News from the video game industry for the week of December 7
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN look at some of the bigger news from the game industry over the past week. In this week's look back in Weekly Game Replay, we cover Nintendo's stock and production changes with Amiibo, the delay of The Witcher 3, confirmation of character progress in Destiny carrying over to the next game, Final Fantasy XV's demo being exclusive to Final Fantasy Type-O HD, Paradox halting development of Runemaster, and the return of the maligned Stalker sequel to crowdfunding.
News from the video game industry for the week of November 30
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN offer up some of the news direct from the video game world in one article. During this week's Weekly Game Replay, we look at a slew of news from the PlayStation Experience and Game Awards in Las Vegas, the leak of the next Assassin's Creed game, Australian stores pulling Grand Theft Auto 5, a new studio from 2K Games, and gameplay footage from the upcoming Legend of Zelda Wii U game.
Philips to end all lawsuits under terms of the cross-license patent agreement
Those considering picking up a Nintendo console in the near future no longer have cause for concern, as the Japan-based hardware and software developer ended its patent dispute with Philips on December 2. The two companies were locked into an infringement battle over motion technologies used inside of Nintendo's consoles, dating back to 2011, which could conceivably have resulted in a sales ban.
News from the video game industry for the week of November 23
Every Sunday, Electronista and MacNN sum up some of the news from the gaming industry over the past week in one article. In this week's edition of Weekly Game Replay, we take a look at the strong sales of Super Smash Brothers, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby for Nintendo consoles, Ubisoft's free downloadable content (DLC) and games for botched Assassin's Creed Unity launch, This War of Mine statistics, new Star Citizen funding goals for pets, and upcoming PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Games with Gold releases.
Update to 2003 filing focuses on adaption, doesn't mean official emulation coming
Last week, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) posted a recent patent update from Nintendo. Patent application 20140349751, filed in June 2014, looks to improve upon Nintendo patent 8157654, adding processor-level adaptation for emulators of handheld consoles like the Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advanced. While some fans may take it as a sign that Nintendo is official moving into the smartphone and tablet space, it's more likely done for legal purposes.
Subscription nets recipient 10 Amiibo figures over three deliveries during the holidays
Nintendo and geek-centric mystery subscription service Loot Crate announced they are teaming up to offer a special type of crate in the near future. In a statement from Nintendo, the company divulged that a series of packages are being put together for the upcoming Amiibo figurines that work with games like Super Smash Bros. and the upcoming New 3DS handheld.
Nintendo 2DS, 3DS get another 3D remake from Legend of Zelda's Nintendo 64 days
During the recent Nintendo Direct it was revealed that the company is updating another Legend of Zelda game for its 3D handhelds. The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - which was originally released on the Nintendo 64 in 2000 - is coming to the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS in spring 2015. Majora's Mask 3D follows 2011's remake of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D - another game that was originally for the Nintendo 64.
Planned Nintendo device monitors sleep patterns remotely
Nintendo is jumping on the fitness-related device bandwagon, with the creation of a sleep tracker. The game console producer is working with ResMed, a company which already produces products for the treatment of sleep disorders, to create a device to remotely monitor the user while they sleep, rather than a wearable device.
Handheld game sells 3.32 million units, propels company to $85 million profit
Nintendo posted surprising figures for it second quarter results for 2014, seeing an $85 million (¥9.25 billion) operating profit. The news comes on mixed analyst projections, with Thomson Reuters Starmine expecting a $33 million (¥3.7 billion) loss and Quick expecting a net profit of $63 million (¥62.4 billion). Nintendo posted a net profit of $222 million (¥24.2 billion) for the period ending September 30.
NFC figures, forth entry in the fighter series coming to the Wii U before the holidays
On the back of worldwide sales of 2.8 million units for Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo unveiled the release date for the game on its home console. Super Smash Bros. is coming to the Wii U in North America on November 21, with Europe and Australia sales starting the following week. In addition to Super Smash Bros., Nintendo is offering a bonus release with the first wave of Aiimbo figures on November, along with Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker in December.
Spotify opens Canadian streaming service to everyone
Spotify has opened up its service in Canada to all users, following a brief invitational period. The streaming music service boasts over 20 million songs served on 320kbps streams, with chief content officer Ken Parks claiming the collection has been "tailor made for Canadian music fans." Users have the same ad-supported free and paid service options as other regions, with Spotify Premium priced at $10 per month.
New bundle comes with two games, limited to Wal-Mart, Microsoft Store
Consumers looking for a replacement Microsoft Xbox 360 will have another option coming on October 7, just in time for the holiday shopping season. The new version of the almost nine-year-old console is bathed in blue, adding arctic blue accent pieces on both console and controller. Priced at $250, the Xbox 360 Special Edition Blue Bundle comes with a 500GB hard disk in the console, a month of Xbox Live Gold, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Updated handheld Nintendo consoles shipping to US, Europe next year
Nintendo is updating its existing 3DS handheld game console, by producing two new versions. Called the New Nintendo 3DS and the New Nintendo 3DS LL, the dual-screen gaming systems offer few in the way of major changes to the existing formula, though both notably add a second analog "C-stick" on the right-hand side, next to Super Nintendo-colored buttons.
