Nintendo reveals plans for Wii U, 3DS online communities & downloadable content with Nintendo Network
On Friday Nintendo president Satoru Iwata presented his company’s lackluster third quarter financial results but also managed to lift spirits by dropping some interesting hints about the Wii’s successor, the Wii U. Over the years Microsoft and Sony have been generating a community of online video game players with Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, respectively, while Nintendo really dropped the ball and failed to ever capitalize on online gaming. This is about to change with the introduction of “Nintendo Network,” a network platform which will cover both Wii U and 3DS gamers. The Nintendo Network will allow for “competitions and communication among users, as well as the sales of digital content.” The company is also toying with “the future possibility of digital distribution of packaged software.” Wii U users will be able to setup personal accounts under the Nintendo Network, so that multiple household members will be able to login and use the console under their own usernames. Over time the 3DS will be the first hardware to see the upgrades that the Nintendo Network promises to offer; it is likely that the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection brand will fade away but this has not been confirmed yet. Mario Kart 7 is the first 3DS title to take advantage of the Nintendo Network, generating “Community” matches between online players. The upcoming title Theatrythm Final Fantasy will be the first to sell downloadable add-on content.
Additionally, Iwata revealed that the Wii U’s tablet-like controller will pack NFC (Near Field Communication) functionality. “By installing this functionality, it will become possible to create cards and figurines that can electronically read and write data via noncontact NFC and to expand the new play format in the video game world,” says Iwata. “Adoption of this functionality will enable various other possibilities such as using it as a means of making micropayments.” Intriguing, to say the least.
Nintendo plans to showcase the final Wii U hardware at this year’s E3 in June. It is also expected that they will expand upon the aforementioned Nintendo Network service. The new home console will release “between the E3 show and the end of this calendar year.” Holiday 2012 wouldn’t be a surprise. And as for the launch of Nintendo Network? “This concept was built into the design of the Nintendo 3DS, and we already have the necessary infrastructure,” reveals Iwata. “We will prepare the same infrastructure for the Wii U. However, we have not decided the concrete timing of when we will start it.”
With each update, Nintendo’s 3DS handheld system gets better. The latest enhancement for the 3D-capable portable gaming machine is an update to the eShop. As of January 19, the virtual store is offering up free downloadable game demos, giving 3DS owners a way to test out games before buying them. A free demo version of Resident Evil Revelations is begging to be tried out today. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games will be the next game given the demo treatment later this month on January 26. Ninty promises that the eShop “will be periodically updated with new game demos,” so be vigilant gamers. Look out for demos of Rayman Origins and Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D coming soon. PR sits after the break.
The new year is just underway, and Nintendo wants to make sure the world knows how well they’re doing and how confident they are heading into 2012. In a gleeful press release, Ninty broke news that they sold more than 12 million total hardware units in the US in 2011. It breaks down like this: 4.5 million units of Wii, more than 4 million Nintendo 3DS systems, and over 3.4 million units of the Nintendo DS family of systems were sold last year. Some calculations later, the current install base for Wii is 39 million and for Nintendo DS it’s over 51 million. The house that built Mario blames their recent successes on a strong software lineup. 3DS games Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 have been crowned the fastest-selling titles in the history of their respective franchises when they launched. Additionally, Nintendo notes that they are now also the first 3DS games to sell 1 million units each in the US. Zelda also made an impact on the Wii; The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword became the 45th Wii game to sell over 1 million units in the States. And 2012 is already looking to be a solid year for Nintendo with highly anticipated games on the horizon; first-party titles from franchises such as Mario Party, Pokémon, and Kid Icarus as well as third party titles like Resident Evil Revelations (Capcom) and Metal Gear Solid 3D Snake Eater (Konami) are coming soon. And of course, don’t forget that their next home console the Wii U is expected to launch later this year. Get the full debrief directly from Nintendo after the break.
If you’ve got a 3DS and entered yourself into the Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors club in August, there are ten additional free games waiting for you in the eShop today! They are Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare Inc. Mega Microgames, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Wario Land 4, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, and F-Zero: Maximum Velocity. This batch of free Virtual Console games from the Game Boy Advance vault follows the first wave of free NES games that were offered in early September. Access the eShop to download the games; for step-by-step instructions click here. Ninty hopes this serves as a peace offering between the company and early adopters of the 3DS that were tied down and forced to witness a significant hardware price drop over the summer.
