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Friday, April 27, 2012

Nintendo 3DS and Wii U are Getting Downloadable Retail Software, and the Wii U Will Have a Very Rich Launch Line-Up

Nintendo announced today that New Super Mario Bros. 2 (for 3DS) when released in August will be available not only at retail but also for download on the Nintendo 3DS e-shop (two of my predictions are confirmed in this announcement) and that most first-party games released after August will be available to download (including Wii U launch titles). The president of Nintendo Satoru Iwata also said that the Wii U will have a very rich launch line-up.

As I predicted there was no talk of a Wii U name change or 3DS Lite. Regarding whether or not my prediction that they were going to reveal some E3 Plans was true (there is still no E3 press conference date set, by the way), it depends on your interpretation of this quote from Satoru Iwata:
I believe that you are most interested in the details of the Wii U. Since the Wii U will be launched in Japan, the U.S., Europe and Australia in the year-end sales season… Therefore, we still have some time before the launch and I cannot say anything about the release date, price or the launch titles here. Regarding the Wii U, just as we have been saying until now… We will showcase the final format, and discuss the details and the software lineup for this year at E3 2012, which will be held in Los Angeles in the United States in June this year. Also, in the week after the E3 show, we would like to organize an opportunity where we can showcase the same to the Japanese wholesalers and financial analysts who cannot attend the E3 show. The people in our appropriate sections will let you know as soon as we have settled on further details. Please also be advised that, as we did for previous platforms that were launched in the year-end sales season, we will announce the launch date and price in each market sometime after E3.
Some people think this quote means that Nintendo will not announce the price (in the US or anywhere) of the Wii U until after  E3, while other people think this quote means that Nintendo will announce the price in the US, but not for the rest of the world until after E3.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nintendo Posts $530 Million Loss (don't worry Nintendo's not going to die)

Today Nintendo posted a $530 million loss (that's $274.57 million less than the expected $804.57 million loss) for the 2011-2012 financial year. Most sites are blaming poor hardware sales (or Apple) because at the beginning of the fiscal year, Nintendo expected to sell 16 million Nintendo 3DS consoles (they sold 13.53 million Nintendo 3DS units), 13 million Wii's (they sold 9.84 million Wii units), and 11 million Nintendo DS's (they sold  5 million  Nintendo DS units).  Though the main reason why Nintendo is losing money is because the Yen is doing really good, making it so that when Nintendo converts the USD into Yen they only get so much.

Here are some articles explaining why Nintendo is not in any trouble:

Nintendo’s Closure 60 Years Away by Tynan Muddle on
In Defence of Nintendo by Tynan Muddle on
(Yes, I know both of the articles are by the same person on the same site. Aussie-gamer is one of few sites that has a fair view of Nintendo.)

Nintendo also told some of their plans for the 2012-2013 financial year:
"For the "Nintendo 3DS," its hardware has been sold below cost because of its significant price cut in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. However, Nintendo expects to cease selling it below cost by the middle of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013. As for the "Nintendo 3DS" software, a totally new side-scrolling action "Super Mario" in 2D called "New Super Mario Bros. 2" will be released this August, and the latest version of the popular franchise for this handheld device, "Animal Crossing," is scheduled to be launched this fall in Japan. The newest title in the "Brain Age" series, with which people can brush up their "working memory" (a brain function of processing or utilizing the incoming information with information kept in the brain) and "concentration power" at the same time, will be released by this summer in Japan. Moreover, Nintendo will attempt to maintain the popularity of evergreen titles such as "SUPER MARIO 3D LAND" and "Mario Kart 7," and release compelling products one after another, in order to further expand the sales of the "Nintendo 3DS." Also, Nintendo will roll out the "Nintendo 3DS" in Asia in due course.
Nintendo will release the "Wii U," the successor of the "Wii," mainly in Japan, the United States and Europe at the end of this calendar year, and propose a new play style of home entertainment with its unique controller embedding a 6.2 inch touch screen.
Nintendo continues to pursue its "Gaming Population Expansion" goal based on the idea of putting smiles on many people's faces by offering brand-new entertainment that anyone can enjoy, regardless of age, gender, or gaming experience.
Nintendo strives to spread the "Nintendo 3DS" released last year, will endeavor to spread the "Wii U" to be released at the end of this calendar year, and will keep on offering not only Nintendo-developed new games but games and services making use of the capabilities of those systems by collaborating with software publishers while positively promoting potential evergreen software titles.
Moreover, Nintendo will push forward with "Nintendo Network," which is the network service for the "Nintendo 3DS" and the "Wii U," and offer game experiences, which enable users to compete and interact with others all over the world, and provide add-on content by utilizing its network functions.
Furthermore, for the purposes of adapting to the changes in the environment surrounding the video game market and creating new business opportunities, Nintendo is envisioning the digital distribution of packaged software and is aiming at expanding the digital business.
In the challenging and competitive video game industry, which consistently requires new and innovative products, Nintendo will continue striving to expand its offerings of compelling products and services by capitalizing on being a platform holder with powerful in-house software development teams.

