Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Wii in every third household by 2011, analyst predicts

An analyst with Merrill Lynch has predicted that by 2011 30% of US households will own a Wii, 33% for Japan, Next Generation reports.

The prediction comes in the aftermath of extraordinary results for Nintendo’s console, outselling all competitors in North America and Japan, and riding high in Europe prior to PS3's introduction there.

Yoshiyuki Kinoshita, an analyst at Merrill Lynch, made the prediction following news that Wii had captured a 68% share of the Japanese next-gen market last month, selling over 400,000 units against 150,000 units for PS3. In the U.S, Wii outsold PS3 by 436K to 244K, although, of course, PS3 is still out-billing Wii on a dollar basis.

EDIT I have done some thinking about this prediction - and it may turn out not so great, after all. The predicted sales would be very good, but they might not be excellent, depending on the performance of the other consoles.

There is a total of 100 million households in the States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So the analyst means to say that Nintendo will sell around 30 million consoles in the US within the next five years. That would make for an average of six million consoles sold in the country each year, which equals to the success the Xbox360 has had so far.

To assess what the analyst really was thinking, it would be vital to know his opinion on the other two consoles and their respective sales estimates.

Source: Next Generation

Wii tops January hardware sales in US

Nintendo Wii is continuing to outsell its competitors. In January, the console topped hardware sales in the US by a clear margin. Here is the official NPD data, courtesy of Next Generation:

Wii: 436.000

Xbox360: 294.000

PlayStation3: 244.000

As various news outlets have pointed out, this is rather surprising given that Wii is the only console still suffering shortages in the US. In Japan, the picture is just as clear, the latest weekly sales figures (by MediaCreate and via Joystiq) showing Nintendo dominating on both fronts:

DS Lite: 201.177 55,104 (37.72%)

Wii: 78.550 12,810 (19.49%)

PSP: 32.175 959 (3.07%)

PS3: 23.431 4,704 (25.12%)

PS2: 16.033 1,507 (8.59%)

Xbox 360: 4.811 1,319 (21.52%)

The numbers could not be clearer. Nintendo has already sold around 5 million consoles worldwide and is still way ahead of the competition in monthly sales. At this rate, Wii will outsell Xbox360 by the late summer. I myself have numerous friends and relatives who are not hardcore gamers but have bought a Wii and are more than happy with the purchase.

However, Nintendo share took a surprising dip in the last two weeks, hitting €230 and then falling to under €200. The charts show Nintendo shares as traded at the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Source: Kreissparkasse Cologne

There are no hard facts to justify this development. My only guess is that after a truly meteoric rise, some investors wanted to cash in on their profits. In difference, Sony shares rose from around €30 to €40. Compare the last column of both graphs and you will see some inverse correlation.

Source: Kreissparkasse Cologne

In late October, things looked quite differently for Sony. Here, I can only imagine that ´Virtua Fighter 5´ topping the Japanese charts has generated some interest in the PS3. As far as hardware sales go, things are as bleak as ever for PS3 and PSP.

I am holding on to my Nintendo shares. I strongly believe that Sony will fail to meet its projected shipment of six million units by March. Nintendo, having committed to the same volume, are almost sure to exceed it.

Sources: Next Generation, Joystiq
Thanks to: Joystiq

Monday, February 19, 2007

New PS3 to cost as little as a Wii?

Japanese gaming magazine Game Labo is apparently reporting about a new PlayStation3 model that will come without a hard-disk and retail for ¥ 25.000 ($ 210), MaxConsole claims. No more information is given.

If true, the new PS3 would only cost as much as a Wii. Game Labo is the same magazine that was said to have learnt about Nintendo revising the Wii controller.

In my mind, there is no way Sony could be able to offer a PS3 at such a low price only by excluding the hard-disk. They would have to exclude the Blu-ray drive in order to cut costs by that margin and that move is highly unlikely, given that Sony would severely damage its own format.

Source: MaxConsole

Friday, February 16, 2007

Let NOA execs into your home

This is more of a fluffy post. But seeing that Valentine´s day has just passed, I am sure we are all in the mood for a bit of fluff. Celebrating the occassion, Nintendo of America published a Valentine´s greeting showing the Mii avatars of NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime, Senior Vice President George Harrison and Vice President Perrin Kaplan. Here they are:

It should be quite easy to replicate them on your own system. Alternatively, you may visit the GameOn forum´s Wii code exchange thread to share Wii codes with me and I will mail them to you.