Next iteration of the Call of Duty franchise skipping the Wii U, last two games on console
Call of Duty fans hoping to play the newest title in the series on the Wii U this year appear to be out of luck. Michael Condrey, co-founder of Sledgehammer Games, said on Thursday that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare wouldn't be coming to the Nintendo console. He added that it "was an Activision decision," with the studio focusing on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Strong software sales couldn't halt Nintendo's continued poor performance
After a less-than-optimal performance at the end of the 2014 fiscal year, Nintendo is looking at a rough start to the beginning of its new fiscal year. The game console manufacturer reported that it posted an operating income loss of more than $92 million (9.47 billion yen) during its first quarter of the 2015 fiscal year. Weak console sales and fixed expenses are largely to blame for the loss.
Court rules Nintendo infringed on two of three patents in lawsuit from 2012
Nintendo lost its first court battle against Philips Electronics last week over its use of technology in Wii Remotes and associated consoles. The England and Wales High Court ruled that Nintendo infringed upon two of three patents from Phillips that are based on motion, pointing and gesture controlling. The third patent considered for a potential violation, which is for modeling a body in a virtual environment, was found to be invalid.
Big Three 2014 E3 presentations complete, who 'won' the showdown?
This week's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) may have been devoid of any significant hardware announcements, but that doesn't mean there was nothing to talk about. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo all had either live or "canned" press events in the two days leading up to the start of the expo proper, and as with all things, we've got opinions. Electronista writers Mike and Jordan discuss the big-ticket issues that have popped up from the brief look at the future of the "Big Three" console makers.
Amiibo NFC figurines usable in Nintendo games for new characters, other effects
Nintendo is continuing to focus on its well-known stable of franchises during its E3 event. Opting for a pre-produced YouTube stream instead of a Sony or Microsoft-style live event, the brisk 45-minute show revealed the game producer is still looking for ways for the Wii U to stay relevant to gamers, with the only major hardware announcement of the event involving NFC-equipped figurines.
European operations consolidated in Frankfurt, redundancy causes layoffs
After three consecutive years of losses, Nintendo is being forced into the position of closing down one of its offices. The gaming company will close down its office in Großostheim, Germany to consolidate its European operations to Frankfurt. In the process, Nintendo will eliminate 130 permanent positions in the company as the two offices consolidate.
USB box allows use of fan favorite Wavebird controllers in upcoming Smash Bros. game
On top of the news that Nintendo would be holding a Super Smash Bros. Invitational at E3 this year, the company has unveiled a new option for controllers on the Wii U. A new USB converter box has been introduced for the console, allowing gamers to play the upcoming Smash Bros. title with a Gamecube controller. Information about the box was dropped in an announcement video containing details on the tournament and later on Twitter.
Decision backtracks on company's previous stance over copyright videos
Console maker Nintendo has changed its mind on the lock down of revenue on "Let's Play" videos on YouTube. Nintendo will be launching an "affiliate program" that will give a share of the ad revenue from videos to the person(s) creating the content. The move comes after content had been flagged and removed from YouTube when Nintendo filed copyright claims on videos that included footage of their games in 2013.
Project adds public test server for multiplayer use after Gamespy shutdown
With Nintendo shutting down Wi-Fi functionality for the aging Wii and DS consoles, customers still hoping for multiplayer action in their older titles have been left to their own devices. However, a community project has created a workaround, launching a Wi-Fi connection server to help stave off the results of the Gamespy shutdown.
Motion control patent lawsuit seeks compensation Wii console sales ban
Nintendo is being attacked by electronics manufacturer Philips over claims of patent infringement. The game company is accused of using aspects of Philips' motion control IP over its entire range of Wii devices, including the Wii console, Wii Remotes, the Wii U console and gamepad, and the Wii Mini, with Philips also seeking a sales ban in the United States.
Gaming company's first app available on select phones, limited to single carrier
Nintendo has announced that it is releasing a 3DS tethering application for Android tomorrow in Japan. The app surfaces as one of the first expansions by the gaming company after posting lower than expected numbers in its most recent financial report. While the free app isn't one that many users wanted to see, it gives credence to the idea that Nintendo is trying to look to other avenues to help rebuild its brand.
Wii U and 3DS sales fail to meet adjusted forecast from January
Nintendo released its 2013 year-end report today, to disappointing results. The company announced that it posted a $457 million loss on the back of slumping sales of the Wii U and 3DS hardware units. The loss comes even after the company had already revised its sales forecast downward in January to anticipate more realistic sales figures.
