Posts Tagged ‘Wii U’

Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today.

News!

It’s a quiet news day, so I’ll make this brief.

One of the most annoying things about posting trailers for M-rated games (and viewing them, for that matter) are age gates. It’s so easy to circumvent them that they can’t be considered a legitimate measure to prevent under-age viewers from gaining access. This week, the ESRB has given publishers their permission to create general audience trailers for adult-oriented titles. The concept is similar to green-band movie trailers that have been a staple of the film industry for years.

Additionally, the ESRB loosened rules on cross-promoting mature titles with those that have received ratings for broader audiences. This practice dates back to at least the PlayStation 2 era, when Konami bundled a playable demo of Metal Gear Solid 2 with Zone of the EndersTraditionally, the ESRB has allowed demos for M-rated games (or those likely to receive that rating) to be included only with other mature audience products. Under the new guidelines, the ratings board has given itself the authority to allow more diverse pairings, on a case-by-case basis. Don’t worry, though. It’s unlikely that Skylanders Swap Force will include a sample of the latest Call of Duty.

CD Projekt Red has told Eurogamer that the studio’s next title, Cyberpunk 2077, will include “multiplayer features.” Before you start having SimCity nightmares, the specific nature of how you’ll play with friends (or foes) has yet to be detailed. The developer also hasn’t ruled out multiplayer for The Witcher 3.

Nintendo is finally ready to talk about their plans for the Wii U Gamepad’s near-field communication capabilities. The latest installment in the Pokémon Rumble series will be a downloadable title, with seven toys available for purchase at launch. According to the latest issue of CoroCoro magazine (translation available at Serebii.net), the figures will store battle data. I await the inevitable Skylanders X Pokémon title.

Entertainment!

The island of Yamatai is haunted, and Lara Croft is up against her most terrifying foe: floating flashlights. This happened to me today, and I thought I was losing my mind. Thankfully, an intrepid YouTuber caught it on film (and in the process confirmed my sanity… at least in this regard). All this needs is a monochrome filter and those wonderful actors from Syfy’s Ghost Hunters.

Advertisements

Welcome to “All the news that’s Futt to print” for Friday, February 15, 2013. Can’t spend your entire day on Twitter or bouncing from news outlet to news outlet? Fine, I suppose you’re entitled to your “real life” and your “job.” Here’s what you missed today.

News!

The January NPD report is out, and things are not looking good for the Wii U or the PlayStation Vita. The Wii U moved between 45,000 and 59,000 units in a month that has an extra reporting week (via Gamasutra). Translation: very bad news. The Vita did worse, with only 35,000 units sold. Translation: bad news, but next week’s (probable) PS4 reveal will be more telling about the future of the handheld. For my complete thoughts, including a comparison between the Wii U and the Sega Dreamcast, click on over here.

Bloomberg is reporting that while Zynga and EA haven’t exactly kissed and made up, they have settled the lawsuit over Zynga’s The Ville Facebook game. EA had alleged in their suit that Zynga had copied The Sims SocialThe details of the settlement have not been disclosed.

The Wii and Wii U are getting Angry Birds (TBA 2013). The Wii U is getting the Amazing Spider-Man game that received tepid reviews on other systems last year (March 5, 2013). Now, if only some of the first-party software could make its way out the door…

Pre-orders are opening up shortly for Bungie’s first non-Halo title in forever. You can get your Destiny fix everywhere fine games are pre-sold for a modest $5 deposit. If your store isn’t taking them yet, wait until after the reveal on Sunday.

Rumors!

Kotaku has a poster for Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs (one of my favorite games from E3 2012) that indicates the title is slated to arrive in 2013. The game is billed as a “truly next-gen experience.” Its appearance on the upcoming consoles due from Sony and Microsoft would surprise absolutely no one.

Human Interest!