In a game-centric press release (in full after the break), Nintendo managed to squeeze in a single paragraph officially announcing a new accessory for the 3DS. The Circle Pad Pro, which launched on December 10 in Japan, serves as a cradle enclosure for the handheld device and adds a second analog stick to the right side and three shoulder buttons (L2, R1 and R2). Though it certainly makes your 3DS thicker and heftier, sources claim that the optional accessory adds a whopping 480 hours of battery life working off one AAA battery. In order for games to “see” the cradle and utilize the second analog stick and additional shoulder buttons developers will have to code their software appropriately. Nintendo says that upcoming releases Resident Evil Revelations and METAL GEAR SOLID 3D Snake Eater will in fact be compatible with the Circle Pad Pro. Want one? It will be sold exclusively through Gamestop starting February 7 and will sell for $19.99.
Today Nintendo boosted its 3DS handheld with some fresh functionality. Nintendo said this feature was coming and now it’s finally here: after downloading the free software update, 3DS owners can now have fun with 3D video recording. You can record up to 10 minutes of glasses-free 3D video in continuous or stop-motion style. Another cool new feature is system transfer; if you’ve got a 3DS you can transfer photos, audio recordings and games, including save data, to other 3DS systems. Street Pass Mii Plaza and the Nintendo eShop have been updated as well. Buying and downloading content in the shop has been made easier; you can use your credit card to purchase content by adding only the needed funds, you can choose to Download Now or Download Later, and now there’s the ability to cue up downloadable content and let it install to your system in Sleep Mode. The update also includes something special for Mario Kart 7 players; any time you play online against another Nintendo 3DS owner in MK7, you can now automatically add them to your Friend List without a friend code. And last there’s Nintendo Zone. If you find yourself standing in one of Ninty’s 29,000 3DS hotspot locations you’ll be offered free and automatic access to game previews, 3D videos, trivia challenges, retailer promotions, coupons and more. Dig into the 3DS’ system settings to perform the software update right now.
Nothing says Happy Thanksgiving like a golden hued Nintendo 3DS. But this isn’t just a special coat of paint. What you see above is a special 25th anniversary limited-edition Cosmo Black 3DS marked with the Hyrule emblem and gold-colored embellishments! So if you’re a Zelda fan and still haven’t jumped to buy Ninty’s latest handheld, this is it. The Zelda-themed 3DS comes bundled with the Ocarina of Time 3D game and costs $199.99. It hits store shelves tomorrow, November 23, Turkey day. Also coming out of the gate tomorrow and at the same price point is a Flame Red 3DS bundled with the recently released Super Mario 3D Land game.
In related news, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is out now for the Wii. At long last.
‘The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword’ releases November 20, limited-edition gold controller bundle in tow
What may be considered the final great game for Nintendo’s Wii console finally has a release date. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword drops November 20, 2011. As detailed at Ninty’s E3 press event, Skyward Sword will ship standalone at the regular $49.99 price point and a limited-edition gold controller bundle will be offered at a reasonable $69.99. If you have your sights locked on the shiny, golden Wii Remote Plus bear in mind that it will not be sold separately from the bundle. To further celebrate Zelda’s 25th anniversary, Nintendo is also bundling in a music CD featuring select orchestral arrangements of iconic music spanning the history of the franchise which will be performed at The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony Concert. For more information regarding the concert–which is coming to Los Angeles and London in October–click here. The CD will be included in every game box (whether sold by itself or as a part of the bundle) during the initial retail run. Eye the packaging above, and read the PR after the break.
On September 9 a new Flame Red version of the Nintendo 3DS will join the Cosmo Black and Aqua Blue paint jobs on retail shelves. Remember, the significant 3DS price drop goes into effect tomorrow August 12, so all three color variants will be sold for a reasonable $169.99. (Don’t forget: If you’re an early adopter and already own a 3DS, connect to the Nintendo eShop before midnight tonight to become eligible for a boatload of free Virtual Console games!)
In a press release (pasted after the break) Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime pumps up anticipation for the holiday sales season. “Nintendo 3DS is poised to be on fire for the holidays, with its new suggested retail price, great games and our new Flame Red color,” said Fils-Aime. “With major upcoming releases in the Star Fox, Pokémon and Mario series, in addition to downloadable offerings from Nintendo eShop, Nintendo Video and Netflix, the system offers new and fun experiences to owners on a daily basis.”