Popular Game Boy Advance titles now available on Wii U's eShop
Nintendo has released its first group of Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games on the Wii U online store. Available for $8 per title, current releases include strategy-based game Advance Wars, RPG Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and side-scrolling shooter Metroid Fusion. More titles are due to roll out throughout April, such as Kirby & The Amazing Adventure, WarioWare, Super Mario Bros. 3 and others.
Yoshi themed limited edition 3DS XL launches March 14 for $199
Nintendo has announced that it will release a limited-edition, bright green, Yoshi-themed 3DS XL handheld on March 14. The release of the handheld coincides with the launch of the newest Yoshi game from Nintendo, Yoshi's New Island. While the console will have a price tag of $199, Nintendo has stated that it will not come pre-loaded with the new Yoshi game, nor will it come with a physical copy.
Nintendo prepares to shutter Wii, DS multiplayer services on May 20th
Nintendo has revealed it will be shutting down its online multiplayer servers for the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii on May 20th. The global closure will stop multiplayer games from working online through the Wi-Fi Connection service, but it will still allow other online aspects, such as the Wii Shop and video-on-demand services, to continue working. Online play for games made for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U will remain unaffected by the closure.
Rumors suggested threat of lawsuit might be responsible
The creator of Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen, didn't pull the app because of threats from Nintendo, a spokesman for the latter suggests. Although very different in terms of gameplay, many people have commented that the pipes in Flappy Bird look similar or identical to those from Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. series. In a new email, spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa repeats the position that Nintendo has never made any complaints.
Gaming company to reevaluate business strategies
Nintendo is off to a rough start in 2014, after news in January of a less-than-optimal quarterly performance for the company that saw the forecast number of units of the Wii U cut as revenues were down across the board. It didn't help that the company that it opened itself up to a small controversy over the use of smartphones to market upcoming products -- a plan it first denied, then admitted to. However, the recent decline has caused Nintendo to look toward a different future as it looks to opening up new business strategies.
Today's reversal reverses yesterday's anti-app sentiment
Reversing a previous denial of a smartphone initiative, Nintendo earlier today confirmed that it is going to use smart devices as a future platform for applications and promotions, but there are no plans to port core titles to Android or the iOS. According to Nintendo president Satoru Iwata, Nintendo will use any developed apps to communicate with customers, and deliver marketing information, but it will stop short of offering full games from Nintendo's catalog of gaming intellectual property.
Console maker struggling for marketshare
Contrary to reports out of Japan, Nintendo will not be producing mini-games for smartphones, according to an official statement. "Nikkei's article contains information previously stated by [CEO] Mr. Iwata during past press conferences, including statements which relate to Nintendo's willingness to make use of smart devices to promote our products. However during such past announcements Mr. Iwata has also stated that Nintendo's intention is not to make Nintendo software available on smart devices and as such, we can confirm that there are no plans to offer mini-games on smartphone devices," it reads.
Future Gears of War titles to be developed by Microsoft's Black Tusk
Epic Games has revealed that the sci-fi first person shooter Gears of War has been acquired by Microsoft studios. The deal gives Microsoft the rights to all the existing titles, as well as future games and other assets -- including merchandising associated with the property. Microsoft studio Black Tusk, helmed by ex-Epic Games director Rod Fergusson, will assume development of the franchise, with an anticipated announcement about the franchise future later this year. No terms of the deal have been made public.
Reduces Wii U sales estimates by two thirds, also cuts 3DS forecast
Nintendo is feeling less confident over the sales of its Wii U game console, and has warned it has reduced sales estimates for its impending quarterly financial report. Initial estimates of 9 million sales of the console in the 2013-2014 financial year have dropped down to less than a third of a figure, with the new full-year total expected to be just 2.8 million.
Foreign consoles to go on sale in China for first tie in 14 years
China is allowing the sale of foreign game consoles in the country for the first time in over a decade. The country's government temporarily lifted the ban on Monday, opening the door to sales of recent game consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox One, the Sony PlayStation 4, and the Nintendo Wii U to its citizens, though it is not clear how long sales will be permitted for.
BlackBerry Z30 spotted at FCC using AT&T frequencies
BlackBerry could be bringing the Z30 smartphone to AT&T in the future, according to an FCC filing. The listing spotted by Berry Review appears to show the device, with a 5-inch 1280x720 Super AMOLED display, dual-core 1.7GHz processor, and 2GB of RAM, as sporting radios on AT&T bands, strongly suggesting that the more-powerful flagship device could launch in the US as an alternative to Verizon.
YouTube joins Netflix, Hulu Plus on handheld Nintendo game console
The Nintendo 3DS is now able to play videos from YouTube. A new app download available from the 3DS eShop for North America and Europe lets users view shows on the handheld Nintendo game console, though despite the capability of the 3DS to show glasses-free 3D imagery on one of its screens, the app will not support 3D videos from the service.
