,” Iwata told the Nikkei at the time. “If we did this, Nintendo would cease to be Nintendo. [Making mobile games is] probably the correct decision in the sense that the moment we started to release games on smartphones we'd make profits. However, I believe my responsibility is not to short-term profits, but to Nintendo's mid- and long-term competitive strength.”

Fading Optimism 

Nintendo was not expecting another annual loss for the current fiscal year, which ends March 31. Prior to Friday’s report, Nintendo projected profit of 55 billion yen ($529 million) based on Christmas and holiday sales, as well as new Mario and Zelda games for the Wii U and 3DS consoles, respectively.

Friday’s announcement was a humbling reality check for Nintendo. Instead of a profit, the company forecasted a 25 billion yen ($240 million) loss for its fiscal year. Instead of selling 9 million Wii U consoles, as the company hoped, it now expects to have sold 2.8 million units by the end of March. And instead of 18 million 3DS units sold, Nintendo now expects to have sold 13.5 million units. Even price cuts couldn’t help.

But Nintendo isn’t just contending with new consoles from Microsoft and Sony; it’s also battling Apple and Google, which have disrupted the casual gaming space with their respective app stores that have enjoyed almost 100 billion combined downloads over the last five years.

Contending In The Mobile Space

More than 20% of the world’s total population owns a smartphone—that’s 1.4 billion people—and that number only continues to grow. With Android and iOS leading all other smartphone operating systems in the world, the mobile games available through their app stores continue to explode in profitability.

The video game business is still highly lucrative, with the potential to be a $100 billion industry in the next three years. According to Gartner, the market could even reach $111 billion in revenue by next year, with mobile and online gaming representing the biggest portion of that pie with $22 billion in revenue.

So far, Nintendo’s best attempt at “mobile,” besides its 3DS ($169) and 3DS XL ($199), was the tablet-esque 2DS, which was released in October at $130. Unfortunately, while that product was mobile, it was not very accessible, or portable, for that matter. The 2DS was $40 cheaper than its 3D sibling but couldn’t do nearly as much—the odd form factor stood out for all the wrong reasons. For example, unlike the 3DS, it couldn’t fold in half to protect the screen.

Compare these hundred-dollar portable machines to an all-in-one smartphone, and there’s no competition. Android and iOS devices offer its users a myriad of diverse features, from calling and texting to games and work tools, in a smaller, more portable form factor.

Maybe it’s time Nintendo gives up on creating mobile hardware, and simply focus on software. But that combination of hardware and software is what has long powered Nintendo’s profits.

Embracing Nostalgia

In "The Wheel," a 2007 episode of Mad Men, adman Don Draper said:
In Greek, "nostalgia" literally means "the pain from an old wound." It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship, it's a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards ... it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called the wheel, it's called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels—around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.

As one of the oldest gaming companies, Nintendo benefits from one of the largest game libraries of all time. Many of these games can be played on Nintendo’s new machines through a feature called Virtual Console, but those who don’t own a Wii or Wii U don’t have access to Nintendo’s classic titles.

But there’s the hitch: While Nintendo has released some 3,600 games for its various platforms over the years, it only has rights to its own game library.

Still, its best first-party games would likely top Apple and Google’s respective app stores. Nintendo owns beloved characters and properties like Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda. Mario, the mustachioed plumber, stars in 100 games of his own. Nintendo could offer just its oldest and simplest 8-bit and 32-bit classics from its collection—Nintendo owns 129 first-party titles between the NES and SNES—and they could still succeed on smartphones and tablets. (They're already succeeding on the Web.) 

“We cannot continue a business without winning,” Iwata said at Friday’s press conference. “We must take a skeptical approach whether we can still simply make game players, offer them in the same way as in the past for 20,000 yen [$199] or 30,000 yen [$299], and sell titles for a couple of thousand yen each”—or about $19.

Let's not break Iwatas spirit by telling him that smartphone games typically sell for $1.99 or 99 cents.

Nostalgia hurts. And yet, one way or another, Nintendo desperately needs to go back to a place where it knows it is loved.

All images via Reuters

Tags: Nintendo

January 17 2014

Game Over? Nintendo Slashes Wii U Sales Estimates
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Nintendo slashed its sales forecast for the Wii U on Friday, all but admitting that the gaming console has been a flop.

The company revealed that it now expects to sell 2.8 million Wii U devices in the fiscal year ending March 31, down about 69% from a previous estimate of 9 million. It also halved estimates for Wii U software from 38 million to 19 million for the year.