3DS sales have been waning since the initial launch surge in March due to lack of must-get titles. Nintendo is aware of this, and that’s why they’re gearing up for an exciting games lineup starting in September. Star Fox 64 3D releases alongside the Flame Red 3DS in September, Super Mario 3D Land (featuring the famed Tanooki Suit) drops in November, and Mario Kart 7 races to the 3D handheld this December.
Since the Nintendo 3DS released in the US on March 27, more than 830,000 units have been sold nationwide. Apparently this number isn’t high enough for the house that built Mario, and so Ninty has plans to drop the 3D-capable handheld from a pricey $249.99 to a much more affordable $169.99 on August 12. To show their appreciation with those early adopters who paid more for the 3DS prior to the price cut, the company will inaugurate 3DS owners into the Nintendo 3DS Ambassador program. If you own a 3DS and connect to the Nintendo eShop at least once before 11:59PM ET on August 11, you’ll automatically be registered into the program. Once you’re in, you’ll soon receive the opportunity to scoop up 20 Virtual Consoles for free! Nintendo explains:
Starting Sept. 1, Nintendo 3DS Ambassadors will be able to download 10 NES Virtual Console games at no charge and before they are available in the Nintendo eShop to the general public. These games, including Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda, are slated to become paid downloadable games, but Ambassadors get them early for free. Once the paid versions of the games are posted to the Nintendo eShop later in the year, the updated versions will be available to Ambassadors for download at no cost.
By the end of 2011, Nintendo will provide Ambassadors with 10 Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games. These include games like Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong. These games will be available exclusively to Ambassadors, and Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on the Nintendo 3DS in the future.
You see that? Sometimes it is worth being an early adopter! In related 3DS news, the new Nintendo Video Service app is now available to download in the eShop. The app automatically delivers short 3D videos from the worlds of music, comedy, animation and Hollywood. Ninty promises exclusive 3D animation and videos from OK Go, Jason DeRulo, Foster the People, CollegeHumor, and Blue Man Group to start. Expect new content to be delivered to your device on a regular basis. To start, the app offers an intro video, two short films (Sunday Jog and Dinosaur Office), and a Captain America movie trailer–all in 3D.
Update: Nintendo confirmed to IGN that the Virtual Console games will not be upgraded to 3D; bummer. However, when the games become available to the general public later in the year some will be upgraded to feature multiplayer simultaneous play at no cost to the consumer; super!
Netflix is officially available on Nintendo latest handheld device, the 3DS. As long as you are signed up with streaming plan (starting at $7.99/month) you can stream content from Netflix directly to the 3D-capable handheld. I know what you’re pondering: does any of the Netflix content take advantage of the 3D capability? At the moment, no. But the press release (pasted after the break) is promising. It hints, “Users will soon have access to an additional library of select movies that can be viewed in 3D without the need for special glasses.” Unfortunately I do not think this future update involves Netflix, however. Back in March Ninty mentioned that a short-form video service was on the way; it is described as a 3D video channel that will act as a gateway to 3D produced content like movie trailers, music videos, and comedy shorts. Perhaps that is what the PR is referring to. But for now, if you’ve got a 3DS go ahead and enjoy Netflix content in classic 2D. The app is now available to download for free in the Nintendo eShop.
It’s Nintendo’s turn to show off their latest and greatest in software and hardware. Hint hint. Onward and downward (and Skyward) we go…
- The presser kicked off in brilliant fashion with a large orchestra playing classic tunes from the Zelda franchise. To celebrate 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, Ninty is making a Zelda game for each of their systems. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (1993) is coming to the Nintendo 3DS today as a download in the now accessibleeShop. It’s the first Game Boy Color title to be added to the eShop’s Virtual Console. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, the remastered N64 classic, ships for the 3DS next weekend; hint movies and Master Quest and Boss Challenge modes included. The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords comes to the DS as a free download in DSiWare in September. And lastly Skyward Sword has been confirmed to ship this holiday season for the Wii. A limited edition gold Wiimote with the Triforce emblem on it will ship alongside the game, MotionPlus tech built-in. Nintendo will hold The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony concerts this year in “each region of the world.” If you can’t attend one, the company is releasing two Zelda music CDs. Those who register Ocarina of Time 3D with Club Nintendo will get “The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D Official Soundtrack” and a CD with recordings from the 25th anniversary concert will ship when Skyward Sword does later this year.