Twitter account of Nintendo engineer hints at possible tablet
Nintendo could be working on its own Android tablet, according to a report. The game console producer is said to be in the process of making a tablet specifically for educational games, something which will be a marked departure from Nintendo's existing hand-held devices, such as the Nintendo 2DS, Nintendo 3DS, and the gamepad used on the Wii U console.
Bundle includes console, Wii Remote Plus, Nunchuk, Mario Kart Wii
Nintendo is bringing the Wii Mini to the United States, a year after it first went on sale in Canada, and after a European release. Effectively a stripped-down version of the Wii, the Wii Mini will be going on sale later this month for $100, making it the second re-modelled console the company is launching in the US, after the Nintendo 2DS.
Latest results show Nintendo eking out profit
Nintendo's struggling Wii U console continues to drag on the game maker's earnings, according to the company's newest financial figures. For the six-month period ending September 30, Nintendo generated $2.011 billion in revenue, a year-over-year drop of 2.2 percent. The company did manage to eke out a small profit, though, posting just $6.14 million in profit for the six months.
North America to continue Nintendo Wii sales over holiday season
North America is the last major market to still receive shipments of the Nintendo Wii, after an announcement concerning European availability. Shipments of the game console to retailers in Europe have now ceased, following a similar announcement covering Japan earlier this week, but shipments of the motion-sensitive console to the United States will not be affected in any way.
Google Chromecast app available internationally, hints at possible global release
Google could be launching its Chromecast dongle internationally in the near future. Apps for the device are now available to download in other countries, according to Android Central, with a number of users noting that it can be gained from Google Play in the UK, Germany, India, Canada, and Panama. Though Amazon has started to ship the media streaming dongle internationally, Google has yet to do the same.
Loses 3D display, removes hinge, drops price to $130
Nintendo has put its newest model of Nintendo DS on sale in the United States, Europe, and Australia. The Nintendo 2DS, seen as the budget-friendly and simplified version of the Nintendo 3DS handheld game console, eliminates the 3D top screen functionality and removes the hinge, instead being packaged as a dual-screened slate.
Sony's next console takes top spot on gamer wish lists
Sony could have a winner on its hands, according to a new poll from Reuters/Ipsos showing that the PlayStation 4 has a considerable lead when it comes to gamers' intended purchases. The new poll results come ahead of the launch of both consoles in time for the holiday season, and its results would indicate a bright future for Sony's next-generation offering. Just over one-in-four respondents said that they were likely to purchase a PS4 when it becomes available later this year.
3D screen removed, other cost-cutting measures taken for lower price
In addition to reports of a Wii U price cut, Nintendo has revealed a new Nintendo DS. Dubbed the Nintendo 2DS, the new unit subtracts the 3D capability of its predecessor, eschews the clamshell form factor, and is aimed at a lower price point in an effort to attract more buyers this holiday season.
Wii U discount ahead of Xbox One launch
Nintendo is reportedly preparing to cut the price of its Wii U Deluxe console package down to $300 from its current price of $350. The discount will be available beginning September 20, giving the company several months to bolster sales ahead of increasing competition in November as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are expected to arrive on the market. It remains unclear if basic bundle, which already costs $300, will receive a similar discount.
Nintendo will try to drum up interest with in-store demos
Struggling to drum up consumer interest in its faltering Wii U console, Japanese game maker Nintendo will show off forthcoming games in Best Buy stores while this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo is going on. Nintendo revealed the partnership between the game company and the electronics retailer last week, tipping some of the games that will be shown off in Best Buy stores.
Wii Shop still running, move designed to push consumers to Wii U
Despite the console still being available, Nintendo has announced it will shut down the larger part of the Wii's online abilities on June 28. Channels being discontinued are the Nintendo Channel, the News Channel, the Forecast Channel, the Everybody Votes Channel, and the Mii Contest Channel. Also being lost are data exchange, and in-game messaging on most games.
New device aimed for July release at less than $100
Retro game supporter Hyperkin has announced its latest version of the the multi-cartridge Retron system -- the Retron 5. The RetroN 5 will have five cartridge slots allowing users to play original NES, SNES, Genesis, Famicom, Game Boy Advance, Super Famicom, Mega Drive, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy cartridges. The chipset used in the new device eliminates region locks and increases compatibility, as well as plays both PAL and NTSC cartridges.
New console approaches Wii sales pre-holiday, slips in 2013
Sales projections released by Nintendo cast significant doubt on the Japanese company's Wii U console reaching the heights of demand that the Wii console reached. Nintendo sold 3.06 million Wii U consoles worldwide since November through the end of 2012, but expects momentum to falter. The company has cut sales expectations from 5.5 million units through the end of March to four million.