Thursday, August 31, 2006

Japanese DS sales soar to new heights

While I don´t normally post weekly sales charts, the past week in Japan has been a remarkable one for Nintendo. Not only does the DS continue to outsell the PSP by more than five to one, the software charts are just as amazing. Every single title in the top ten is a DS game. See for yourself, courtesy of the NeoGAF forums:
01 NDS FF3 - 503.051 / NEW
02 NDS NEW SMB - 65.556 / 2.901.264
03 NDS Rune Factory - 42.210 / NEW
04 NDS Brain Age 2 - 41.784 / 3.073.195
05 NDS Cooking Navi - 37.326 / 384.045
06 NDS Tamagotchi 2 - 30.504 /430.933
07 NDS Mario Basketball 3on3 - 30.355
08 NDS Animal Crossing WW - 30.023 / 3.149.131
09 NDS Brain Age - 22.866 / 2.736.150
10 NDS English Training - 17.465

1. Nintendo DS Lite  163.274
2. PlayStation Portable  29.945
3. PlayStation 2  21.829
4. GameBoy Advance SP  2.719
5. GameBoy Micro  1819
6. Xbox 360  1197
7. Nintendo GameCube  837
8. Nintendo DS  410
9. GameBoy Advance  14
10. Xbox  12

Of course, the DS´ amazing success will not necessarily be mirrored by Wii. However, it is important to note that when the DS was originally announced, most people (including myself) thought that Nintendo had finally flipped. And the Wii controller was just as crazy an idea when it was unveiled pretty much a year ago. So if quirkyness is the winning formula, then Nintendo is just about to launch another winner.

Source: NeoGAF forums
Thanks to: Joystiq

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

September 14th is the day, after all

We all know about the NOA event taking place on September 14th. Now, there will be a Nintendo of Europe event in London the very next day, on September 15th. GoNintendo reported about it first, I believe. And I have also received the invitation since.

Also, I have made some enquiries and it seems that there will not be such an event in Japan. Consequently, I am forced to change my mind about when the launch details will be announced. I now believe that the two events by NOA and NOE will break the news, after all. I do wonder, though, when the Japanese launch details will be announced. NOA might have Miyamoto and Iwata participate via videoconference.

So watch that countdown at the top. That is when we will find out. Also, Nintendo really do have another surprise in store for us, which will be revealed at these events. Just how big that surprise will be, I do not yet know. But stick with this blog and I might be able give you some indication soon.

Finally, Makerofdust on the NSider forums alerted me to a Swiss online store that started its Wii pre-orders today. When I called them this afternoon, the consoles had already been sold. Their entire first batch was sold out within four hours. Just how many they had been allocated they wouldn´t say. But they said it was quite a number. By the way: their asking price was 399 Swiss Francs, which converts to $320 or €250. Just thought I should give you some positive news to counterbalance the rumours of production line problems.

Sources: GoNintendo, GoNintendo, Makerofdust

Oblivion for Wii not out of the question, interview fake

I have been alerted to an alleged interview with Pete Hines of Bethesda Softworks, in which he discusses the possibility of a Wii version of Oblivion. Thanks to pgtl_10 for bringing this to my attention.

The interview can be found through News4Gamers, who normally just link to articles on reliable sites. The interview in question prompted me to get in touch with Pete Hines himself.

At first, I only sent him a mail, asking if he can remember such an interview.

Not sure what interview you're referring to that I supposedly did about Oblivion at the Wii. I don't think anyone has ever asked me if we're bringing Oblivion to the Wii. In any case, I certainly haven't told anyone we plan to port it to Wii. If someone is saying otherwise, they're mistaken.

I then replied, including the link to the alleged interview. This is what he replied:

A complete and total fake. I don't know who that is and never said any of those things. I think it's wishful thinking on someone's part.

I have no idea if we'd ever do a Wii version of Oblivion or not. As far as developing for it in general, it's a console we'll look at and evaluate for any titles that might make sense.

