Mr.Spo Comments

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  • Nintendo's very bizarre Tomodachi Life video

  • Mr.Spo 10/04/2014

    I am going to buy so many copies of this game. Reply +8
  • Super Smash Bros. 3DS due this summer, Wii U winter 2014

  • Mr.Spo 09/04/2014

    @dogmanstaruk Agreed entirely. I only bought a few months ago so I've been able to catch up on some great games, but once I've played EarthBound and got Mario Kart 8, what is there until Christmas?

    Bayonetta 2, X (the most exciting Wii U releases), Hyrule Warriors, Yarn Yoshi are all down for 2014, but I wouldn't be surprised to see X slip into 2015 and Yoshi and Hyrule Warriors aren't guaranteed buys. I hope they really do have plenty of software to announce at E3. The fact they haven't put all hands on deck to finish the Wii U version ahead of the 3DS version concerns me, because it really feels like Nintendo have hardly put up a fight with Wii U.
    Reply 0
  • Gorgeous Mario Kart 8 retro tracks compared to originals

  • Mr.Spo 03/04/2014

    @nickthegun The tracks are wide now because there are more racers, 12 as opposed to 8. Reply 0
  • Wii U Virtual Console gets first GBA game next week

  • Mr.Spo 26/03/2014

    The price is all the more frustrating because the line up is excellent. Advance Wars, Golden Sun and Superstar Saga are some of my favourite games. I'm not someone who believes that all Virtual Console games should be 99p, but charging over 6 for 10 to 13 year old portable games is excessive.

    Protect your back catalogue and the perceived quality of your games, sure, but don't price them so steeply.
    Reply +6
  • Mr.Spo 25/03/2014

    @Daryoon I don't think the GBA Ambassador games were buggy. As for lacking proper integration into the OS, that's true, but that was also the case for the NES Ambassador games. It's not because the system struggled to run the GBA games, it's because they weren't full Virtual Console releases in the fashion planned. For example, the Ambassador NES games have been updated with the appropriated OS features, while the GBA games (which haven't been released for general purchase through the eShop) haven't been updated.

    You are correct though. It's not necessarily always straightforward to emulate games from one system onto another because of architectural differences and the way games consoles are composed. As I've argued, right now, Nintendo's plans around Virtual Console and future hardware tie more into Wii U's OS and architecture than the 3DS, so that system seems to be getting priority with regards to future cross-platform features.
    Reply +1
  • Mr.Spo 25/03/2014

    @Darren Technically they do carry over...

    Virtual Console games you purchased on Wii can be transferred onto Wii U along with all your Wii save data, but are only accessible in Wii emulation mode. If your Virtual Console games from the Wii are on the Wii U eShop, you have an option to pay a small fee to upgrade and download the Wii U emulation of that title.

    As I said above, it's because Nintendo have been short-sighted with their implementation of Virtual Console. They've used different architectural and emulation configurations across their different systems, which makes cross-platform compatibility far less straightforward than it should be. They obviously understand this is a problem, but it seems to be that Wii and 3DS will miss out, with Wii U's Virtual Console being the basis for the future cross-platform service.
    Reply +4
  • Mr.Spo 25/03/2014

    A bit bizarre Nintendo still haven't stepped up with Virtual Console. It'd be an easy money spinner under difficult circumstances. I suppose there's some concern about people playing it safe and buying retro titles over the indie titles Nintendo are trying to attract, but it's not as if Wii U is drowning in content.

    It's interesting that GBA & DS games are coming to Wii U. If you dig through Nintendo's last financial briefing, which includes the information on their future plans, there are some interesting signs. Future hardware will be sibling home and portable devices, sharing architectural and operating system similarities like iPad/iPhone, and the future hardware will be based on what's been done with Wii U so far, in terms of development tools and network features. I'm assuming that means Nintendo will utilise whatever streaming technology creates the link between gamepad and Wii U console to link home and handheld console for a combined playing experience. If all that's accurate, then, it sadly would mean 3DS, which won't be the basis for the next handheld, will be overlooked with Virtual Console titles. The emphasis will be on ensuring that the emulation technology used on Wii U is the basis for the next generation of hardware, hence why Nintendo are taking the time to get different systems running on Wii U and not on 3DS. If I'm right, it also proves how short-sighted Nintendo have been in the implementation of their Virtual Console policy. Three different sets of emulation across three consoles does not make for an easy transition, and is not a good stepping stone onto the unified network account that will be the basis for future hardware.
    Reply +5
  • McDonald's Mario Happy Meal unboxing video

  • Mr.Spo 20/03/2014

    Wait... Nintendo have released trailers for upcoming indie games on Wii U, and this is the Nintendo story that gets reported?

