Nintendo E3 conference! Finished
This afternoon at 17:00 BST (09:00 PST) Nintendo will take to the stage at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica to deliver its E3 conference, and Tom will be in the audience providing you with full Live Text commentary of the whole event. And hopefully not talking about how uncomfortable his bottom is on the thinly cushioned seat this time.
We're not sure what the contents of the address will be, but we're confident it will be as bizarre as ever. Join us as we find out live from the US.
Our live coverage has now ended. Here's what you missed: Updating...
We're here but standing in the lobby while they prepare themselves. It's like the bit before a school play.
We're standing in exactly the same place. It's busy, hot, and static. Usual Nintendo E3 slowness.
ROUND TWO. We're inside the Civic Centre auditorium in Santa Monica. The lobby was a bit like the build-up to a school play. Inside it's a bit better. A man with a metal box on his head is wandering around as everyone takes their seats. A three-part NI NTEN DO screen backs a big stage with a small podium.
Around the sides there are exciting LIFESTYLE photos of women, grandparents, kids and even the occasional man playing Wii and DS.
LIFESTYLE PHOTO STATS: 19 white, 5 Asian, 2 African America, 4 old, 2 kids. Mark from GamesIndustry.biz reckons it breaks diversity laws.
Predictions? Mario Kart Wii this year, Wii Sports 2, Christmas launch for Mario Galaxy, and Miyamoto dressed up as Princess Peach playing Wii tennis with Nicole Kidman.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the show will begin in approximately five minutes." Woo! Finish the fight!
Shouldn't be more than a minute or two now. Pretty much everyone is in. And we're not sitting on sponges slapped on concrete today, so my bottom will be fine.
Lights go down. "Sit down for goodness sake," the announcer more or less says.
Talking silly NES console probably off YouTube. I don't know - I'm not cool. Shots of South Park, Colbert Report Wii bits. Lots of media headlines of success.
It's a reel showing off how popular DS and Wii are, and how they've achieved mainstream recognition. Lots of footage from news reports and so on.
Reggie takes the stage as the trailer ends. His Mii joins him on one of the screens.
"My name is Reggie - and I am happy. Today is more than a press conference or a business meeting. We see today as a celebration." "This E3 marks a conclusive turning point," he says.
"This could be a coming out party for an entire industry when videogames take their place... as a staple of leisure entertainment."
69 per cent of growth this year from Nintendo platforms, he says. It's a whirlwind of stats, and not just for Ninty. Industry growth is up 115 per cent in Japan, apparently.
Nintendo DS doubled its sales percentage of all videogame consoles from 12 to 23 per cent. Reggie jokes that the other bit of the big green bar is down to the GBA.
Players between 18 - 24 have grown 6 full share points since 2005. 25+ have grown to account for a third of all revenues, "This is where potential lives."
For Nintendo's business in the US, over 25s have grown 9 share points. It's 23 per cent at 25+, 17 percent between 18 - 24, the rest below 18.
"The Nintendo DS may be the beacon that's lighting the way to the future of the entire games industry."
It's graph city and Reggie's the mayor. He says male/female split is 80/20. For Nintendo it's 67/33. Soure: NPD.
"The core of the market is still the core of the Wii market." 66 per cent of males 25 - 49 play though, and three quarters of women in the same group have tried it, with a third as regular users.
He admits he'd be saying it's all just a fad if he were the competition. But he points out the DS went past 40 million units sold months ago and continues to grow.
"Wii is poised to become the number one worldwide in this generation very soon." "Nintendo is not a fad, Nintendo is the future."
140 more titles this year for DS, 100 new games for Wii this year. "The development community realises the opportunity."
Trailer reel. More YouTube videos of people loving Wii. More headlines off columns, telly and the Internet.
"Now I welcome to the world, the first offspring of the Wii remote and the Nunchuk: The Wii Zapper." It's a lightgun that houses both like a machinegun.
Could do for RPS what Wiimote did for Sports, he says. The front grip has the Wiimote with trigger and the back one has the Nunchuk with analogue.
Plays up Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and Ghost Squad's importance to Zapper. We should be able to play with the Zapper at E3, he says.
EA's Medal of Honor for Wii takes specific advantage of the Zapper. Up to 32 people online.
Nintendo has its own Wii Zapper product, of course. It will be packaged with the Nintendo's software, he says. Otherwise it's USD 19.99.
The Wiimote actually lies across the top of the barrel, with a bigger trigger in the front stick that presumably compresses the Wiimote's "B" button.
He's PRing a few third-party games. Smackdown 2008 for Wii and DS, and Soul Calibur Legends. Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword on DS is shown too.