- Nintendo is ready to immensely expand upon the 3DS games lineup by bringing classic Nintendo characters and franchises to the portable system and they are: Mario Kart (with kart hang gliders and underwater race tracks…out this holiday season); Star Fox 64 3D (you can make use of the handheld’s accelerometer and control Fox in the sky by physically turning and moving the system…in multiplayer mode the camera facing you will capture your face and tag it to your spaceship so friends can watch your reactions in real time…out in September); Super Mario (raccoon suit is back!, out “before year is over”); Kid Icarus: Uprising (features 3-on-3 multiplayer combat and augmented reality functionality using the AR Cards to pit (get it?) characters against one another…out later this year); Luigi’s Mansion 2 (it’s not a remaster of the Gamecube classic, it’s a totally new game that includes “several new mansions”); other 3DS titles coming soon: Ace Combat 3D, Tetris, Cave Story 3D; Resident Evil: Mercenaries and Revelations, Driver: Renegade, Pac-Man, Galaga Dimensions, Tekken 3D, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D.
- President of Nintendo of America ReggieFils-Aime then went on to talk up the recent 3DS software update that brought the eShop and Internet browser to the handheld. Ninty promises that more Game Boy and Game Boy Color classics are on the way. Free Excitebike 3D for everyone for a limited time. Pokedex 3D is available exclusively through the eShop and also comes free. For more on the update, click here!
- Quite arguably the biggest and most exciting news to come out of E3 thus far was Nintendo’s unveil of the Wii successor. It’s called Wii U and it releases next year. “It’s a system for everyone, but it’s tailor made for you.” Instead of focusing on the system itself, though, Nintendo decided to spill most of the details surrounding the brand new controller design. The controller packs a 6.2-inch display and allows gameplay to take place away from the TV. Nintendo set up this example: Say you’re playing a Wii U game in the living room on the big screen TV and someone walks in and watch to watch live TV. You can easily pause your game and transfer the full experience to your controller and continue right from where you left off on the 6.2-inch screen. The bond between you and the TV has been cut. Wii U games get wirelessly beamed to the controller; one’s precise proximity to the console to make this work was not specified. Besides this awesome function, the controller provides endless possibilities for developers. “In single-player games: The new controller can display information on its screen that does not appear on the TV; The information and viewpoint can also change in the new controller based on the orientation of its gyroscope. In multiplayer games: The player using the new controller can have a different experience than those looking at the TV; This will offer a wide variety of competitive and cooperative opportunities.” Oh, the controller can do even more. The front-facing camera can be used to initiate video calls, you can flick content (i.e. pictures and videos) from the controller to your TV screen, and you can run a web browser on it. Make sure you check out this introduction video to get a sense for how it’ll work.
- Next let’s talk hardware specifics. In addition to the 6.2-inch touchscreen display, the controller also has an inward-facing camera, an accelerometer and a gyroscope, a rumble feature, microphone and speakers, a stylus, and the following buttons: two analog Circle Pads, a D-Pad, A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R buttons and ZL/ZR buttons. The Wii U console can be paired to one Wii U controller and four additional Wii Remote or Wii Remote Plus controllers. The system is also backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories. Though Nintendo’s keeping mum on console specifications, it’s confirmed that full HD 1080p support is there. It will support connections to the TV via HDMI, component, S-video and composite cables. Four USB 2.0 ports and an SD card slot complement the internal flash memory. IBM will provide processor that beats inside. Aesthetically, the console looks like the Wii but with rounder edges. It was show in white. Also, Nintendo has hinted that the Wii U will boast better online capabilities.
- Dig this games lineup: From in-house — Super Smash Bros. is coming to Wii U and 3DS! From third party people — Darksiders 2, Batman: Arkham City, Tekken, Assassin’s Creed, Lego City Stories (coming to 3DS too), Ghost Recon Online, DiRT, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Metro: Last Light, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razer’s Edge…and EA’s bringing Battlefield, Army of Two, and many others to Wii U. Hardcore games are making their way to a Nintendo-made console, at long last. The company’s goal is to provide deeper gameplay and wider appeal with the Wii U, and with the upgraded graphics, better online capabilities, and the unique controller scheme I have full confidence Nintendo will strike a balanced chord with hardcore and casual gamers alike.