    What?
    Reply +5
  • Yoshi's New Island review

  • Mr.Spo 13/03/2014

    @Der_tolle_Emil Not sure why you're being negged. If anything, more variety in critical reactions to videogames should be welcomed. Reply +6
  • Mr.Spo 13/03/2014

    Given the broadly high standards of Nintendo's software on 3DS, and on Wii U too (arguments about conservatism aside for now), it's a huge shame this is the result of Nintendo outsourcing a highly respected license.

    I really do think Nintendo should be training some top Western internal teams, basing them on the creative practises and management structures that their EAD division is based on. Not only would such an expansion help with software droughts, it'd help (theoretically) Nintendo avoid dud outsources like this, and hopefully result in more breadth and variety of content.
    Reply +6
  • These Nintendo toys launch in McDonald's Happy Meals next week

  • Mr.Spo 12/03/2014

    @ukuleleimport It's a separate business venture to generate more revenue, so that if or when their core videogames business struggles, the results aren't as financially damaging as they have been with Wii U's poor performance.

    Nintendo have outlined what they plan to do in the next five to ten years. More aggressive, widespread licensing of their franchises for merchandise and other media, a network orientated approach with home/portable console "siblings", and the new, separate "Quality of Life" venture, starting with health, before moving into areas such as education.
    Reply +1
  • UK chart: Thief steals top spot

  • Mr.Spo 03/03/2014

    @dogmanstaruk Not sure why you've been negged, but yeah, it's a shame about Donkey Kong. I think reviewers have been far too hard on it. It's better than DKCR, it's only the fifth new Donkey Kong Country title in 20 years, and it's probably the best modern 2D platformer Nintendo have turned out. At least for me, it's the best I've played since Canvas Curse in 2005. Not up there with Rayman Legends, but still an excellent game.

    That being said, it got into the top 10 last week on the basis of one day of sales, so it's alarming it dropped so far down. I'd hoped with a full week behind it DK might stick up a little better, but the UK is very much PlayStation/Xbox territory now. Even 3DS struggles to be represented in the top 40 here, it's much stronger in continental Europe.
    Reply +4
  • Wii U has finally overtaken Xbox 360 in Japan

  • Mr.Spo 26/02/2014

    Not surprising. The only systems performing well globally are PS4 and 3DS. Xbox One, Vita and Wii U are all underwhelming. Xbox One has the best chance at a resurgence; it's difficult to see Vita or Wii U going beyond 20 million lifetime. In Wii U's case, if Kart 8 doesn't improve the situation substantially, even 20 million could be out of reach. Nintendo are obviously rethinking their hardware business for the long-run, anyone expecting a rethink or a revival of Wii U will be disappointed. Reply +1
  • UK chart: Donkey Kong Country enters in 9th

  • Mr.Spo 24/02/2014

    @dogmanstaruk Except E3 takes place in their next financial year, not in the current financial year for which they have reduced their initially insane estimates.

    Whatever their estimates for the next financial year are will necessitate some kind of signal from Nintendo of what exactly they plan to do to meet those targets. Obviously that means revealing and releasing more software, but whether that means more Directs, an E3 conference, or both, I don't know. Personally I think they need to do both, but it wouldn't be surprising to see them stick to the Direct method to save money. I'd be surprised if there's any major news from Nintendo until April or May, anyway, because that's when the next financial year begins. Slashing their current targets so drastically was not only necessary because of how badly wrong Nintendo got things in the first place, but was also a signal Nintendo didn't have anything much to announce or release in the first few months of this year.
    Reply +2
  • Mr.Spo 24/02/2014

    @Rogueywon So long as in the long-run, software sales continue to tick over, Nintendo should just about break even on Wii U.

    3D World has an attach rate of 33%, and New Mario Bros U an attach rate of nearly 50%, so even with Wii U sales continuing at a crawl, these titles will trickle over in total sales and provide some cushioning from the blows Wii U is dealing Nintendo's bottom line. Even with the low install base, that leaves 3D World around the 2 million mark at NSMBU around 3 million. Given those two titles, as well as DK, re-used existing concepts, I doubt the development costs were particularly high--Nintendo's main problem with HD development seems to stem from a lack of manpower. I'd also argue Nintendo would more carefully control budgets than most other publishers.

    It's an immensely difficult situation, but they don't really have much of a choice other than to continue to push out what software they can, and aim to have their biggest franchises--Mario, Zelda, Smash, Kart--achieve a strong attach rate, and consequently, sell a few million copies each. The combined effect of those titles should push Wii U to GameCube style figures, allowing Nintendo to sell a lot of software to a dedicated base, and eventually break even. Rake the 3DS for as much profit as possible, use digital to maximise profit margins, generate money through NFC toy lines (something to be demonstrated this year, apparently), and push the biggest software aggressively. It's all they can do.