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo's president, attributed the revised sales forecast to lower-than-expected demand in the U.S. and Europe and price cuts on the devices:

In particular, sales in the U.S. and European markets in which we entered the year-end sales season with a hardware markdown were significantly lower than our original forecasts, with both hardware and software sales experiencing a huge gap from their targets. In addition, we did not assume at the beginning of the fiscal year that we would perform a markdown for the Wii U hardware in the U.S. and European markets. This was also one of the reasons for lower sales and profit estimates. Read more...

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December 20 2013

'Mario Kart 8' Trailer Teases New Characters and Courses
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Nintendo continues to expand the presence of cosmos protector Rosalina, who debuted in 2007's Super Mario Galaxy. The company announced Thursday that Rosalina will be a playable character in two upcoming titles: Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros.

The new trailer for Wii U's Mario Kart 8 shows off the entry of Rosalina and several baby characters into the racing game franchise. Viewers will also notice new courses (airport, desert and cloud scenarios) as well as fresh vehicles such as UFOs

Two additional trailers highlight Rosalina's inclusion in Wii U's forthcoming Super Smash Bros. (Wii U and Nintendo 3DS) and the recently released Super Mario 3D World: Read more...

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December 18 2013

The 10 Best Games of 2013
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Next year's games have some big shoes to fill. Whether it was a blockbuster, Triple-A title or a scrappy indie game, we saw glorious examples of games reaching their full potential in 2013.

This year, games pushed the envelope in narrative, whether through a strongly written story or subtle character-building clues left in dialog. But where strong narrative stopped, great gameplay stepped in to make what we played this year some of the most fun and challenging games in recent memory.

No matter what your choice is for Game of the Year, this was undoubtedly a phenomenal year for gaming Read more...

More about Entertainment, Gaming, Nintendo, Legend Of Zelda, and Bioshock Infinite

December 11 2013

Stop-Motion 'Mario Kart' Kicks Game Into Turbo Drive
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Buckle up and watch out for those sharp turns: Mario Kart, the beloved Nintendo classic, has been brought to life in this fun video from a couple of fanboys

This tribute video stays faithful to the game with some impressive spin-outs, banana-sliding and turbo-drive moments.

The dueling gamers start out in their living room and as the game starts, they transform into versions of Mario and Luigi for a real life race. With stop-motion magic, it feels like we might actually live in an 8-bit world for a minute

They did make one slight change, but we're okay with it — beer in the boxes would be way more fun anyway. Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Nintendo, Video Games, Mario Kart, and Stop Motion

December 03 2013

'Pokémon' Tops Tumblr's List of Most Reblogged Games
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Pokémon was the top gaming franchise on Tumblr in 2013 when measured by reblogs, according to rankings released by Tumblr on Tuesday.

While Pokémon is an ever-popular franchise, its top spot could also be tied to October's release of Pokémon X and Y for the Nintendo 3DS handheld.

The second spot on the list was another Nintendo franchise: Animal Crossing, spurred by the June release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS. The popular town-building simulator title with ultra-cute animal residents was a primary mover of 3DS units over the summer, causing Nintendo shares to rise the highest in two yearsAnimal Crossing also has its own official Tumblr, something only a few other franchises on list managed. Read more...

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November 19 2013

Clemson Marching Band Pays Epic Tribute to Nintendo
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Clemson University beat Georgia Tech Saturday, but the real game highlights happened at halftime

The Tigers marching band had a nostalgia-packed routine that paid homage to everyone's favorite throwback gaming system: Nintendo. The band created formations in the shape of game controllers, as well as beloved characters from Super Mario Bros. and Legend of Zelda

Ohio State has made headlines for their halftime spectacles, with epic tributes to classic film songs and Michael Jackson (complete with moon-walking)

But you better watch your tubas, Buckeyes — Clemson University looks like some pretty big rivals on the field. Read more...

More about Viral Videos, Gaming, Nintendo, College Football, and Watercooler

November 17 2013

What Does Your Game Console Say About You?
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You know what they say: The Xbox doesn't fall too far from the tree.

Are you old school or cutting edge? Green or blue? A lone wolf or a social butterfly? It turns out your game console could say more about you than you think. Just like pets look like their owners, your console reflects just a little bit of the type of gamer you are.

We took an introspective look at each console, and it turns out where you loyalties lie says a lot about you — or not. Regardless, here's a pretty infographic.

What Does Your Console Say About You?Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more...

More about Gaming, Xbox 360, Nintendo, Playstation 3, and Atari

October 24 2013

Super Mario Creator Is Obsessed With Fun and Accessibility
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Super Mario 3D World results from the evolution of a lot different Mario games, its creators say, and they hope it's the most fun and accessible title in the long series.