I hesitate to label this as “entertainment” given the number of injuries, but it’s hard to deny the awe-inspiring power of the meteor that crashed in Russia overnight. I think that Street Fighter’s Guile would cower in fear of the sonic boom created by this huge hunk of rock. According to astronomer Phil Plait, this meteor had absolutely nothing to do with 2012 DA14, the asteroid that buzzed the Earth today.

The January NPD report is out, and things are not looking good for the Wii U or the PlayStation Vita. Let’s start with Nintendo. January marks the end of Nintendo’s self-professed launch window, and console owners will note that many of the anticipated titles are either not yet released or all together missing. Aliens: Colonial Marines is rumored to be on indefinite hold (especially after the thrashing it has received in the press). Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate won’t be out for another month. The same goes for LEGO City Undercover. Rayman Legends has been delayed until the fall in order to capitalize on a multiplatform release. No one knows exactly when The Wonderful 101Pikmin 3 and Game & Wario will arrive. All of this, in combination with a terrible marketing and communications effort, has led to sales estimated to be between 45,000 and 59,000 in a month with an extra reporting week (per Gamasutra). That’s a worse performance than any month for either the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3.

If Nintendo does not immediately course correct, I expect a number of things to happen. There will be a leadership change at home in Japan and, likely, here in the US. Satoru Iwata has already set an almost unattainable goal for himself and his leadership team, targeting operating revenue of 100 billion yen in the coming year (up from approximately 20 billion yen as forecast for year ending March 31, 2013). Should that happen, I expect you will see new leadership in place that will endorse growth into the mobile market. Nintendo has been as of yet unwilling to license its core franchises (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, etc.) to take advantage of the hungry iOS and Android market. As a measure of last resort, Nintendo could back out of the home console market entirely in favor of development on platforms with which it currently competes.

As a matter of comparison, I spent some time looking at the sales numbers for the Sega Dreamcast, that company’s swan song in the hardware sector. Here’s what I found out thanks to some excellent reporting by Douglass Perry at Gamasutra. In the first day, the Dreamcast sold more than 225,000 units in North America. In the first four days? 372,000 units. The first two weeks saw a total of 514,000 units sold (not shipped).

In comparison, according to the NPD Group, the Wii U sold 417,000 in November 2012. In December, that number climbed a bit to 463,000 (total: 888,000). The January total, even at its most generous, puts the Wii U at under 1 million units in the US. In comparison, Sega broke that barrier in two and a half months, which was a faster sales pace than the original PlayStation. According to Peter Moore, when the decision was made to drop out of the hardware race, the company was moving tens of thousands of units each day. Nintendo sold no more than 59,000 Wii U consoles in a five-week reporting month that comes less than three months after release. So, why did Moore pull the plug on the Dreamcast? He knew that Sega could not compete with the PlayStation 2 and the as-of-yet unannounced Xbox.

Will Nintendo walk the same path? Not necessarily. There are a number of differing aspects, and the times have changed. Nintendo can utilize mobile to supplement its revenue, and the 3DS has recovered from its own rocky start. It is important to know the numbers and study history, though. Sega backed out and saved their company. Nintendo perseveres and is currently trading at 52-week lows. The next few months are absolutely critical, especially with Sony and Microsoft poised to step into the next generation. It’s not too late, but it will be soon.

With the ongoing contraction in the industry, the lame duck period we’re about to enter into is absolutely critical for Nintendo. Their window to make a compelling case for the Wii U ends once the fall arrives. It’s time for radically different thinking about mobile and a completely new communications plan that explicitly details the value of the Wii U to consumers. Incentivizing development and a healthy co-marketing budget are going to be critical to jump start adoption.

With regard to Sony’s presentation next week, eyes won’t just be on the future of living room gaming, but the prospects for the Vita’s recovery. Sony’s latest handheld sold only 35,000 units in January (NA), with few solid software prospects on the horizon. Integration with the PlayStation 4 would go far to enhancing the value of Sony’s new home console.