    I wouldn't be concerned about them losing too much money from Wii U. Even if losses continue, their financial assets are strong, 3DS is generating a lot of revenue, and in the long-run, it's clear Nintendo have other ideas about how to generate revenue. It's a tough, commercially embarrassing situation, but Nintendo have a longer term view in mind, and we know now that they have a longer term plan.
    Reply +5
  • Diddy Kong confirmed for Smash Bros. Wii U and 3DS

  • Mr.Spo 21/02/2014

    @SuperSoupy Sadly I don't think they will. One of the differences between the two is that the 3DS version features levels from handheld games, with the Wii U version featuring levels from home console games. For example, a Spirit Tracks level is confirmed for 3DS, and a Skyward Sword level for Wii U. Presumably some kind of 3D Land level will make an appearance in the 3DS version. Reply +2
  • Next-Gen Face-Off: Rayman Legends

  • Mr.Spo 18/02/2014

    Picked this up for a tenner on Wii U in December. Genuinely feel bad paying so little for such a great game. Reply +10
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze review

  • Mr.Spo 18/02/2014

    After a 2013 in which Nintendo published Wonderful 101, Luigi's Mansion 2 and Pikmin 3, Fire Emblem: Awakening, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, A Link Between Worlds, Wind Waker HD and Pokemon X&Y, the review tries to tie the new Donkey Kong into a narrative that all Nintendo series will one day be "damned by praise that appears fainter with every passing chapter"? I'm sorry, but it sounds like you've tried too hard to tie this review into some kind of subtle "irrelevant Nintendo" narrative.

    They've come off one of the best years they've ever had quality wise, which given their commercial troubles and their storied history, is very impressive. Awakening, X&Y and New Leaf are probably the best installments in their respective series. Wonderful 101 was unlike anything else ever put onto market, and Nintendo co-developed, funded and published it with one of the least traditional developers working in Japan. Luigi's Mansion and Pikmin are hardly typical game experiences, and between the two series, Nintendo have only released five entries in 12 years. A Link Between Worlds is at least the most structurally experimental Zelda in over a decade, and arguably since the series' inception, and Nintendo released a definitive remake of what is arguably their most visually experimental title ever. Add 3D World onto the pile, and recent history is if anything, resounding proof that Nintendo can experiment within existing formulas and provide games that are just as or even more worthy of praise than their past efforts. Bar New Super Mario Brothers and the Mario spin off series (Party in particular), I can't think of a Nintendo franchise that clearly fits into the reviewer's pattern. Never mind that this is only the fifth Donkey Kong Country title in two decades, and that other DK games strayed into bongo-peripheral rhythm game, action-puzzle and 3D adventure platformer territory in the mean time.

    I don't have an issue with the score--7 is clearly above average, and the game is what I was expecting, a retro platformer with sometimes unforgiving difficulty and very high production standards. I'm sticking with my pre-order. But like others, I find it bizarre that this narrative of diminishing returns and sequelitis is thrown at Nintendo, yet it's obvious the entire console industry are guilty of it. Every major Western blockbuster franchise bar GTA has seen sales diminish fairly substantially, and it's not as if these franchises are launching onto platforms as volatile and unstable as Nintendo's platforms of the day. These franchises also launch annually, as opposed to every two to four years like major Nintendo franchises. Nintendo are guilty of resting on their laurels at times, but condemning what sounds like the latest excellent game in an excellent franchise for a crime that is forgiven with other publishers, doesn't seem right to me. Again, I don't have an issue with the score, but the review is less consistent and clear than I expect of EG.
    Reply +13
  • DS games will be coming to the Wii U Virtual Console

  • Mr.Spo 31/01/2014

    @abeeken I think that's a great attitude, and a mentality I share. Having become a Wii U owner recently I massively enjoy the system and its games--I just find Nintendo's ability to take huge leap forwards (like preparing to launch a new business) yet stay standing still in other regards frustrating.

    I always own multiple systems, but there's never one that I regard as secondary or as inferior to my others. Kudos to you, sir.
    Reply 0
  • Mr.Spo 30/01/2014

    @abeeken Thanks for that link. I do know that in the future, it is coming--trawling through Iwata's statement there's a huge amount of information.

    What frustrates me is the lack of aggression in the videogame business from Nintendo. Starting a new business about "Quality of Life" is a very aggressive, growth orientated move, but where's that kind of fight for Wii U? I mean, with 3DS, they cut the price by a third, ramped up development and secured third party exclusives (Monster Hunter), and pushed forward major releases. There's no been nowhere near that level of fight with Wii U. I just think that it's silly that Nintendo are talking about a digitized platform for the future, yet right now they have an amazing back catalogue, and aren't applying that to their unified ID to begin the process of tying in consumers from one cycle of hardware to another. I get that these are long-term measures for Nintendo, but there's no time like the present to start making these moves.
    Reply 0
  • Mr.Spo 30/01/2014

    Slightly bizarre. Disappointed there's no news on cross-platform Virtual Console. Surely if the Network ID is the platform of the future, cross-device Virtual Console should be an easy first step to take? Reply +1
  • Mario Kart 8 now pegged for a May release

  • Mr.Spo 30/01/2014

    EG are really missing the big news here. The "Quality of Life" is an entirely new business Nintendo are establishing in 2015 which will run alongside their videogame business, with Nintendo aiming to redefine the future of entertainment through their separate videogame and "Quality of Life" businesses. Nintendo hope that consumers will migrate across the new businesses, and that by operating in a wider field, Nintendo will generate ideas from the new business that can inform new videogame ideas, just as videogames like Wii Fit and Brain Training have opened their eyes to this "Quality of Life" initiative.

