Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nintendo to sell 6 million Wii consoles until April, comments on pricing

In their most recent financial report, Nintendo has given an estimate on how well they expect the Wii to perform as a console. There is also mention of the expected price. Games Press has the details:
Nintendo Announces Wii Information, Worldwide Shipments

May 25, 2006

Following its overwhelming debut at E3 2006, Nintendo today announced the current fiscal year unit shipment forecast for its new home game system, Wii™. Nintendo also confirmed that the price of the Wii system, which incorporates unique freehand control, will not exceed $250 in America, or ¥25,000 in Japan. The company plans to ship 6 million systems to retailers around the world between its launch in the fourth quarter of 2006 and the end of its fiscal year on March 31, 2007.

The projections are part of a full-year financial forecast that sees growth of 18 percent in sales globally, based on anticipated continuing strong demand for the Nintendo DS™ portable game system, as well as a successful launch for Wii.

The company also said it expects to sell 17 million Wii games in the period. Exact launch dates, identification of the launch library of titles and details on the unique Virtual Console aspect of Wii will be announced soon.

The comments about the price were perhaps to be expected. But Nintendo seems very confident that they can sell six million consoles until April 2007 and almost three times as many games along with it. This is a bold statement. Microsoft claims to have sold just over 3 million units in about six months since launch. Given that the Wii can most likely launch no earlier than September, Nintendo would have to sell three times as many consoles to make good on this promise. A very bold claim indeed. And, in my opinion, a good indicator that there is still another secret to the system that will make it even more appealing.

EDIT It has been rightly pointed out (albeit by a complete cretin) that I mistook ´shipped´ for ´sold´. Of course, Nintendo only intends to ship that many consoles. However, I am sure that they have high hopes of selling the entire shipment by that time. As we all know, most consoles do sell out the first batch as demand is high.

Source: Games Press, Nintendo financial report

Post-E3: First Elebits screenshots

First of all, apologies for the recent lack of updates. I will post a whole lot of E3 stuff very soon. I interviewed Satoru Iwata, Phil Harrison (Sony Computer Entertainment), Robbie Bach (Microsoft), Cliff Bleszinski (Epic Games), Todd Hollenshead (id Software), Peter Molyneux (Lionhead Studios), Doug Lombardi (Valve Software) and Denis Dyack (Silicon Knights) to only name a few. If I get clearance, I will post all interviews in full right here, so please stick around.

In the meantime, I would like to give you a little taster. Here are the first official Elebits screenshots, courtesy of Konami:

There you go. Also, I still owe you the Red Steel story, which I hope to be able to share with you either later today or tomorrow.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

e3 update #7Hi people. Just a last quick word from l.a. to clarify a number of things picked up upon in the comments to my last posts.

There is no need for the flame wars between wii and ps3 fans about graphics. Anyone who attended e3 and played wii can not be in any doubt that wii offers stunning graphics that are a marked improvement over the gamecube. As i have said before, the graphics shown at the pre-show press conference do not do the console justice.

Now, which games did sony have on the showfloor up and running? Consider heavenly sword. It looks great, but the draw distance is very low, since all is contained within a narrow arena. Consider gta hd. It is a great game, i am sure. But try to compare it to gt4 and you will see only small improvements. Sure, eight days or lair or assassins creed look very promising. But they wont be launching until 2007. The launch titles will look good, but they will not be visually stunning.

So, as far as the first generation games are concerned, wii can more than hold its own against the ps3. The graphics of games like mp3 or red steel really do make me say wow.

Also, here is some more rumour-mongering, courtesy of nbc. In their wall street journal show, they just stated that wii will launc in november for $250. I emailed them, asking them how they come to know this. I will publish their reply as soon as i get it, right here, of course.

Finally, some people were still wondering what system wii games were running on. I have said this before: all 27 games were running on the actual console. No dev kits were necessary.

Nintendo really stole the show. But dont just take my word for it. Read reports by the bbc and time magazine and see what they have had to say:,9171,1191861-1,00.html

Summarizing all this, nintendo had a great show. Sony, by comparison, has a long way to go in convincing gamers why thy should fork out an extra one or twohundred dollars to buy the ps3 rather than te xbox360 (which also had a pretty solid showing this year). In the end, sony has everything riding on the blu ray ticket. Superior graphics are NOT the relevant factor here. Certainly not in comparison to the xbox360. But neither in comparison to wii. Before you doubt my words, play and see for yourself.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

e3 update #6it?s a wrap. e3 is over and i am left with a very optimistic feeling regarding nintendo?s appearance at the show. i am confident that they left a big impression with the majority of visitors, particularly after the slightly disapointing press conference. some of the games just didn?t look up to scratch there. that must have been due to the faulty projection, though, (there was a technical problem with the red steel demo, if you noticed) because the games looked very polished on the showfloor.

