Nintendo versus other gaming companies like Zynga
The gaming world seems to change faster than most industries these days. Several years ago Nintendo was on fire with the Wii, and now everyone seems down on the company and Wii U. How did things change so fast? Well, it shouldn’t be surprising in a world where cheap apps are flooded onto the scene, offering new options daily for gaming fans, and online gaming options seem to expand exponentially as well, with everything from slot games at Sports Interaction, massive multiplayer games and then games like Minecraft that seem to turn conventional wisdom on its head. The console makers seemed to rule the world just several years ago, and then social gaming companies like Zynga suddenly became powerhouses, but now we’ve seen how quickly things change. Wii also will be facing the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in coming months, so even in its own console space the competition is fierce.
But many still have faith in Nintendo. Oddworld Inhabitants founder Lorne Lanning recently made the bold statement that Nintendo would be around for another 100 years, while Zynga would not. Casual observers might be startled a bit by this statement, but when you look more closely at the history, the man has an excellent point. Nintendo is a 124-year-old company that was founded in 1889 as a producer of playing cards. The concept of innovation has been ingrained in this company and its financials are very healthy. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata has made it clear he won’t be laying off development staff to deal with short term problems, as that would destroy the company long term. He understands that the key to long term success involves consistently producing great products. He shouldn’t let the short term analysts distort his thinking.
While this culture is ingrained at Nintendo, a young company like Zynga has less to fall back on in tough times. Their games exploded in popularity off of Facebook, but then reality set in when the landscape was changed a bit. Now who knows how they will react to adversity? I wouldn’t make a long-term bet on them.
So when you look at the landscape out there, it’s clear that games will come and go, and so will gaming companies. But I think a company like Nintendo with a tradition of innovation should be able to ride out the highs and lows.
Platform adventure and so much more from Wii U
The launch of Wii U in 2012 brought with it a fantastic selection of titles for gamers to get the most out of the home console. And next year, it looks like there will be plenty more to look forward to. From platform games to health and fitness packages, it seems the Wii U has all gaming bases covered.
Mario returns for platform adventure
For many, the release of a new console comes with the hope there will be re-imagined versions of console classics. Nintendo certainly didn’t let people down, bringing the latest of its Mario games out on the launch day. In New Super Mario Bros. U, you can expect an all new 2D side-scrolling adventure, but with some great new twists in gameplay. As well as allowing up to five people to join in with additional Wii Remote controllers, the innovative Wii U GamePad allows you to get more control by placing Boost Blocks and much more.
Family gaming across Nintendo Land
Wii U is a home console that works brilliantly for solo play, but it’s even better when bringing everyone together. A great example of this is Nintendo Land, a fabulous title that takes you through 12 different attractions – all based on the worlds of famous Nintendo franchises. With each game, players will be challenged to take on a series of levels and modes that will test your skills in all kinds of ways. You can visit places like Luigi’s Ghost Mansion, take part in Mario Chase or take on the bad guys in Metroid Blast, to name just a few of the attractions featured.
More action and adventure to come in 2013
If you were lucky enough to get a Wii U at Christmas, you may be wondering what is coming up in the New Year. Well if its platform fun you’re after then Rayman Legends could be just the ticket. Maybe you’re after high-octane action from one of the latest shooting games? If so, Aliens: Colonial Marines should probably be on your shopping list. There are also releases like Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge and Pikmin 3 to look forward to, as well as Wii U Fit – which could be just the thing to help you out with a few of those New Year’s resolutions you’ll be trying to keep up with!
All in all, if you decided the Wii U console was for you following its November release – there is plenty coming down the line to enjoy in the coming months.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 improves on a great franchise
The Tiger Woods franchise has always been a good one, and it’s one of few sports franchises for which the Wii outperforms its competition. PGA Tour 11 takes the good from previous versions of the game and improves upon pretty much the entire experience.
One of the best parts of the new game is the True Aim system, which IGN details below:
The first and biggest addition is known as True-Aim. I, for one, have wanted to get closer to the real thing without having to adventure into the super-difficult Tour Pro setting. True-Aim, coupled with the focus mechanic that I’ll talk about in the next paragraph, helps to up the difficulty without making it frustrating. True-Aim removes the accuracy circle when zooming into your shot and forces you to aim your ball entirely from an over-the-shoulder camera. You have the same viewpoint as you would in real golf. That means there’s no more camera tracking as your ball flies through the air. Instead, you’re left to judge from the crowd and commentators’ reactions how well you fared. It’s much more realistic.
If there was one thing Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 did right, it’s making the realistic aspects of the game more accessible, without requiring you to enter the crushingly difficult modes of the game.
Madden 2011 will be deeper than ever before
For a while there it looked like the Madden franchise might be dying. Each new version of the game felt stagnant with few new features to make anyone but the dearly devoted come back for more. In the past two years, though, EA has managed to revive the series, giving new life through better features and more in depth gameplay. Madden NFL 11 is set to follow that trend and will likely become the deepest sports experience in a game to date.
Though the game won’t launch until August, you can keep up on the latest developments at IGN. Here’s what they’re saying about the game.
Madden NFL 11 redefines the way you experience the game of football. It’s simpler: From 350 plays down to 1, the all-new GameFlow system puts you in the helmet of an NFL quarterback to execute an authentic, situational game plan, one play at a time. It’s quicker: 60 minute game times reduced to as little as 30 minutes; spend more time on the field and less in the playbook. full games, half the time. It’s deeper: Madden NFL 11 is feature-rich including all-new 3-on-3 Online Team Play, improved animations, more intuitive controls, and Madden NFL Ultimate Team … all to the play-by-play of the most exciting voice in sports, Gus Johnson.