    In short, this is a major investment by Nintendo. It really should be bigger news than an aside in this article.
    Reply 0
  • Mr.Spo 30/01/2014

    "While details on this are mum, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iwata clarified that this won't be something in the living room. Perhaps it will be a 3DS app?"

    I'd also point Iwata said that this "health platform" will be seperate from the videogame business, so a 3DS peripheral is unlikely. The idea is to spread awareness of Nintendo's brand and aptitude for entertainment through the new health initiative, which will, over the years, turn these customers into consumers of Nintendo's videogames. At least that's what I got from it.
    Reply 0
  • Mr.Spo 30/01/2014

    I like the signs of flexibility, particularly in relation to external partnerships and software pricing. The example of Nintendo Network IDs with a higher than average tie ratio (Iwata gave 5 games per year as an example) getting games after the fifth product for a lower and lower price is a great way to reward loyal customers. Reply 0
  • Donkey Kong Country ignores the GamePad screen during regular play

  • Mr.Spo 29/01/2014

    That's fascinating. DK will be no worse off for it, but it's further proof that Wii U is (whatever its positive aspects, and I say this as a Wii U owner) simply the wrong hardware for Nintendo to have brought to market. If they themselves can't find a way to integrate their stand-out feature more completely into their software, then the synergy between hardware and software design that so often drives Nintendo's success is largely absent here. Certainly I found the display very useful in Pikmin 3 for example, but not necessary.

    I think back to titles like Galaxy and Prime 3, which even with their limited implementation of motion control, still used the Wii remote brilliantly. The fact Nintendo have abandoned IR pointer control still disappoints me. And given Retro Studio's track record in making Nintendo hardware sing, this is alarming. Their use of the remote in Prime 3 was fantastic, and hell, even with the GameCube controller they used the C-stick and d-pad brilliantly in the first two Primes. Unconventional for a first-person game sure, but perfectly suited to Samus's abilities and Prime's exploration driven, slower paced gameplay.

    I've previously been against the idea of Nintendo releasing a gamepad-less console, but I guess it could be on the cards now. It allows a lower entry point, which Nintendo badly need, without alienating too many customers. Nintendo could even attempt a "better with the gamepad" campaign, though I don't think Microsoft's "better with Kinect" campaign found many fans. Reminds me of that Danny Boyle film: Wii U is stuck in a rut, perhaps better to cut off an arm to survive in the long-run? Interesting, but alarming, and will damage long-term confidence in Nintendo further unless they are preparing something that's genuinely transformative for them.

    I've been struck recently though, that it's Ubisoft who so far have made the best use of the gamepad for long-term gameplay uses, as opposed to strong mini-game experiences, through Rayman Legends and ZombiU. Perhaps Nintendo should include Ubisoft Montpellier in their partnership and expansion drive. I think there'd be a game there that would really make the Wii U sing.
    Reply +3
  • Nintendo boss Iwata halves pay, Miyamoto's wage cut too

  • Mr.Spo 29/01/2014

    "Animal Crossing: New Leaf has sold 3.5m worldwide"

    I find this hard to believe. The game had sold 3 million in Japan alone. Is this a sales figure for the current financial year for Animal Crossing, and not a total sales figure?

    Agreed that Iwata and the management taking pay cuts is a good thing. Other companies would be shuttering studios and firing those lower down who were simply following their management's lead, in the face of several years of losses. Be interesting to see what he has to say at the investors briefing, and whether or not there will be a Nintendo Direct or any other kind of press event any time soon. The "Nintendo press event" an indie developer teased last week was just a reveal on IGN, and I find it bizarre Nintendo are doing very little to stem the tide of negative news. Surely it's about time games like Kart, Bayonetta, Smash had release dates? Or about time to announce games going forward? I know there's E3, but in six months time, who, outside of a small niche, are actually going to care about what Nintendo are announcing for their home console? Better to get news out now, I think.
    Reply +14
  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate heading to Europe in early 2015

  • Mr.Spo 28/01/2014

    Damn, I really wanted this for 3DS this year. Ah well, something to look forward to, I guess. Reply +1
  • Iwata isn't Nintendo's problem. It's Miyamoto

  • Mr.Spo 25/01/2014

    I really don't agree with this. It feels too much like click bait, because with Nintendo, you either get people who believe they can do no wrong, or people who shout from the rooftops about Nintendo's inevitable demise, and middle ground is hard to find.