Some of Nintendo executives will be discussing more of the company's plans for the 2012-2013 financial year and beyond in an investor's presentation the morning of April 27 in Japan (or tomorrow afternoon PST). I'm hopeful that that's when my predictions for what Nintendo will announce will come true.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nintendo 3DS Firmware Update is Now Live

The Nintendo 3DS firmware update is now live in the USA, Australia and possibly everywhere. The most noticeable updates are that you can now create folders, the internet browser is a lot faster, and the e-shop is redone.

Nintendo's Financial Year Ends Tomorrow: Will They Announce New Wii U and 3DS Information

Tomorrow is going to be the end of the financial year for Nintendo, so they will have an investor's conference tomorrow.  They are most likely to announce million dollar losses, but they will also probably announce new Wii U and 3DS information.

Last financial quarter Nintendo announced the Nintendo Network, New Super Mario Bros. 2 (though it wasn't known as New Super Mario Bros. 2 until the Nintendo Direct webcast on April 20th) and that the Wii U controller will have a NFC chip. So it makes sense that Nintendo will announce new 3DS and Wii U information tomorrow at their investor's conference. I will present some things Nintendo could announce tomorrow.

Some E3 Plans

This is almost a given. Microsoft and Sony have already announced when their E3 press conferences will be (Microsoft: June 4 10am Pacific and Sony: June 4 6pm Pacific), and E3 is only 42 days away so why not announce their E3 press conference tomorrow.

A New Game or Two (or at least some new information about a game already announced)

Once again this is almost a given.  Last time they announced New Super Mario Bros. 2 so why not announce at least a downloadable game, and if not a new game, then at least some new information about a game already announced like Luigi's Mansion 2 or Pikmin 3.

New Nintendo Network Information

New information on downloadable retail games? Personal accounts for Wii U? Who knows.

 Wii U Name Change

Honestly I don't think Nintendo will change the Wii U's name, and who would want it to be changed (lots of people).  Not only does the Wii U symbolize a console for "We" (ordinary gamers) and "You" (hardcore gamers), it also sounds like a police car. . . Wiiiiiiiiuuuuuuuuu Wiiiiiiiiiiiuuuuuuuuu (Microsoft and Sony are on the run form Nintendo).

3DS Lite

I don't think this will happen (Nintendo wants people to focus on the Wii U), but in my opinion it's the most likely time for Nintendo to announce a 3DS Lite this year.

Come back tomorrow for the official announcements.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Nintendo Direct: 20th Anniversary Special Kirby Game For Wii and New Super Mairo Bros. 2 For 3DS

20th anniversary of Kirby

Today Nintendo announced on it Nintendo Direct webcast that for the 20th anniversary of Kirby they will be releasing a special game disc featuring some Kirby games, later this year for the Wii. Also New Super Mario Bros. 2 will be launching in August for the 3DS.  A system update for the 3DS will be available on April 25th.

Nintendo Direct Announced for Japan, Europe, Australia, and North America

Nintendo will have a Nintendo Direct webcast in Japan at 11:00 Japanese time,  Europe at 1pm CET, Australia at around 9:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, and they just announced on their facebook page that North America will have a webcast at around 8:30 PM PST.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nintendo Confirms HD Super Mario Game for the Wii U

Earlier today in an interview Shigeru Miyamoto gave to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Miyamoto implied that a new Super Mario Bros. for the Wii U would be shown at E3 in June.  Later Nintendo issued a statement confirming Miyamoto’s claims saying, “In a recent interview, Mr. Miyamoto confirmed that a new Super Mario Bros. game for the Wii U system will be shown at this year’s E3 Expo. We’ll have more to announce about our plans for the E3 Expo at a later date.”

It appears that this E3 could be one of the best E3s ever for Nintendo fans.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wii U Q&A: Ask Your Questions

The Wii U Q&A column is where you ask questions and I answer your questions to the best of my ability.  You have from now until Friday the 27th at 11:59pm to ask any question about anything to do with the Wii U, and I will post my answer on Sunday the 28th from 1pm to 2pm. Ask away in comments (sorry for taking so long to post another edition of the Wii U Q&A column.)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Rumor: The Wii U Will Have $180 of Parts and Cost No less Than $300 Retail Price

According to the Canadian website Forget The Box, "sources closely involved with manufacturing and distributing Nintendo products" revealed to them the Wii U will have $130 of parts and the controller will have $50 of parts (a grand total of $180 of parts for both the Wii U and the controller) and will cost no less than $300 retail price.