Once again Nintendo has beat Microsoft and Sony at the E3 press conference wars. Nostalgia is a powerful weapon and Nintendo knows just how to use it to their advantage. The 3DS is about to get a major boost in popularity with Mario, Luigi, Star Fox, and Pit coming to the handheld this year. Zelda’s star is shines brighter than ever 25 years later. And with the introduction of the Wii U gamers get to anticipate an entirely new and innovative way to interact with their video games. Nintendo made clear that the Wii U’s controller was “not designed to be a portable game machine” even though it’s in the shape of one. Surely more details will surface in the coming months. For now, peep the gallery below for a closer look at the super intriguing controller and the Wii U console.
The Nintendo DS Lite just got a tad cheaper. Effective June 5 the DSi predecessor will drop about $30 and sell for a low $99.99. Ninty boasts that “more than 48.9 million systems in the Nintendo DS family have sold in the United States alone.” The new price point will only force that number to increase in time. And if you think that’s impressive, check this: according to Nintendo “thirty-one Mario games have topped sales of more than 1 million units since 1995, more than any other franchise. Through the end of March 2011, more than 262 million games in the core Super Mario series have sold worldwide.” To celebrate Mario’s popularity, the company has hand-picked six Mario-themed DS games to receive new red packaging and they are New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart DS, Super Mario 64 DS, Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! and Mario Party DS. Unfortunately there is no discount being applied to these games; the new coat of paint is simply there to “make it easier than ever for consumers to identify these hit titles in stores.” Full PR after the break.
After almost five years on the market, Nintendo has finally decided to drop the price of the Wii from $199.99 to $149.99, effective May 15. In addition, the Wii Sports + Wii Sports Resort bundle will no longer be available. The lower priced Wii, still available in black and white, will come packaged with Mario Kart Wii and matching colored Wiimote (with built-in Wii Remote Plus functionality), nunchuck, and Wii Wheel accessories. The new black Wii Wheel will also be made available for purchase separately for $9.99.
On that same May day, Ninty will launch the new Nintendo Selects collection of Wii games. The companies most popular Wii games such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Animal Crossing: City Folk, Mario Super Sluggers, and Wii Sports will sell for a low $19.99.
Gamers, listen here! Today the house that built Mario formally announced the Wii successor. Sure details are sparse, but at least we’ve got confirmation that something new and exciting is on the way, and it’s coming sooner than you might think. In a press statement out of Japan, Nintendo refers to their next-gen console as the “Wii’s Successor System” and they say a “playable model” will be shown off at E3 in early June, followed by a launch in 2012.
What can gamers expect from the next-gen Wii? The only official word to come out of Nintendo (besides the aforementioned press release which is sitting after the break) is provided by company president Satoru Iwata: “We would like to propose a new approach to home video game consoles. It’s difficult to make 3-D images a key feature, because 3-D televisions haven’t obtained wide acceptance yet.” They’ve managed to bring glasses-free 3D to their portable 3DS, but the technology to make the magic work on larger scale just isn’t there yet. So what then might Iwata be referring to when he hints at a “new approach” to video games?
Late last week Kotaku reported that, according to undisclosed sources, the next-gen Wii will utilize an entirely new breed of controller. In addition to housing eight buttons and two analog sticks, the new controller is rumored to also boast a 6.2 inch screen and a camera. They say: “The 6.2-inch screen will receive data wirelessly from the Nintendo console and presents an array of options, from putting the player’s inventory or map on the controller screen, to allowing players to combine it with the controller’s camera to snap photos that could be imported into a game or even turning it into some sort of glorified viewfinder (we’re unclear about whether the camera on the controller points at the player or can be outward-facing; we’ve heard both — maybe it swivels?).” Then they propose: “You could think of the new Nintendo console as turning your living room into a glorified mega-DS…. your TV is the upper-screen; your controller is the lower touchscreen.”