Again, turning to the spelling mistakes in the article could have revealed it as a fake immediately. But what is interesting is that Hines did not rule out development on the Wii platform altogether. He did not even rule out Oblivion on Wii. I guess we will have to wait and see if Bethesda considers Oblivion a title that ´might make sense´ on Wii.

Thanks to: pgtl_10

Controller production woes to cause delay, Wii hype just hot air?

Now, we´re so used to reading good news about Wii, this post may come as a bit of a shock to some people. First of all, Omar Ismail, one of the founders of a product review site called ProductWiki, has published an article entitled Why the Wii won´t sell. While he makes many points that are highly opinionated and often objectionable, he has come across an interesting quote by analysts at UBS Warburg, which he published a scan of:

Strong E3 showing? Great third party support? Mr. Ismail´s argument is that it sounds just all too familiar:
The point: E3, analyst comments, and even publisher reactions this early in the console's life don't mean much. Even if there's a lot of enthusiasm for the machine at the beginning, if real-world numbers don't pan out, things can change very rapidly. We saw it happen with the N64 and the Gamecube.
Now, it´s an interesting quote Mr. Ismail dug up, because it really does mirror the current state of affairs.

But while all the lip service by the media and third parties might not go a long way to securing tangible sales figures, the production turnover will. But that, too, could be up in the air.

Chinese gaming magazine PCGames author Fanhuaqing has apparently been able to visit a factory producing both PSP and Wii consoles. And he learned that there seem to be some severe problems with the production of the Wii controllers. This, apparently, is also responsible for the lack of a definite launch date.

GoNintendo has the translation (not by a native English speaker, so please overlook the spelling mistakes):
Nintendo may not have a confirmed official launch day, due to all sorts of problems related to the controller that prevented mass production.

The factory has received Wii controller’s purchasing order and its sample, but is still stucked in testing phrase. From feedbacks of testers, currently the Wiimote and nunchuck still have a lot of small issues, such as buttons aren’t sensitive, hard to press 2 buttons together, and even no response occasionally, and the current sample is easy to get damaged, using the controller in normal situation will produce some noise, etc. Entering Sept, if the above hardware problems cannot be fixed, it will directly affect Wii’s selling strategy.

Also, the factory has not received the Wii console from Nintendo yet, currently they are testing samples using a dedicated machine only for testing, which means after an up-to-standard sample is produced, it still needs to be sented back to Japan to be tested by Nintendo for the 2nd time.

Well, we should have expected that at least some bad news concerning Wii was imminent. This community has really been blessed with nothing but good news so far. So, from a purely statistical point of view, getting some bad news shouldn´t surprise us. Also, all the positive comments in the past should allow us to put this into perspective.

But while I can easily shrug off the UBS Gamecube quote, the apparent production problems are much harder to stomach. If that turned out to be true, Wii might be delayed, Nintendo might have to downgrade their expected shipments significantly or a whole number of consoles might turn out faulty and would have to be replaced - or even a combination of the above. I am taking this report very seriously and am trying to get in touch with the author to get some direct verification on the story.

Source: ProductWiki, GoNintendo, PCGames
Thanks to: Codename Revolution

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wii to launch November 12th for $249?

Another alleged insider has come forward and given us the apparent launch date and price of the Wii console. This time, the rumourmonger comes courtesy of the good people at Infendo:
It's me, everyone's favorite 'unofficial' Nintendo Rep with some BIG Wii news that everyone has been waiting for. That's right, the release date: It will be November 12. (...)

Wii's price hasn't yet been finalized. The higher ups don't yet know whether or not to bundle the nunchaku with it. What they do know is that if it's not bundled, it will be $229 and bundled price will be $249. Also Goldeneye and Perfect Dark may be on the Virtual Console eventually. The Donkey Kong Country games, Donkey Kong 64, and Diddy Kong Racing will be on there for sure. Higher ups are still working on getting Goldeneye and Perfect Dark added into the deal.