    Nintendo are obviously in an immensely difficult and embarrassing situation regarding Wii U, but I'd like to point out several things that are often overlooked:

    1) Cash reserves, across liquid cash and bonds, still total close to $10 billion. There is plenty there to reinvest in a change of direction that is badly needed.
    2) 3DS is a successful system, it's just not as successful as DS, which happens to be the joint most successful gaming system ever released.
    3) The fault of management and leadership at Nintendo is a collective failure. Nintendo's software development is NOT exclusively overseen by Miyamoto: Takahashi Tezuka now has that role, with Eiji Aonuma, Masahiro Sakurai, Yoshio Koizumi taking up similar senior positions across EAD. There is a collective failure across senior software, hardware development, and at the board level, that has resulted in 3DS and Wii U. Indeed, Tezuka has Miyamoto's former overseer role that is criticised here. Miyamoto now takes part in more focused development, hence Pikmin 3 and Luigi's Mansion 2 finally coming to market.

    Blaming Iwata or Miyamoto might get you hits, but it doesn't add much that's meaningful to the debate about Nintendo's failings or Nintendo's future. As you admit, we still know very little about the internal workings of Nintendo. I think problems with Miyamoto come more from a perception problem than anything else. When Nintendo need a big name to talk about software, Miyamoto is trotted out because he's recognisable. People will pay attention. Miyamoto was trotted out to talk about the Galaxy games, a series were he very much took a backseat role to younger staff. It's a similar issue with Zelda: Aonuma is the spokesperson for that franchise, despite in both most recent games, not taking on the role of director. Nintendo send out familiar names because people will pay attention to that, and this creates--along with Iwata being the primary channel for commercial information--an assumption that these figures are the only figures involved in decision making.

    Nintendo's decision making processes are not commandeered by Iwata, Miyamoto or Aonuma, though they all must take some responsibility for the current situation. The point is there are plenty of others at the company, particularly senior board members and investors, who must take blame for being so conservative. A lack of new ideas at Nintendo is certainly a problem, and we see this in the design of 3DS and Wii U: where are the bold, accessible ideas? Where are the ideas that redefine the playing experience on some level? Not present in a big enough way to be easily communicable, which denies Nintendo mass market success. But pinning this down to Miyamoto is a straw man argument, and a poor one at that.

    Other factors are clearly to blame. Nintendo's inability to settle on a direction for the company, whether to compete more directly with Microsoft and Sony, or pursue their wider audience, has clearly cost them. Wii U is a halfway house meant to satisfy everyone, which fails to successfully hit either target audience, and is doomed to remain a niche device because of that failure of thinking. Nintendo's traditional business model of releasing new portable and home console models every five years or so is also clearly no longer tenable, because of changes in the market outside of Miyamoto , or anyone else's, control, have rendered the traditional model obsolete, as Iwata has now admitted. The inability of Nintendo to decentralise and developing NoE and NoA into something more than marketing and distribution outposts has left Nintendo's Japan-centric mindset particularly vulnerable currently. It might not have mattered when Nintendogs and Wii Fit struck a chord across the globe, but as the Western industry continues to veer away from the Japanese market, Nintendo's Japancentric approach can no longer provide guaranteed universal hits. NoE and NoA need to become hubs of development, publishing and planning. Again, Iwata has admitted senior management have failed in this regard and that current approaches are no longer tenable. Is this failure to invest and decentralise really something we can lay at Miyamoto's door? Consider that Miyamoto wanted to work with Next Level for Luigi's Mansion 2, the high esteem in which he held Rare, his work with Retro on Metroid.

    Have Nintendo not tried new IP in recent years? Clearly their success on DS and Wii was more reliant on new IP than at any point since the 1980's. And recently, they've co-developed or revived Kid Icarus, Pilotwings, Punch-Out, Last Story, Xenoblade, Pushmo, Dillon's Rolling Western, Pandora's Tower, Wonderful 101. Bayonetta 2 is entirely funded by Nintendo, and X is the most exciting upcoming Wii U game. Hardly their traditional fare, but none of them have been mass-market hits. But are 3DS and Wii U, so conservative and confused at their foundations, the type of hardware that will enable new ideas? And even if they were, should we lay the blame squarely at Miyamoto's feet?

    No. That doesn't solve anything. Miyamoto, and Iwata, will be instrumental in any new direction Nintendo take. But that new direction must recognise that the traditional means of distributing their IP no longer works. It must be recognised that chronic under-investment in Western development and in NoA/NoE has left the company too reliant on big new ideas emerging from EAD, which will inevitably be Japan-centric, leaving Nintendo vulnerable when those ideas don't chime with Western markets. They must recognise that Nintendo hardware will not work as premium priced products, and that they must continue to invest in developing their network services.