Source: NOA press server

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sega developer calls PS3 tilt functionality "rubbish"

Guy Wilday, head of Sega Racing Studio, has called the PlayStation3 controller´s tilt functionality "rubbish". Wilday spoke to CVG:

"Tilt control's not difficult to do," says Guy Wilday, head of Sega Racing Studio, on the possibility of tilty-pad gameplay being included in their new version of Sega Rally for PS3. "Fundamentally, though, the whole tilt control thing is rubbish. It's no compensation for rumble."

Source: CVG
Thanks to: MaxConsole

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rumour round-up

There has been some great Wii news in the past days. Activision is bringing Guitar Hero to the Wii and Konami is developing Dance Dance Revolution for Nintendo´s newest.

Sony´s bad luck, on the other hand, continued with SCE UK sales director Kevin Jowett quitting only weeks before the European launch on March 23rd.

But there have been plenty of Wii-related rumours, too. Half of them will further boost the Wii´s third party support, if true.

1.) ´GTA5´ coming to Wii

Could ´Grand Theft Auto 5´ be heading to Wii? A SPOnG article broke the story.

SPOnG put it to a Rockstar rep the other day that we’d heard GTA 5 might be Wii-bound and they responded with what we can only describe as a stifled giggle. Read into that what you will.

2.) ´Blue Dragon´ coming to the DS

Gaming magazine EGM believes that the previous Xbox360 exclusive ´Blue Dragon´ may be heading to the Nintendo DS, Cubed3 reports. Also, star game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi is apparently working on a ´Space Channel 5´ successor. A platform has not been named.

3.) EA software engineer recommends skipping the PS3

Software Engineer Dr. Andrew Garrett with EALA, Electronic Arts´ Los Angeles 500 strong studio, has recommended not buying a PlayStation3. He wrote on Free Republic:

I make video games, currently working for Electronic Arts on the latest Command & Conquer. Last year, the prediction was that Sony would win the next-gen war, that the PS3 would be the dominant console, just like the PS2 was.

That is no longer the case. The extremely strong performance of the Wii, combined with the miserable performance of Sony has revised pretty much everyone's expectations. Right now, most of us here think the 360 will be on top for this generation, with the battle for second place between Sony and Nintendo (and that's a major shock, as we'd nearly written Nintendo off for the non-handheld market.) Most of us still think Sony will beat off Nintendo, simply due to the older graphics on the Wii, but it's not a sure thing.

My opinion - get the 360 and/or the Wii. Skip the PS3 unless there's a big change in the near future.

4.) ´Fight Night´ coming to Wii

Electronic Arts is apparently looking into bringing their boxing license ´Fight Night´ to Wii. EA Sports producer Michael Blank spoke to Doghouse Boxing.

We’re talking about it right now. We’re contemplating and we definitely feel there are some exciting things we can do with the Fight Night franchise and the Wii. When you play Wii Boxing it is a very simple experience and I think that is what they designed it to be just to let you know that you can throw punches. With Fight Night we have an amazing simulation of Boxing and so we need to take those Wii controls and tailor it to what the Fight Night consumer might want to experience. We are looking at it right now and I am sure you will something some time in the future on the Wii.

Sources: SPOnG, Cubed3, Free Republic, Doghouse Boxing
Thanks to: Information Arbitrage, Siliconera, Digg, Codename Revolution, The Tanooki

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Wii gets ´Manhunt´ sequel

The sequel to the equally acclaimed and controversial ´Manhunt´ game will be released for PlayStation2, PSP and Wii, developer Rockstar Games has revealed via the Take 2 Games investor relations website:

Manhunt 2 is the debut title from the newly formed Rockstar London studio, which is developing the game in conjunction with series creator Rockstar North. The Wii™ version is being developed by Rockstar Toronto. Manhunt 2 will be available this summer.

"With Manhunt 2 we have tried to create a game that stays close to the original concept of chilling suspense and stealth, whilst pushing the game design and storytelling forward," said Sam Houser, founder and executive producer of Rockstar Games. "We are also excited to have our newest development team, Rockstar London, working on the title alongside our two established UK studios, Rockstar North and Leeds."