The launch date is either a safe guess or an indicator of a real insider. I still strongly believe that Wii will launch between November 10th and 16th. That rumour was the only plausible one (and, moreover, one where I could verify the source). This is also in keeping with Iwata´s comments from my E3 interview with him: They do not want to rush the console, but assemble the perfect software line-up first.

Now, there are a few things that don´t add up, though. When visiting Ubisoft Paris in early April and seeing Red Steel, they told us that the nunchuk attachment was required. There are many other titles requiring the attachment, like Metroid Prime 3 and Zelda. That´s why I believe this one is fake, after all.

I also strongly believe that the price is too high. Though Nintendo might aim higher, I think that $199 is the maximum asking price if they want to win over a mass market. Because us gamers might have no quarms paying more than $200 for a console without any games included. But that is exactly where our parents (whose perspective we should be considering here) just shake their heads in disbelief. My recommendation to Nintendo is to sell the console for less than $200 and include Wii: Sports and Wii: Music. Any more expensive and the mass market might continue playing Minesweeper and Solitair.

Source: Infendo

Monday, August 28, 2006

Launch info before 14th, alleged Reggie speech fake

It´s time to comment on the upcoming NOA event on the 14th. As all of you know, IGN´s Matt Casamassina has published an invitation to this showcase event on his blog, promising ´a celebration of videogames´ and the opportunity to ´experience our upcoming line up with Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime´.

This event is to take place on the 14th of September in New York, starting at 8:30am. I will not disclose the location, but it is known to me. I myself will not attend, since this is an event by Nintendo of America. However, I believe we might not even have to wait this long.

At Leipzig, I have been told that the Wii launch announcement will definitely be forthcoming before the Tokyo Game Show. Not only that, I have been told that the announcement will be very soon. Also, common sense dictates that Nintendo of America will not break the long-awaited news on the console. Nintendo Co. Ltd. of Kyoto will.

I expect that NCL is already scheduling a similar event to take place in Kyoto or Tokyo, hosted by Miyamoto and Iwata. This will either take place just before the NY event or well in advance. It cannot take place at the same time, because when the NY event starts, it will already be 10:30pm in Tokyo. NCL may also want the original launch announcement to take a different form entirely. But my guess is, again, that it could be a cooperation with a television station, perhaps similar to the Xbox360's unveiling on MTV.

Now, the second (and most amusing) point of business is this one: a number of pages have surfaced via GoNintendo, allegedly a draft version of Reggie´s speech to be held at the event described above. Here are the scans:

Don´t bother to read them, though. Because this is the worst attempt at faking a speech I have ever seen in my life. While people have pointed out that the creases are exactly the same for every page and the letters appear unaffected by them, there is a much more obvious way of telling this is hopelessly fake. Whoever wrote this has sub-zero English writing skills. Allow me to pick out a few quotes:

"What I hope to do today is to give you a very different type of presentation than what you´re used to."


"One through the perspective of both the consumer and the developer."

Double ouch. It´s ´from the perspective´, mate.

"For many years our industry has been going down."

Down what? The stairs? A proper speaker would use words like ´deteriorate´.

"Just look at the picture behind me."

A pretty picture? Or a chart?

"DS is outselling PSP with big numbers."

Me Tarzan, you Jane.

"DS hardware sells every week more than all the other game consoles combined."

This should read: ´sells more every week´.

"... which is in development for more then two years now."

Now, this takes the biscuit. Only children cannot differentiate between the comparative ´than´ and the temporal ´then´. No marketing person in the world would make this mistake.

This is the worst fake I have ever, ever come across. If the faker reads this: please go back to school. Still, very entertaining.

Sources: IGN blogs, GoNintendo
Thanks to: .Shy

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Nintendo´s GC 2006 press kit

Here are most of the contents of Nintendo´s GC 2006 press kit: logos, screenshots and artwork. Enjoy.

Wii Sports and Wii Music (no logo provided)