    Blaming Miyamoto for not launching some daring new product will not solve anything. It's certainly one problem that has hindered Wii U, but it's one problem amongst a litany of issues that necessitates a new direction for Nintendo. No more half-measures, no more Japan-centric thinking, no more behind-the-curve network, no more divergent home/portable strategies. Nintendo's hardware needs to become cheaper, more accessible, and centralised around a bold network that is the platform of the future. Nintendo's development resources need to receive continued investment, but much of this investment must be targeted at Europe and North America. NoE and NoA need the executives and the power to build developer relations in their own territories, invest in first party development and in publishing and distribution deals.

    Miyamoto should not be relied on for Nintendo's future, but neither should he be absent from it.
    Reply +5
  • Argos cuts Wii U Premium pack price to 179.99

  • Mr.Spo 21/01/2014

    This is the price I bought for in November. I'd recommend it at this price, catching up on 3D World, Pikmin 3, Rayman Legends, ZombiU and Wind Waker HD, and stuff like EarthBound, Little Inferno and EDGE from the eShop, and it's a great for that money. I would never have paid the 250 or 300 at launch, but 180 is a good price if you're interested in the console.

    Also, there seems to be Direct incoming Friday: an indie developer has stated their title is being revealed at a Nintendo Press Event on the 24th. If you're on the fence, maybe Nintendo will reveal something that will make you want to jump in. Or Wii Music 2 will happen, could be anything really.
    Reply +14
  • Dr Luigi review

  • Mr.Spo 20/01/2014

    That's a shame. Hoping for a good Direct at the end of the month, it really is needed. Reply +4
  • Nintendo slashes Wii U sales forecast from 9m to 2.8m

  • Mr.Spo 18/01/2014

    @electrolite

    I think at the time the made those forecasts, last April, they planned to release more software before the Christmas sales season, though. At the very least, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze was meant to be out at Christmas and has been delayed. Personally I think that was delayed because other titles they'd hoped to have out before the end of the financial year--Mario Kart 8, I'd wager--has been pushed back to April at the earliest.

    As Nintendo's profit warning states, the estimates are made using known factors that aren't set in stone, and are impacted by unknown factors. With the release of a hardware revision, a brand new globally released Pokemon title, Animal Crossing in the West, and a raft of quality titles, PLUS better software/hardware profit margins than in the past, Nintendo must have been very confident that 3DS would hit its targets. The downwards revision there will have hit them hard, and in all honesty, I think that might cause more soul searching than Wii U's struggles have done.

    Compare the intensity with which Nintendo responded to 3DS's struggles with the slower response to Wii U. By now Nintendo had slashed the price aggressively globally (as opposed to altering it slightly in North America/Europe for Wii U) and pushed major software forwards--Wii U has actually experienced more software delays. The handheld consoles are always Nintendo's main money drivers, even with Wii/DS this was true.

    As you say, it is worrying, but I think there are two factors Nintendo didn't anticipate: further delays to Wii U software, and the simple fact that there isn't as much headroom for portable devices as there used to be. Both of those issues are fundamental problems for Nintendo: if they can't get enough software out on time, how are they going to convince people to buy their hardware? If the portable market is contracting, how are they going to drive revenue and profitability the way they used to in the past? Iwata has acknowledged that their business structure and their notion of what a games platform is needs to change, but we'll have to wait and see exactly what those changes entail.
    Reply 0
  • Mr.Spo 17/01/2014

    @Kami And Iwata states that structural changes to Nintendo's current methods of selling hardware and software are being examined:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-17/nintendo-forecasts-net-loss-on-stagnating-sales-of-wii-u-games.html

    A few other points I've dug up from the reports are also interesting, and point to the last year being unusually expensive for Nintendo due to several factors:

    1) They failed to take advantage of the weakening yen, as they have done in the past, apparently.

    2) The expansion and building of facilities was high on the agenda, as was the expansion of several studios.

    3) A tax deferral had to be paid this year, which pushed the company's finances into a full net loss, as opposed to operating loss and net profit.

    4) Large amounts of money were spent on R&D, some of which is targeted at Wii U software development. I'm assuming more is being spent on network development, though nothing is mentioned in that regard.

    Either way, plenty of interesting signs.
    Reply +3
  • Mr.Spo 17/01/2014

    @Kami Agreed entirely. Nintendo failed to capitalise on their past successes and have been too slow with Wii U globally, and too slow with 3DS in Western markets, to arrest the worst of the problems before they arose.

