Technologizer posts about Nintendo

Nintendo Will Finally Embrace Online Play With Nintendo Network

By  |  Posted at 8:53 am on Friday, January 27, 2012

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Nine years after Microsoft launched Xbox Live, and five years after Sony launched the Playstation Network, Nintendo announced that it’s building its own online service, called the Nintendo Network.

As Mashable reports, the Nintendo Network will offer the requisite connected console fare, including user accounts, online multiplayer, downloadable add-ons and eventually full game downloads.

Although Nintendo’s Wii and 3DS can already connect to the Internet for downloadable games, online play and a couple of streaming video apps, the company’s online services are limited compared to what Microsoft and Sony offer. Nintendo doesn’t currently sell add-ons for existing games, offer system-wide voice support or even allow players to choose an online nickname that other players can easily look up.

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Wii U App Store Rumored, But Will It Really Be an App Store?

By  |  Posted at 8:32 am on Friday, December 30, 2011

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When Nintendo’s Wii U launches next year, it’ll have a “full-blown app store,” The Daily’s Matt Hickey reports, citing an unnamed source.

Or will it? As Hickey notes, Nintendo already offers app repositories through the Wii Shop and DSi Shop. The difference with the Wii U is that it’ll offer a wider variety of apps, beyond games and basic utilities.

But breadth of apps is not the best metric for a real app store, unless your definition is simply “a place to buy apps.” The way I see it, a true app store goes further by opening its doors to any developer. Whether there’s an approval process (a la iOS) or not (a la Android) doesn’t matter. What’s important is that anyone who knows how to code can contribute, so that the app selection grows in unexpected ways. You won’t find any great app stores that don’t allow this kind of outside development.

From Hickey’s report, I can’t tell whether Nintendo will open its app store to all developers, and I have my doubts. Game consoles are notoriously closed off to all but a select group of publishers. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is the only system that comes close to allowing outside development, through Xbox Live Indie Games, and even those apps are relegated to the darkest corners of the Xbox Marketplace.

So while I don’t doubt that the Wii U will have a wider selection of apps than Nintendo’s other systems–Hickey mentions MLB.TV and social networks as possibilities–I’m skeptical that Nintendo will let any developer run wild with the Wii U’s crazy multi-screen technology. But I hope to be proven wrong.



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Place Your Bets: Will Nintendo 3DS Dual Thumbsticks Take Off?

By  |  Posted at 12:59 pm on Wednesday, December 14, 2011

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One thumbstick is rarely enough when you’re playing modern video games, so Nintendo’s 3DS is giving gamers a second stick via a $20 peripheral.

The Circle Pad Pro, which launched in Japan this month, is coming to the United States on February 7. The attachment snaps in around the base of the Nintendo 3DS, and includes an extra shoulder button as well. It requires a AAA battery to operate.

Here’s the issue: Existing games won’t work with the Circle Pad Pro, and developers will have to design future games to support dual sticks. So far, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and Resident Evil: Revelations are on the roster of supported games.

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Miyamoto Scales Back, Nintendo Spins

By  |  Posted at 1:04 pm on Thursday, December 8, 2011

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Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s legendary game designer behind Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda, said he’s stepping down from large-scale projects.

Speaking to Wired’s Chris Kohler, Miyamoto said he wants to work on smaller games and leave the major blockbusters to younger developers. He is not retiring, but sometimes says otherwise to his co-workers.

“What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself,” Miyamoto told Wired. “Probably working on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small.”

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More Shake-Ups Rumored for Nintendo 3DS

By  |  Posted at 2:20 pm on Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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Something’s brewing at Nintendo headquarters. According to Gamasutra, the company is planning a news conference in Tokyo on September 13, with only one topic of discussion: the future of the Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo’s newest handheld device had a troubled launch, with slower sales than expected. That prompted Nintendo to drop the 3DS price from $250 to $170 earlier this month. In a letter to early adopters, Nintendo said it had to cut the price to boost sales, ensuring that publishers would support the new hardware.