i played quite a bit of metroid prime 3 and i must say that the title has all the potential of being the best console shooter ever. it makes full use of the controller?s 3d functionality, much more so than red steel (which i was able to play exclusively back in early april alongside a handful of select press people). you open doors by gripping a handle, puling it out, turning it and pushing it back in. you can disarm enemies by literally yanking the weapon off them. and the graphics are a marked improvement over the gamecube.

i also played some wii sports tennis today, which is as intuitive as it looks. later on, two guys demoed a drum simulator, which was spectacular. i am a drummer myself and this got me far more excited than that konami arcade game, was it called drum-mania? anyway, i am sure that wii games like these will succeed in mobilizing a whole new target group for the videogame market.

the best indicator of that was that people were cueueing up for six hours this morning to get into the wii area. all of the 27 titles that were playable there looked great and polished and i am sure that they can all be launch titles.

i interviewed iwata yesterday and he was more relaxed and playful than ever before, posing with the controller for my camera while his answers were being translated. when steven spielberg showed up at the e3 today, he made sure that he visited the nintendo booth and he spent half an hour chatting to miyamoto and playing wii, which is very promising. i dont know whether spielberg also went to check out the ps3 or xbox360.

also, all developers i talked to seemed to like the wii. even cliff bleszinsky from epic games, julian eggebrecht from factor5 and peter molyneux (who is now signed to microsoft) showed some respect for the console, though they are currently working on other consoles. other developers like doug lombardi from valve, denis dyack from silicon knights and todd hollenshead from id software all expressed interest in nintendo?s approach. once i get back home and find the time, i will try to post some of their comments and perhaps even full interviews right here on this blog.

lastly, i am a bit disappointed that lucasarts were unable to show their exclusive star wars game for wii at the show, featuring hot lightsaber action. apparently, you will have to wait until e3 2007 for that one. nothing has been officially announced, but remeber where you heard it first. but even without it, i am very confident that the wii launch will be one of the most spectacular launches in console history.

as iwata told me, they wont rush the launch. they will make sure that they have the launch library necessary to make the wii an instant success.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

e3 update #5i am currently in nintendos developer conference wth miyamoto. i will keep you updated about news announced here.

super smash brothers brawl for wii is in the works and will feature pit, a zero suit samus and snake from metal gear solid. kojima practically begged for the character to be included (originally for the gamecube version, but development for that game was already too far along at the time). ssb brawl will launch in 2007.

wii is capable of displaying widescreen. its use is up to the developers.

miyamotos favourite wii game is tennis.

super mario galaxy is progressing well, but miyamoto wont promise it as a launch title. it will definitely launch within the first six months of the consoles launch. will launch soon and feature the video trailer shown at the session (filming was not allowed).

end of session.

by the way: i did see monkey ball for wii at sega this afternoon and it was running on the actual hardware, not a development kit. it also featured the final controller including the speaker. so the console is finished.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

e3 update #4hi again. it is done, nintendos press conference is over. i just returned from their exclusive e3 party featuring the black eyed peas and i must say that i am slightly disappointed. the games shown were certainly lacking a visual quality (even red steel and i know the game looks better than what was shown this morning). and i fear that nintendo only refrained from naming their price because sony announced their ridiculously high price and they want to up it because even $250 would be significantly cheaper than the competition.

i am also disappointed because nintendo didnt show the star wars game. i just naturally assumed it would be shown at the press conference. i was wrong about that. i know for sure it exists and i was reassured by nintendo that reggie mentioned that "27 games would be playable and a few more".

anyway, we should get used to the fact that there is no more big gun we have all been expecting and i have been told about numerous times. just so we are not disappointed. i mean the games shown today will do me fine and will make for an excellent launch library. but the visual quality, as i said, needs to be upped from what they showed. maybe the projector was not the best, i dont know. but some games did look very gamecube-like.

lastly, i can reveal that sony decided on including gyroscopes as early as september or october. that is why it is even more puzzling that they only had one meagre demo to show for it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

e3 update #3now, you have heard about november 17th and the 500 and 600 euro / dollar versions. let me add that sonys conference on the whole was pretty sobering, some even thought it was outright weak.

gran turismo may have boasted 1920 x 1080 progressive scan and may have run at 60 fps. it may have drawn on 12 times the data that gt4 required on ps2. but it didnt even look twice as good.