    By the sounds of Iwata's statement, he may actually resign in the near future. Saying he'll stay to "see this through" suggests two possibilities to me:

    1) He'll stay for another year and aim for Nintendo to make an annual profit next financial year, allowing him to handover to a successor who can start on a positive note as opposed to starting in the midst of continuing turmoil.

    2) He'll stay until Nintendo transition onto their next generation of hardware/platforms, as Yamauchi did in the N64/GC era--though that sadly hamgstrung GC thanks to Yamauchi's outdated attitudes to online and third parties, some of which seems to still be prevalent at the company.


    Either way, I agree they need change now. They need to be aggressive with Wii U and continue to be aggressive with 3DS. They'll need to make some short-term creative sacrifices for better commercial gain. Getting an Ocarina/Twilight Princess style Zelda out by year's end (2014) should have been a priority when it became clear last year Wii U was struggling. That style of Zelda banks the most hype and is commercially the most successful. Along with Kart, Smash and other titles, as well as continuing sales from older titles, it may allow Nintendo to eliminate a chunk of the negative earnings Wii U is generating.

    For me the most alarming thing about Nintendo's management is the mismatch between their sales estimates and the products they release to reach those targets. Pikmin 3 and Wonderful 101 were never going to sell systems, especially not volumes magnitudes ahead of GC or N64 as Nintendo expected. Smash and Kart should shift more hardware, but only if the price is lower and Nintendo are quick to get those titles out, and quick to confirm more software is on the way. A Direct at the end of the month for release dates and announcements would be a good idea. At this point I'd even suggest announcing anything that's definitely going to release in 2014, just to give potential buyers more reason to jump on board.
    Reply +2
  • Mr.Spo 17/01/2014

    @Kami Is it Iwata, or the rest of the board that are conservative?

    Iwata and Miyamoto pushed for GameCube to be cheap, powerful, and developer friendly. Yamauchi insisted that Nintendo "didn't need so many software houses" and pushed them down. Miyamoto wanted online games and praised GTA; Yamauchi held that no one wanted online and that Western games were inferior.

    Iwata and Miyamoto recognised that fighting over the same space as Sony and Microsoft, with increasingly complex machines, was a no win situation for Nintendo. Accessibility, affordability and market expansion were at the forefront of Iwata and Miyamoto's hardware and software strategy.

    What strategy have Wii U and 3DS followed? Were they accessible and affordable from launch? Were they designed to expand the existing market? Were they designed to side step the competition? No, especially not in Wii U's case. It's a machine with the brand and lower specification of Wii, but with complex controls and initial mission statement of competing head on with Sony and Microsoft at far too high a price for Nintendo hardware.

    Iwata isn't faultless. As you said, he needs to grab the bull by the horns. But what are the rest of the board at Nintendo doing? That's what I'd love to know. Iwata has directly overseen the most fundamental shifts in Nintendo's history as a games publisher. He's regained support from Japanese publishers, at least attempted to bring Western third parties into the fold (and at least temporarily succeeded with Ubisoft), hugely expanded internal development and pushed online developments like Wi Fi Connection, Virtual Console, WiiConnect 24, Miiverse and eShop. Wii and DS were fundamental shifts as disruptive as Nintendo's initial entry into the gaming market: who knew dropping the GameBoy brand would be a great decision? In recent years, these shifts have been too few, too slow in nature. The combined R&D facility should have been ready before Wii U launched. Intelligent Systems, Monolith Soft, Retro Studios and Next Level should have been receiving greater investment while Wii was in its heydey.

    Iwata and Miyamoto masterminded DS and Wii. They are not flawless, but they are also part of a larger management structure at Nintendo. What other failings are there? What disagreements at board meetings led to halfway houses and conservative efforts like 3DS and Wii U? Did the two figures who spearheaded the last fundamental shift blink and back down because of their own fears, or did board members push them back? Those are questions we will never have answered, most likely, or at least they won't be things we know until another decade has passed--just as GameCube's story has recently been uncovered.

    Iwata is the only senior executive at Nintendo to have overseen serious re-organisation and shifts in the company's direction. Yes, not enough has happened recently, but is there anyone else at Nintendo--given the board's decision to release Wii U and 3DS--who would actually take risks again? Perhaps one good thing about this scenario is that not taking any risks is no longer an option for Nintendo. Sooner or later, one of their higher ups is going to have to roll the dice and push something different. If Iwata hangs on, I wouldn't be surprised if it were him that reinvents Nintendo again.
    Reply +6
  • Mr.Spo 17/01/2014

    @dogmanstaruk What's wrong with keeping Nintendo Directs? It's a cheap, easy way of reaching their core base and getting news out on a regular basis. It puts the flow of news in Nintendo's control, which they desperately need given the amount of negative press around.