Square Enix's Dragon Quest Swords is shown. Mario & Sonic, too. "You've never put them through their paces as you will" with the Olympics game.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl next. "When? Well, not next year, not next spring - I can announce today... December 3rd."
... in North America, obviously. "The best Smash Bros. ever by far," says Reggie. No wooping yet. Where are all the fanboys this year?
Another video, with a couple of folks who run a Wii website. Apparently they like Nintendo products!
Oh God. Some woman is talking about loving Samus because she's not a damsel in distress. Stop. Oh, they do.
Oh, they're coming on stage. And it's the bloke, not the bird. They're going to demo Zelda Phantom Hourglass.
You can see him dragging the stylus to guide Zelda around the Zelda dungeons we've seen. It's 3D, but looks half Link to the Past, half Wind Waker, I guess.
Swapping between tools looks very easy, as you use a grapple to pull things around, cross gaps and solve puzzles.
Bill from Nintendo says this is his favourite DS game yet. He promises it's not hyperbole. "The hardcore are absolutely loving it."
Aha, and it's Jackie, the girl one. She's going to play Metroid Prime 3. "The best first-person control on any console. Period." Is that hyperbole, Bill?
Three sensitivity settings, which helps the game work well in intense battles, we're told. "Hyper mode" makes you devastating: do it too long and you'll be corrupted.
He says it'll be the biggest and only FPS blockbuster this year. Not in Europe, probably.
Reggie's back and turns attention to online. Says Nintendo is already serious about it, but maybe we hadn't noticed. Video! People talking about DS Wi-Fi.
5.5 million players have used Wi-Fi Connection. 230 million gameplay sessions. He jokes that they've yet to spend their first dollar to connect wirelessly.
Wii Virtual Console channel has done 5.6 million downloads. 112 on there in the US so far.
And of course there's WiiWare (Wii Software in Europe), beginning next year. "Today I can announce a new channel - one devoted specifically to Miis". Called "Check Mii out". People can vote on them, search popular ones and take home the ones you like.
Talks about the links between Pokemon DS and Wii, and Mario Strikers, which has yet to launch in the US.
Adds that EA's Madden and FIFA will both be online, which we knew.
Apart from the Zapper, this has been a bit dull so far. And that's saying something. GH3, Dragon Quest Joker... New balls, please!
"I have one more announcement that should prove our case." aha. Mario Kart Wii. Global, online, Q1 2008.
We'll race real-time on the internet. Tracks through mine carts. Online battle mode for the first time. Cows mooing around tracks. Hints at big player-numbers.
A variety of control choices offered with a custom Wii wheel to debut alongside the game. You strap the Wiimote to the back.
Graphically it looks like the Cube Double Dash, but the tracks and karts are different. Doesn't appear to be doing the two-player-on-a-cart.
Looks like it's time for another video of people saying that Nintendo products are great! "This is definitely okay," says someone's Gran.
Did you know ALPHA MOMS like Wii? You do now.
He says the products so far are aimed "squarely at the bullseye" of the games market. Iwata's coming on to show more mainstream stuff.
Looking dapper as usual. "I played my first videogames 30 years ago. In those days, there were not many gamers. From the star, I thought it would be wonderful if some day everyone could find the same enjoyment I was having."
"To do this, we would have to respond with new proposals and tangible products. So far we are seeing some positive results." Nintendogs and Brain Age flash up.
"When people start to sweat playing tennis in their own living rooms, this kind of thing attracts many who never played before."
There's a paradigm shift in his house apparently. DS Cookbook has convinced him to spend time cooking for his family, he says. Exclusive: Iwata likes onions.
He says his parents told him he was wasting his life. Everyone laughs politely. SHOW NEW STUFF, SATORU.
"Today we are seeing it is not impossible to expand the gaming population. Our next immediate challenge is this: to destroy the psychological barrier that separates veteran gamers from novice gamers."
That's not a bad idea. They said they felt Mario Kart's controls would level the playing field, too. "We must accept that games are for everyone."
Says the Wii Zapper will erase the complexity that casual gamers couldn't overcome. These games don't need to be ruled out for the expanded audience any more, he says.
That said, games should scale up so that even veteran players get what they want, he adds. Miyamoto to introduce new title in a few mins, he says.
"Not only new games forever, but new gamers forever," he says as he wanders off and another video of LIFESTYLE HUMANS liking Nintendo comes up.
This is a bit better - footage of Mario Galaxy as bloke plays it. Kids with braces going "catch the rabbit". The point is games are more communal now, I guess.