When fans first get their hands on this new Mario title, out Nov. 22 for Wii U, they'll notice it feels like the culmination of a lot of different ideas. You'll see the free-roaming movement from single-player games like Super Mario 64, and the chaotic multiplayer of recent titles like New Super Mario Bros.

"The 3D Mario games, up until Super Mario Galaxy, had really been a separate series for us, but after Galaxy we began to explore the relationship back to these 2D side-scrollers. In the case of Super Mario 3D World, we've figured out a way to evolve these elements," Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario's creator and producer of almost all his games, told Mashable. "Our goal right now is to expose as many people as possible to this type of gameplay in a 3D world." Read more...

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October 04 2013

'Pokémon X' and 'Y' Are Polished But Play It Too Safe
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Pokémon X and Pokémon Y represent huge graphical leaps forward for the Pokémon RPG series, improving the things fans love and wrapping it in a shinier package. But that colorful exterior belies a rigid adherence to the same old game formula, for better or for worse.

For its first entry onto the 3DS handheld, GameFreak along with Nintendo brought the storied franchise into the world of modern graphics, with three-dimensional characters and worlds. The games — with slight variations between the two — are more beautiful and engrossing than ever because of it, with Pokémon creatures seemingly jumping off the screen. Read more...

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September 27 2013

'New York Times' Issues Mario and Luigi Correction
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It’s things like this, New York Times:

nyt

On Friday morning, award-winning journalist Seymour Hersh gave an interview to the Guardian about the Obama administration and its harrowing laundry list of deceit — the shining item on which happens to be the “big lie” about the U.S. Navy Seals raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan, and the death of Osama bin Laden.

Moreover, Hersh holds the old guard news media responsible for not asking the tough questions and nosing around the White House. “It’s pathetic,” Hersh said. “They are more than obsequious, they are afraid to pick on [Obama].”

Hersh’s examples of the media’s spinelessness includes how the Washington Post inexplicably delayed running a story on Edward Snowden’s leaked files until after the Guardian published them first. The New York Times was cited in the Hersh interview several times for not printing the facts that Americans deserve to know. Read more...

More about The New York Times, Nintendo, Corrections, Super Mario Bros, and Super Mario

September 18 2013

Batman Goes Old School in 'The Dark Knight' 8-Bit Remake
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Holy 8-bit revamp, Batman. The Caped Crusader and Joker battle old-school video game style for a new take on The Dark Knight.

The latest video from CineFix's "8-Bit Cinema" series recreates the enormously popular Batman flick in the style of old-school video games. The video shows Batman tirelessly working to defeat the Joker, all with a musical backdrop that recreates the film's original soundtrack in a Nintendo-style.

The short clip takes audiences through the film's entire plot — warning: spoilers ahead — from the Joker's bank robbery to Harvey Dent's death at the hands of the Caped Crusader. Read more...

More about Youtube, Viral Videos, Batman, The Dark Knight, and Nintendo

September 09 2013

Is Nintendo Getting Pushed Out of the 12-and-Under Market?
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While the rest of Japan was still celebrating Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics victory, it was a grim day at the Kyoto headquarters of Nintendo. Investors had hoped the maker of video game consoles would win membership in Japan’s benchmark stock index, following the merger of the Osaka exchange — where Nintendo had been traded — with the larger Tokyo exchange. Nikkei Inc., keeper of the Nikkei 225, dashed those hopes Friday by announcing that Nintendo hadn’t made the cut. “This expectation has come to nothing,” wrote Takao Suzuki, an analyst at BNP Paribas. “This appears to be the right time to sell.”

Investors agreed. Within 90 minutes of Monday’s opening bell, Nintendo was down more than 7%. As the day wore on, things got worse. By the end of trading, Nintendo shares had lost 8.4% of their value. Read more...

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September 05 2013

Nintendo 2DS: Budget Handheld Holds Up
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Nintendo shocked everyone last week when it announced the 2DS — a budget version of its popular handheld aimed at kids that does away with some features for the sake of price.

The console isn't coming out until Oct. 12, and Nintendo said it would make the media rounds later in September. So we were surprised to find two strapped to a Nintendo employee at PAX in Seattle over the weekend.

The Nintendo 2DS is a flat version of the normally clamshell shaped handheld, and all the buttons have been repositioned to accommodate that. It still features two screens, like the 3DS, but without that system's stereoscopic, glasses-less 3D that was one of the much-touted features when the handheld launched. Read more...

More about Gaming, Nintendo, Entertainment, Pax, and Nintendo 2ds
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