Once again most of the media is acting like this is confirmed and (since they believe it's confirmed) that Nintendo is greedy for making the retail price $120 more than what they are paying for parts. They're forgetting that there's also the manufacturing cost, the accessories included with the Wii U (power cords, charging cradle for the controller, manuals, etc.), packaging, and transportation to the store.  All that should add an extra $20-$30 to Nintendo's cost. Then the store probably gets about $50 of the profits, so in the end Nintendo only profits approximately $45 per Wii U sold.

I think this rumor is fake and that the Wii U will have a retail price of $350.  I think it will cost $280 all together (including the console and controller parts, the manufacturing cost, the accessories, packaging, transportation to the store) to make.  As a side note, to all the people who care a lot about graphics, $280 is enough for Nintendo to make a console as good at playing graphically intensive games as a $600 gaming computer is.  That's because they get all the parts inexpensively, and the Wii U has one main purpose: to play games.  If you also include that the store gets approximately $50 of the profits, Nintendo still gets approximately $20 per Wii U sold. Remember that's just my theory; it won't be until E3 in June before we can know for sure.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Google Unveils the Rumored Google Glasses, Code-Named "Project Glass"

A concept of how the glasses could look.

Today Google announced on Google+ the long rumored augmented reality project Google glasses, code-named  "Project Glass," and said that they are being developed by the Google X labs (the lab that's developing the self-driving car). The Google+ Project Glass page explains,
We think technology should work for you—to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t.
A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.
Please follow along as we share some of our ideas and stories. We’d love to hear yours, too. What would you like to see from Project Glass?

Google has not said when the glasses will come out.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rumor: Wii U Less Powerful Than Xbox 360 and PS3?

Wii U

The website GamesIndustry has revealed that "according to developers familiar with the hardware who spoke on a condition of anonymity to GamesIndustry International" the Wii U is "not up to the same level as the PS3 or the 360," and another developer said "Yeah, that's true. It doesn't produce graphics as well as the PS3 or the 360, there aren't as many shaders, it's not as capable. Sure, some things are better, mostly as a result of it being a more modern design. But overall the Wii U just can't quite keep up."  For some reason most of the media is acting like this is 100% confirmed, while this is still just a rumor, and all other rumors are pointing towards the Wii U being more powerful than the Xbox 360 and the PS3.

In order to determine if this is true or a fake, let's look at what Nintendo, AMD (they're supplying the GPU), and IBM (they're supplying the processor) have said about the power of the Wii U.

So far Nintendo has pretty much just said (in terms of power) that the Wii U will have native support of 1080p high-definition graphics, the Xbox 360 didn't have native support of 1080p until 2007. The PS3 does support native 1080p for Blu-ray and the home menu, but it's not powerful enough to support native 1080p for most games.

AMD has said that the Wii U's GPU is based on the R770 architect, which is 3 years newer than both the R520 architect the Xbox 360's GPU is based on and the GeForce 7800 architect the PS3's GPU is based on (usually the newer the tech the more powerful it is). For more information on the Wii U's GPU and how powerful it is see my earlier artilce Wii U Q&A: The Wii U to support 2560x1600 resolution?

IBM has said that the Wii U's CPU is based on "the same processor technology found in Watson" (in case you don't know Watson is the supercomputer that was on Jeopardy), the POWER7 processor, which is a lot more powerful then the Xenon (based on PowerPC architect) processor found in the Xbox 360 and the Cell processor found in the PS3.

So as you see these "sources" are most likely fake and the Wii U will be the most powerful console on the market until the PS4 and the Xbox 720 come out.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rumor: Next Xbox Will Have Two GPUs and Need Constant Internet Connection

Xbox 720 Mock up (photo actually a Xbox 360)

According to VG247, the Next Xbox (720) will have two GPUs based on AMD's Southern Islands architect (the same GPU the PlayStation Orbis is rumored to have) but “not CrossFire or SLI.” Their sources also say it will have a Blu-ray drive (I doubt it, because if they do they will have to pay money to Sony for every console sold), a processor with four to six cores, a built in next generation Kinect, and just like the PlayStation Orbis is also rumored to have, you have to be connected to the Internet--if not it won't work--as an anti-piracy measure (it could also be used to block used-games).  

VG247 also said it will be released by Christmas 2013.

If this rumor and the PlayStation Orbis rumor are true it looks like the Next Xbox and PlayStation Orbis will be only 0.5 to 2 times more powerful than the Wii U.

April Fools!!!

Don't worry The Technology Hobbit will remain The Technology Hobbit. It was just a April Fools joke. Other April Fools jokes on the web yesterday include:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Technology Hobbit is Now The Technology Barbie

The Technology Hobbit is now The Technology Barbie. The reason for the change is to appeal to a wider range of audience. Hope you enjoy.