Other Wii 2 rumors to chew on… The new controller will not replace existing Wii-motes, as the system is said to be backwards compatible with all current Wii games. The often labeled Wii HD will be capable of running games at HD resolutions (up to 1080p) and it will be more powerful than current-gen systems (read: Xbox 360, PS3). And finally, the next-gen Wii is internally referred to by its codename “Project Cafe,” so go around saying that to your friends if you want to act all cool like you know everything. Though these rumors are certainly intriguing, let’s all anticipate the E3 reveal where Ninty will formally lay out the specifications, controller scheme(s), and perhaps a launch lineup.
This week at Game Developer Conference 2011 in San Fransisco Nintendo held a brief press conference detailing their latest handheld sensation the Nintendo 3DS. Though it’s already been sold in Japan and the U.S. release is right around the corner (March 27) the company is already detailing the system’s first major software upgrade. First up, Netflix is coming to the 3DS this summer. Users will be able to access their Netflix movies and TV shows on the device and have the option to pause said content and resume it on the big screen via the Wii’s Netflix portal.
In addition, the 3DS will gain a new 3D video channel that will act as a gateway to 3D produced content like movie trailers, music videos, and comedy shorts. The channel will be automatically updated with new 3D content over a wireless connection. Ninty also hinted that 3DS owners will eventually be able to record their own videos in 3D using the devices dual rear-facing cameras.
The house that built Mario went on to further detail the Nintendo eShop, a place where 3DS users can browse and download all kinds of content including DSiWare games, Game Boy and Game Boy Color classics remastered in 3D, and a Virtual Console which will include titles from Sega’s Game Gear and TurboGrafx-16. All of this plus a web browser is expected to make its way to the 3DS via a software update in late May.
Speaking of Mario, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata teased a Super Mario 3DS title by showing a logo for the game; a small grey raccoon tail juts out of “o” in Mario likely hinting at what’s to come (perhaps a long overdue sequel to Super Mario Bros. 3?).
And finally, Nintendo announced a partnership with AT&T that will give 3DS owners free access to 10,000 WiFi hotspots. SpotPass, a 3DS software feature that automatically receives new game content and system updates even while the device in sleep mode or charging, will take advantage of the WiFi access points to do its thing.
The Nintendo 3DS releases March 27 for $249.99. Preorder yours today.
Today Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime took the stage in New York City to discuss the Nintendo 3DS launch details we’ve been waiting for. The 3D-enabled DS handheld will release on March 27 in the US for $249.99. It will come in two color variants: Cosmo Black and Aqua Blue. Ninty promises that over 30 3DS games will be available during the launch window (that is, between the March 27 and the E3 Expo in early June). These include a mix of first and third party games. Though Nintendo did not specify a solid list of launch titles, the press release mentions the following games: Pilotwings Resort, which has players soaring acrobatically over iconic Wuhu Island; nintendogs + cats, a new version of the Nintendo DS classic with a feline enhancement; and Steel Diver, a side-scrolling submarine adventure that gives the illusion that the player is peering into an aquarium. The ones you really want to play like the 3D versions of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Star Fox 64, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, Paper Mario, plus the return of fan favorite Kid Icarus in Kid Icarus: Uprising are simply “in the works” with no release dates attached just yet. Some third party games mentioned at the event include Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition (Capcom), Madden NFL Football (EA), and LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars (LucasArts), but again no release dates were specified.
So that pretty much does it for launch details. However, in addition to announcing price, release date, and games support, Fils-Aime took time to talk about the 3DS’ hardware and expand upon the some of the pre-installed software. Like its DS predessors, the 3DS packs two screens; the bottom one’s touch-sensitive and the top one’s 3D-enabled (no pesky glasses required). A 3D Depth Slider can be used to manipulate the 3D effect during gameplay; the slider can turn off the 3D effect entirely and all 3DS games can be played in traditional 2D. In addition to the D-Pad, a new Circle Pad provides a full 360 degrees of direction and allows for a higher level of precision during gameplay. The 3DS also packs built-in motion and gyro sensors, so it can react to the motion and tilt of the system. You’ll also find three camera built into this thing; one on the inside (facing you during gameplay) and two on the outside. Combined the latter two can capture 3D pictures and you can view them on the top 3D display. Other hardware notables: the 3DS comes bundled with an adjustable stylus (for use on the bottom touch-sensitive display), a 2GB SD memory card, and a charging cradle.