okay, the psp can double as a rear-view mirror in formula one games. that is a cool idea. and heavenly sword, eight days and lair looked totally awesome.

but resistance - fall of man, assassins creed, gundam mobile suit, codearms assault, ridge racer 7, brothers in arms, tekken 6, sonic, virtua tennis 3, virtua fighter 5, stranglehold, fatal inertia, bladestorm and armored core 4 all looked xbox360 at best and got little or no applause.

sure, the controller functionality is a shock to nintendo fans. but consider that they only had one game to illustrate it with: warhawk by incognito. and consider that sonys controller will be useless for swinging a sword or lightsaber or for aiming at specific targets - since it just is not an extension of your arm. lastly, showing only one game betrays how late sony must have decided to jump on the bandwagon. i have absolutely no doubt that nintendo will own e3 this year.

Monday, May 08, 2006

e3 update #2again, hi. a number of questions in the last comments section, which is unavailable to me through my pda software. firstly, i am noting overall confidence with regard to wii. my informant regarding the star wars game is a very senior industry insider that is not affiliated with a specific developer or publisher. he believed that nintendo will steal the show. secondly, my first news item will air on wednesday, 8pm CET on rtl2, which is available via cable and satellite all over europe and parts of north africa. watch it because there will be some very exclusive footage in it. perhaps someone could record it, upload it to youtube or google video and post the link here. you may understand why i havent been able to post frequently in the last weeks.
e3 update #1hi everyone. i have just checked into my hotel in west hollywood and am using blogs in hand to post from my pda mobile. this way i wll be able to keep you updated. and i have some exclusive news for you tonight. there will be a star wars exclusive for wii, i just learned, light sabers and all. it will be revealed tuesday.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wii rule

Wee Rule (1988), performed by the Wee Papa Girl Rappers

Anyone still remember this one? It´s not as obvious a choice as We will rock you, but I love this track. Also, they sing about a controller: "The captivating mic controller elevating your act..." - yup, in just six days now ;)

Source: You Tube

Monday, May 01, 2006

How Wii will grow

On the NSider forums, a great deal of people still don´t understand the genius behind the name ´Wii´. That´s why I have pasted a few comments from posts I wrote there, to summarize my position and, hopefully, convince some critics ahead of E3 next week.

For a start, most people wrongly believe that a console´s name should somehow hint at the system´s ability. Names like PlayStation, Xbox or even Gizmondo might do that (although only to a very limited extent if you think about it). But this kind of name is meaningless to the vast blue ocean of people out there that haven´t followed console gaming for years or even decades. Those people will be totally unimpressed by consoles whose names conjure up connotations of MegaHertz powerhouses. Wii is a great name for a console that is being marketed to those kind of people (as well as to current gamers, of course), because it comes across as unique and as a lifestyle kind of gadget.

Seriously, people, why did Google manage to rise to the top when Altavista was obviously the professional´s weapon of choice (Google allows no and.t searches or even wildcards)? Name and logo went a long way to making this site unique and stand out among the vast array of good search engines out there. Similarly, Wii might become this kind of appealing and unique name that indicates an appealing and unique lifestyle product.

Most critics say the name sounds ridiculous. But what is so ridiculous or silly about the name Wii? And please don´t give me all this talk about it sounding like Wee because by now we should all have risen above that. Phonetically, it sounds like Wee, but do you still use that word? I don´t. I use the word We in almost every other sentence, though. This is the connotation that is being invoked in my head and this is the reason why I love that name now. It took me some time to get to this point, I admit. But you will get there, too.

A great example (albeit from a very different domain) is the childrens book and franchise Winnie the Pooh. When you hear the name, do you get distracted by fecal connotations? I am sure you don´t. I certainly don´t. A lot of the critics here fail to take into account that a brand name soon takes on a life of its own. And if the word Pooh doesn´t make people think of feces, then why in the world should Wii?

Consider that a big marketing campaign has the power to make people remember this console every time they say sentences like "What are we going to do now?" or "Shall we play a game together?" You should realise that it´s pure genius to opt for a name that is graphemically unique but phonetically prolific. This has great marketing potential.

So why shouldn´t Wii be a cool name? I am sure it will be, Nintendo´s marketing campaign will certainly throw its full weight behind this task. And Wii will become as unique a brand name as Google or Napster. Napster is another good example, by the way, because I myself used to be reminded of the words nappies or nap. It certainly didn´t sound cool when I first heard it. But through both marketing and hearsay, product and name symbiotically evolve. And so will Wii.

EDIT There are two other great editorials you may want to read. One is by CrazyOtto and one is by Matt Behrens of

Source: NSider forums