Yeah, I’d say it’s gonna be pretty damn good.
I agree with Fils-Aime on HD streaming
Everyone seems to be up in arms about Reggie Fils-Aime’s comments regarding the lack of HD streaming for the Nintendo Wii. His comments seem pretty rational to me, at least in the short term.
Here’s what he said: “the vast majority of content for streaming on Netflix is not HD content, so there really is no loss for the Wii consumer with the fact they can’t get any HD content through our system.” True. There is a dearth of HD content that can be streamed from Netflix, so pushing through a Wii HD just for that capability is ridiculous.
The real problem is that there will be more HD content on Netflix, and it will be ever-increasing, so the further along we get, the more demand there will be. That could quickly translate to less demand for the Wii, especially when the other consoles release motion-control systems. Then what’s to keep people with the Wii? The Vitality Sensor? I think not.
NBA Jam heating up on the Wii
There have been rumors floating around for a week or so that EA purchased the rights to one of my favorite childhood games, NBA Jam. Today that rumor was confirmed via press release from EA. The game will be launched on the Wii later this year, compliments of EA Canada.
Unfortunately there isn’t much news beyond that. The refresh will include some new game modes, new characters, and a new level of depth according to the press release. Personally, I never felt NBA Jam warranted much depth. You get in, play for 5-10 minutes, and boomshakalaka! What more could you want from an arcade basketball game?
For those of you that like to keep up on your developer lore, one of the original series developers, Mark Turmell, currently has a position with EA in Orlando, so it’s not completely absurd to assume that he might help out on the project.
Posted in: Development, EA, Nintendo Wii
Tags: EA, ea nba jam, he's heating up, nba jam, nba jam revival, nba jam te, nba jam wii, retro games, retro gaming
Target starts $99 ripoff servce
In an effort to completely ripoff unsuspecting and technologically challenged individuals, Target will be starting a console setup service. It only costs $99!
Part of the cost is that the service is actually performed by a third party, Zip Installation, but it’s still an absurd purchase. For just $99 they will come and actually plug the console into the TV for you, with proper color matching and all. They’ll also configure the console (it comes “configured” out of the box), enable parental controls for you, set up and optimize your wireless router, register your online accounts, and set up your PC for media streaming.
Never you mind that those things have clear walkthroughs included with every console, and that you might be increasing the cost of your console by up to 50%.
Nyko Wand+ lets you ditch the Wii MotionPlus dongle
Last year at CES, Nyko introduced the Wand, a Wiimote replacement with a feature called Trans-Port that allows the use of extra accessories with sound and vibration support. It’s a little gimmicky, but it also came out cheaper than a Wiimote if I remember correctly.
This year Nyko added to the line with the Wand+, a model of the Wand that adds, you guessed it, a Wii MotionPlus. Now, it’s not really a Wii MotionPlus since that would involve some patent infringement and whatnot, but it does support full 1:1 motion control, so you can use it with any WMP-enabled game. The unit looks to be about the same size as the original Wiimote, sans the MotionPlus dongle, so you save a little cupboard space along with the cash. Yes, the Wand+ is cheaper than a Wiimote/WMP bundle at just $40.
Capcom’s Seux frustrated with Wii titles
Capcom’s Antoine Seux, director general for the France region, is a little miffed at the Nintendo Wii. He’s staring down some terrible sales figures for what are typically high-margin games, games from the Resident Evil series, for instance. He’s particularly pissed that the Wii user base is so different, claiming that it has “radically changed” into this strange beast that’s no longer lured by core games.
It’s a ridiculous stance to take. The Wii was like a beacon of hope for the industry, the console that proved there is life (and LOTS of money) outside the core audience. Apparently that’s not what Seux wants. “The customer of [the Wii] has turned into something [of a] much broader audience. It is a disappointment,” he said to Gamekult, a french gaming site. Anyone else find it hard to take this guy seriously. A broader audience is…bad? More people buying your games is…bad?
Well it’s bad when that last part isn’t true, and Capcom hasn’t figured out how to make a game the Wii audience would like. So it’s going to neglect the platform. As Seux has it, Capcom’s future lies with the Xbox 360 and the PS3. I don’t know if he’s heard about those motion sensors the other two are getting that will broaden their customer base, but when he does, I’m sure he’ll be pissed.
Rhythm games begin their inevitable decline
The world’s love affair with plastic instruments was bound to end some time and it looks as though that time is now. According to the latest NPD data, rhythm games are struggling, showing weak sales despite new genre releases like DJ Hero and The Beatles: Rock Band.
As always, things are relative. The games may not be doing as well as they were, but Michael Pachter still thinks the niche will level out somewhere around $500 million in sales a year. That’s a pretty little penny, even for a company like Activision. Developers need to pick their ventures wisely, though. DJ Hero tanked. Hard. In a shrinking market that’s the last thing you want, especially after paying for the likes of Jay-Z and Eminem. Even The Beatles: Rock Band undersold expectations by 200,000 units.
Posted in: Activision, Nintendo Wii, PS3, Xbox 360
Tags: dj hero, game sales, guitar hero, guitar hero 3, guitar hero 5, rhythm game decline, rhythm game slump, rhythm games, rock band, the beatles: rock band