Brain Age 2 being shown off. Whoever this family is, they love them some Nintendo. "Before Brain Age, the last game I played was Pac-Man," says MOM.
Reggie's back. He says Brain Age 2 is more popular than the original in Japan. "Until you play this game, you have no idea how hard it is to purposely lose at rock, paper, scissors." Out in US on August 20th.
"In one sense, this is the first worthy successor to Mario 64," Reggie says of Galaxy, and yet it's "instantly accessible". US: November 12th.
How much more mainstream stuff can there be, Reggie asks himself. "We're just getting started." Yay, Picross DS is shown.
Shows MySims on Wii and DS. "The appeal is immediately approachable." It looks very cute.
High School Musical from Disney for Wii and DS - inspired by the films of the same name. Shows Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 - "it's even nuttier!"
Brain Age sales at 15 million units around the world. "But can this thing grow? We and other people think so." Vision training - "Flash Focus" - is already out in Japan.
Points to Ubisoft's casual games including My Word Coach. "This is one game where your Mom may end up schooling you."
"Of course, all this stems to the popularity of Wii Sports." Time for a video of people who reckon Wii games improve your health.
"The last game we're featuring today takes our big leads in audience expansion and effectively laps the competition." "Wii Fit is it."
You stand on a sort of step and have to balance your limbs holding Wiimote in a certain position. Exercises swinging legs back and forward, press-ups, the lot.
Hula Hoop twirling actions. They don't appear to be holding Wiimotes as they do this, so the step presumably doesn't need them. Ooh, head tennis.
Step aerobics dancing. Comparing Body Mass Index with the whole family. Balancing balls into holes by tilting on the step.
Yoga. People walk onto stage to demonstrate, and are joined by Shigeru Miyamoto in a loud shirt and jacket. He's talking in Japanese. "Have you all been getting your sweat on lately?"
Says he wanted to introduce this more than he wanted to show Galaxy, Metroid or Mario Kart. He says Wii needed to be relevant to everyone in the household.
"The one subject we thought we had to have to achieve this was health. As you can see, we have three fitness trainers with us today." They're going to demo.
"Sharon" does a one-legged stretch, pushing her leg out behind her and bringing her knee up in front as the game instructs.
Doing this while maintaining balance improves muscles that help with balance. John is now demoing step aerobics. Icons on screen show you which combos of feet to do.
You have to match the timing of the icons to the music. A sort of mixture of rhythm action and aerobics, then. Miis on screen help dictate rhythm.
Josephine on the right shows sideways twist. Miyamoto apologises for a few glitches in the demo and says it'll be on show floor.
"Wii Fit features four genres of activities - aerobics, muscle conditioning, yoga poses, and some balance games." Over 40 activities in the game.
He holds up the step. "We're calling it the Wii Balance Board." It can measure weight, how your balance shifts as you're standing on it. It'll be a new interface for games that accepts full-body movement as input. And it's wireless.
One more element he wants to show is measurement. He's going to do a body check... on Reggie.
"My body is ready." He steps on when the game instructs. It asks what kind of clothing - light or heavy. "Heavy clothing!" he shouts. They select light.
He's asked to release tension and stand still. It walks you through results - your centre of gravity first.
It shows that Reggie's balance is slightly to the right. "Do you maintain good daily posture?" the game asks. A graph will help track this as you improve over time.
Comparing progress to others in the family ought to be fun. The devs apparently are competing to be slim using it.
The game shows BMI, not weight. Reggie's is 27.51. "Overweight" yells the game. Laughter.
"Just remember - the muscle is heavier than fat," Reggie says. "Excuses!" Miyamoto says. Reggie glares.
Head-to-head soccer heading session between Miyamoto and Reggie. On-screen, your Mii shows your posture and the ball's position, allowing for easy heading.
Reggie is having trouble dodging the boots that occasionally fly at you. But he still wins by a margin.
That looked pretty cool. Miyamoto leaves to applause. Reggie says he began by saying he was happy. "But please understand, we're not close to being satisfied."
Pays tribute to the creativity, salesmanship and leadership at work in the industry, "And this is Nintendo's moment to lead."
"Our primary target is much wider. There are 24 hours in every day, and only a small amount of time is available for leisure entertainment. Minute by minute, we intend to steal more of that time for videogames."
"We are the ultimate interactive experience. The future should belong to all of us. And when that day comes; that videogames are accepted as the pre-eminent form of leisure entertainment by the greatest number of people over the greatest part of the world, then we might also be happy, and might also be satisfied." That's it. Lights come up. Laters!