This announcement should finally put to rest all fears that Wii would not have enough third party games with an ´M´ rating. As far as those titles are concerned, ´Manhunt´ will be in good company this year: ´Mortal Kombat: Armageddon´, ´The Godfather: Blackhand Edition´, ´Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles´ and ´No More Heroes´ are all rated mature (or, in the case of the latter two are likely to be rated such).

But there is another issue here, which seems much more important to me. There is a separate team working on the Wii version of ´Manhunt´, which seems to be a growing trend: this was also the case for EA´s ´Madden´. Should the trend continue, this may soon become a crucial point in the Wii´s favour. While those games must be considered straight ports on Xbox or PlayStation platforms, they are at least partly unique for the Wii.

EDIT In the meantime, Rockstar Games put up a teaser site for the title. Also, Nintendo have spoken to GamePolitics about the game.

Manhunt 2 is not developed or published by Nintendo. It is one of many titles released by third party publishers for our system that appeal to people of all ages and interests. Just as with movies, television, and books, different video games appeal to - and are appropriate for - different audiences.

Video game retailers and purchasers are strongly encouraged to follow the age-specific ESRB ratings when considering what software to sell or buy. If parents are concerned about kids having access to inappropriate Wii games, we encourage them to utilize the PIN-operated Parental Control features built into Wii.

Sources: Take 2 Games, Manhunt 2 teaser site, GamePolitics
Thanks to: Joystiq, Product_Number_18, Superuser, Nintendo Wii Fanboy, GoNintendo, Joystiq

Sunday, February 04, 2007

New Wii titles revealed?

There are various rumours concerning previously unannounced Wii titles. Firstly, the most recent issue of GamePro magazine has apparently revealed the following games, according to GoNintendo.

*100 Bullets - Fall 2007*
Alive-TBA 2007, Ubisoft
Devil Kings Series - 2007 Capcom
Digimon- 2007 , Namco
DK bongo blast-spring 2007, Nintendo
Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix- July, EA
Iron Man: The Movie, 2008, SEGA
Kirby- 2007 Nintendo
Legend of Dragon- 2007
Lost- 2007, Ubisoft
Machi Kuru Domino- 2007
Ratatouille- Fall 2007, THQ
*Mario Kart Wii- 2007, Nintendo*
*Pilot Wings -2007- Nintendo*
*Wii shooting- 2007*
*Wii motor sports airplane- 2007*
TNA impact- 2007, Midway
JAWA- 2007, spike
Wii music- October 2007
Space station Tycoon- Summer 2007- Namco
Dance Factory- March 2007
*Animal Crossing- 2007*
Raid over the River-2007
*Sadness- August- Nibris*

Some of these titles can be treated as confirmed. On his blog, Matt Casamassina wrote:
We all know DK Bongo Blast is gone from GameCube and reborn on Wii. The title is set for release on Nintendo's new system this year, along with Kirby, for that matter. Efforts like Wii Health and Wii Music will also be coming, but that's another blog post. For now, let's talk Bongo Blast.

Up until recently, people have speculated that Nintendo would make available some bongos for Wii so that peeps could best enjoy the experience. But I don't think so. Why? You've got the bongos already: the Wii remote and nunchuk.

Sorry for the late update. I have again been busy with the music video, which is going to be released next week. So expect more updates by then.

On-topic: There are some entries in that long list of games that I am sceptical about, particularly the Nibris games. I have tried to secure an interview with them for the Games Convention in Germany and they never replied. I sent them another three mails since, I believe, and still no word. Do not forget that I was mailing them as games editor for a major German television station and, as such, they turned down media coverage they are unlikely to get anywhere else.

I also think it is highly suspicious that they have not yet been able to reveal a publisher. And, to my knowledge, they have never gone on record stating that they actually have one. Also, I have yet to see proper in-game footage for any of their titles. The previously published material is either brutally short (I believe there may only have been screenshots, even for ´Raid of the River´) or not in-game. The ´Sadness´ teaser trailer showed nothing but real-life footage, which can hardly be technically viable for the entire game.

EDIT GoNintendo has updated their site by posting a screenshot from the magazine.

Sources: The_legend_of_drtre, GoNintendo, Matt Casamassina´s blog
Thanks to: MaxConsole