Now, Nintendo is rumored to be planning even bigger changes. French site 01net reports that Nintendo may redesign the 3DS with a second analog stick and a reduced emphasis on glasses-free 3D. This model would launch under a new name in 2012, the site’s unnamed sources said.

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Slim Wii Not Planned for U.S. (Phew)

By  |  Posted at 1:49 pm on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

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Nintendo plans to launch a slimmer Wii console in Europe that drops compatibility for Gamecube games and accessories, but it’s not coming to the United States — at least for now.

The Wii redesign will arrive this holiday season, bundled with Wii Sports, Wii Party, a Wii Remote Plus controller and a Nunchuk attachment. The console is designed to sit horizontally, and trims away the controller ports and memory card slots that supported Nintendo’s old Gamecube console. Nintendo will discontinue the old console design in Europe.

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The Nintendo Difference: What’s At Stake for Mario’s Kingdom

By  |  Posted at 7:28 am on Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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How bad are things for Nintendo? Well, a Bloomberg story that circulated last week reportedly had investors clamoring for the Kyoto-based gaming giant to start porting its legendary characters over to Apple’s iOS devices. Super Mario Bros on the iPhone? Metroid on the iPad? Sounds too good to be true, right?

Turns out it was. The report took a few Mario-esque giant leaps of logic; most egregiously, the one making it seem like any investors said anything resembling the idea that Nintendo should make games for the iPhone.

But still, there’s a reason that the idea of a Nintendo-Apple team up is so appealing. Frankly, Nintendo’s magic hold on gamers’ imaginations seem to be slipping. The most significant sign is the under-performance of the 3DS, which necessitated a massive price drop for the handheld. Some of the company’s most anticipated recent titles–last year’s Metroid: Other M and this year’s 3DS re-issue of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time–got mixed receptions when they finally came out. And if Nintendo can’t bank on its key franchises for guaranteed hits, where else can they go? Well, they could always go to platforms where those franchises don’t yet have presences, right? It’d be great if Apple’s expertise at user experience design could mate with Nintendo’s whimsical style of game creation in some meaningful way.

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Nintendo Outs Flame-Red 3ds, Walmart Drops Price Early

By  |  Posted at 12:55 pm on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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If you haven’t snatched up a 3DS yet (if not, we wouldn’t blame you, given the dearth of interesting games) Nintendo’s sweetening its upcoming price drop with a ‘Flame Red’ version. If red’s your thing—as opposed to “Aqua Blue” and “Cosmo Black”—Nintendo says it plans to offer the alternative color from September 9th, shortly after the handheld’s price plummets from $250 to $170 this month.

Except wait a second, isn’t that supposed to happen this Friday, August 12th? That’s what Nintendo’s said, you know, all official-like.

But according to reports (and pictures of actual sales receipts), it seems some stores are selling the system at the new price already. Like Walmart, where you can reportedly get it for $169.96. (I know, does anyone seriously choose to buy, or not to buy, based on the cheap pennies discount gimmick?)

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Donkey Kong: Thirty Strange Years!

By  |  Posted at 12:13 am on Monday, July 11, 2011

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What’s the most significant arcade game of all time? Pac-Man, probably. But you could also make the case for Donkey Kong–a game that celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this month. It was wildly popular in its day. It remains iconic. And it was the breakout hit that put both Nintendo and Mario on the map–a team-up of game company and character that’s as important today as ever.

And then there are all the weird little Donkey Kong footnotes. Such as the fact it was almost about Popeye and Bluto. And the odd spinoffs (Donkey Kong hockey?). Gaming historian Benj Edwards has rounded up a bunch of them for Donkey Kong Oddities, our tribute to video gaming’s greatest ape.



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8 Questions About Nintendo’s Wii U

By  |  Posted at 11:54 am on Tuesday, June 7, 2011

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The crowd laughed at the silly name when Nintendo announced the Wii U at its E3 press conference, but their derision quickly turned to amazement when Nintendo showed what its upcoming home gaming system can theoretically do. The trick is in a controller with a 6.2-inch touch screen that streams video from the console itself.