The Home Menu is where all your apps live. Mii Maker is just what it sounds like and works similarly to how Miis are created on the Wii. The difference here is that the Mii Maker will ask you to take a photo of yourself and the software will try its best to convert your real-life features into a Mii avatar. If the conversion doesn’t sit well with you, manual customization options are available to fiddle with to make things right. You also have the ability to import your Mii avatar from your Wii console by way of SD card transfer. The augmented reality-based game Face Raiders lets you take pictures of your friends and turn them into shooting targets. It’s a simple game that highlights the built-in gyro sensor since it requires you to physically lean and turn to search around for the targets and aim high and low to hit them. AR Games works similarly, but they take advantage of the pack of AR cards that come bundled with the system. All you have to do is place one of the AR cards onto a flat surface, point the outward facing 3DS camera at it, and targets come to life. Animations are superimposed into the scene; so for example if you place a card on your kitchen table the backdrop for the targets will be the kitchen table (that’s augmented reality gaming in a nutshell). The Activity Log tracks both your gameplay activity, much like the Wii Calender does automatically. It notes which games you’ve played and how long you’ve played them, as well as your physical activity, counting every step you take while carrying your Nintendo 3DS. Even when the system’s in sleep mode, it acts as a pedometer and tracks the distances you travel; the more you walk the more Play Coins you will earn. These coins can then be used to purchase in-game bonus content, if the game’s developer decides to support it. The Nintendo eShop offers access to downloadable games. In addition to DSiWare games, Virtual Console games pulled from the Game Boy and Game Boy Color catalogs will be available to download. Game videos, screenshots, demos, and ratings will also be browsable here. Titles can be purchased with either a credit card or prepaid cards. Other software notables: StreetPass Mii Plaza (more on this below), Internet Browser, Camera app (capture and view 3D pictures), Video app (watch 3D content), Sound app (listen to music in MP3 or AAC format from the SD card, plus record and play with sounds using the 3DS’ built-in mic); oh, and the 3DS is backwards compatible with all Nintendo DS games.
Fils-Aime mentioned that the 3DS is Nintendo’s most connected video games console ever made, and he’s not lying. First let’s get this awesome update out of the way: friend codes are no longer specific to each game you buy, there is only one code and it’s attached to your 3DS. Once you swap friend codes with someone, they will remain on your friend list and you can always check their online status no matter what game you’ve got running. Now to some fun new features: StreetPass and SpotPass. StreetPass is capable of exchanging game information with other Nintendo 3DS systems as owners pass one another. An example of StreetPass functionality is the aptly titled StreetPass Mii Plaza. Much like its Wii counterpart, the 3DS’ Mii Plaza will congregate your Mii avatar with all the other 3DS owners you happen to pass by, say, on the street (and your avatar will jump onto the 3DS of the person you pass). In addition to sharing your avatar, other information can be exchanged over StreetPass including maps for games, high scores, and custom character data for different games. This might be obvious but it’s worth pointing out–if you don’t want any information to exchange on the fly (because all this can happen while the 3DS is in sleep mode tucked away in your pocket) you can disable the StreetPass function. Next up is SpotPass and this essentially connects to 3DS up to public or private at-home WiFi hotspots. Once connected, the system can receive new content and updates even when it’s in sleep mode or charging.
Peer in the gallery below to get a closer look at the 3DS hardware, and look after the break to watch the 3DS virtual tour and catch a sneak peek at the software launch lineup. Also, don’t forget to check out my hands-on preview of the 3DS from E3.
You might know him as the six-time Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest champion, but Takeru Kobayashi caught a new kind of attention this month when he agreed to eat as many bananas as he can in one minute to celebrate the release of Donkey Kong Country Returns for Wii. The pre-release (marketing) stunt took place in Toronto and you can watch Kobayashi do his thing in the banana eating challenge video embedded above. It’s on like Donkey Kong! Oh wait–can I say that?
Black Friday is right around the corner, and Nintendo know how to celebrate. Starting November 26 you can pick up the Nintendo DSi in two brand new colors, orange and green! The new colorful DSis will come bundled with a copy of Mario Party DS. $149.99 is the price. These new systems join the limited-edition red Nintendo DSi XL bundle and red Wii bundle in honoring the 25th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros. game on the NES. Mario Party? Really? Well, at least the new colors pop. Look after the break to see the packaging for Mr. Green.
College student plays way too much Mario 64. He goes for a stroll outside and the world around him begins to transform. Go.
My only complaint? It ends far too quickly.