We’re still a long way from the Wii U’s 2012 release, and Nintendo left a lot of questions unanswered, even as it injected a much-needed dose of buzz into the E3 atmosphere. So I’m going to take a page from Harry and tackle the Wii U announcement as a series of open questions.

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Now Nintendo Admits It Was Hacked, Says No Customer Data Stolen

By  |  Posted at 7:25 am on Monday, June 6, 2011

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As this week’s E3 games conference and debut of Nintendo’s Wii successor looms, Nintendo’s admitting that Sony’s not the only victim of hacktivist ne’er-do-wells—yep, Nintendo was hacked, too.

Nintendo acknowledged a security breach in a statement yesterday, explaining that its U.S. servers came under cyber-fire a few weeks ago, but stressed that no personal user data was in breach. By comparison, Sony’s seen troves of sensitive personal data repeatedly stolen (and reportedly distributed) as hackers took turns assaulting the electronics conglomerate’s many corporate facets.

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Nintendo Takes Heat for 3DS Bricking Policy, Rights to User Content

By  |  Posted at 10:59 pm on Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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A consumer advocacy group is giving Nintendo a hard time over the Nintendo 3DS’s terms of service, which allow the company to disable modded consoles and claims a license to all user-generated content.

Defective By Design, a campaign run by the Free Software Foundation, seeks donations in exchange for sending Nintendo a brick — symbolic of Nintendo’s ability to render devices useless.

I suppose the campaign has done its job, because I wasn’t aware of Nintendo’s 3DS terms of service until I read the coverage on BoingBoing and PC World. But while several sites reported on Nintendo’s anti-modding policy back in March, not much attention’s been given to the rights Nintendo claims on users’ activities, personal information and content.

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Wii Vitality Sensor: Not Dead, Still Vapor

By  |  Posted at 12:32 pm on Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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When Nintendo announced its plans for a next-generation video game console in late April, I wondered if we could unequivocally declare that the Wii Vitality Sensor was vaporware. The answer, according to Nintendo Chief Executive Satoru Iwata, is no.

In a question-and-answer on Nintendo’s website (via Eurogamer), Iwata explains that the Wii Vitality Sensor is very much a work in progress. The problem, he said, is that only 80 percent of test users felt that the sensor naturally detected their biological information. Nintendo doesn’t want to release a product until 99 percent of users feel comfortable. Iwata said “it is difficult to overcome this hurdle,” and wouldn’t commit to a launch date.

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New Nintendo Console Confirmed

By  |  Posted at 1:35 pm on Monday, April 25, 2011

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The rumors were spot on. Nintendo confirmed in its latest earnings report that it’ll launch a new home video game system in 2012, and will show it off at this year’s E3 trade show.

As for details, there are none. But according to Bloomberg, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata suggested that the new console won’t simply be a more powerful piece of hardware than the Wii. “We would like to propose a new approach to home video game consoles,” he said. Iwata added that it’s “difficult to make 3-D images a key feature, because 3-D televisions haven’t obtained wide acceptance yet.” Cryptic.

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Wii 2 May Debut At E3

By  |  Posted at 3:56 pm on Thursday, April 14, 2011

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Well, this might explain this week’s rumored Wii price cut: Both Game Informer and IGN cite unnamed sources who say Nintendo will reveal a Wii successor at this year’s E3 trade show in June.

Neither story provides much detail. IGN’s Jim Reilly writes that the new Nintendo console is “significantly more powerful” than Sony’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and will be backwards-compatible with the Wii. Game Informer’s Matthew Kato says he’s heard conflicting reports on whether the console will match its rivals on performance, and can’t confirm backwards compatibility.

Both journalists agree that the console will support high definition gaming, and that Nintendo is showing off the console to publishers in preparation for a 2012 launch, although IGN also says there will be a “pre-announcement” this month.

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