    They obviously need a more effective mass-marketing campaign, and that need has been apparent for years. Abandoning a fairly successful, cheap PR move for the core fanbase won't necessitate that mass-market shift, so I don't see any reason to abandon it. Seriously rethink your mass marketing, sure, but don't eliminate the one channel you do have that is yielding positive results.
    Reply +5
  • Mr.Spo 17/01/2014

    @abeeken Agreed. Nintendo Network/MiiVerse/eShop/Virtual Console need to be integrated into one, online platform. Nintendo are taking baby steps, but Sony have recognised that in the long run, that's the way to stay in control of your platform, even if the future of the hardware you sell is questionable.

    A cross platform Virtual Console is easy money in the near term, but in the longer term, simply pushing out another home console and another portable console isn't going to work. They need to be a range of devices, or a couple of devices, which largely access the same range of software, services and online infrastructure. Steam came out years ago and is the closest thing we've had to what a games platform will be in future. Hopefully Nintendo's consolidation of their disparate hardware and network R&D teams into one whole unit is a sign they understand this. Developing home and portable hardware in isolation to one another may have been viable a decade ago, or even five or six years ago, but it's not going to work any more. 3DS can't make up for the weak performance of Wii U as easily as GBA did for GC, and Wii U isn't yet shifting enough software to cover its own weak hardware sales.

    In the longer term, Nintendo need to eliminate risks in their disparate hardware businesses and provide the best possible commercial platform for their IP. Never thought I'd advocate it, but I think that means going all digital in three years time, and selling a portable that can be used in conjunction with a cheap box plugged into the TV.
    Reply +2
  • Mr.Spo 17/01/2014

    For people saying that Star Fox, F Zero, Wave Race, 1080 will help turn Wii U around: no, they won't.

    N64 and GameCube had those titles. N64 and GameCube were more powerful for their time, in line with their competitors. GameCube was cheaper, and easier to develop for than their rival machines. Like it or not, Nintendo's best bet for mass market success is a cheap, family friendly machine like Wii or DS.

    I don't like that myself. I want F Zero, Wave Race, Star Fox, 1080. Hell, I want Ice Climber, another Kid Icarus, Star Tropics and more Mother games. But these aren't the franchises that will lift Nintendo out of the niche they have put themselves in. I'd love to see a Nintendo machine that hosts these titles and is commercially successful in a meaningful way, but that hasn't happened since the SNES, and the industry is a radically different place now.

    Given I can't see how Nintendo will actually turn Wii U into anything than another GameCube, I do hope they release those games, though...
    Reply +7
  • Mr.Spo 17/01/2014

    Bought a Wii U for 180 but knew exactly what I was in for--a machine that will only ever find a niche in the market. The downward sales estimations for Wii U don't come as a surprise at all. Anyone paying attention to ongoing NPD, Japanese and the UK figures released in December knew this was coming. Nintendo stuck to their insane 9 million prediction because revising it before Christmas would signal a clear lack of confidence.

    It's a huge shame 3DS missed targets, too, and I had been expecting it (again, NPD figures made it clear Nintendo couldn't hit the target), but I admit the severity of the undershoot has taken me by surprise. It's been the market leading system globally for the entirety of the period covered, and that's a bad sign for the entire industry. Yes, home and portable consoles are very different kettles of fish. But post DS/Wii/PS2, no system has been capable of shifting more than 12 to 13 million units a year. There's a possibility, that at least for now, the ceiling for consoles of all kinds is lower than in previous years. It's not too dramatic to say that Nintendo's weaker performance this generation is causing contraction in the console industry. Combine that with the failure of Vita, and the hardware and software sold will decline this generation, even if Xbox One or PS4 match or exceed their predecessors.

    If anyone uses Gamesindustry.biz, I'd check out James Brightman's recent opinion piece on Nintendo, were he calls for Nintendo to launch a network centric, portable hybrid. If Iwata is serious about returning to profitability for the long-term, he should seriously consider such a move.
    Reply +10
  • NES Remix review

  • Mr.Spo 17/01/2014

    @photoboy 16-bit Remix would be an instant buy. Get Sega, Square and Treasure on it, too... Reply +1
  • Mr.Spo 17/01/2014

    Tempted to buy this just to increase the chances of a SNES Remix... Reply +9
  • The Secret Developers: Wii U - the inside story

  • Mr.Spo 14/01/2014

    @MatthewDamon I'm not suggesting they do nothing for several years, that would be ludicrous! I'm saying don't launch another machine until then, because they botched the transition from DS and Wii over to Wii U and 3DS, and they haven't recovered from that. They can ill afford another botched transition, financial resources and top tier developers aside. Everyone and their dog wants to put the boot in, can you imagine what would happen if their next console faltered out of the gates?

    In fact, towards the end of my absurdly long post, I did say that Nintendo need to implement the lessons learnt in the lifespan of the Wii U itself--more third party collaboration, better and clearer online, clearer marketing, a wider variety of first party software driven by continued internal expansion. And I'm agreed with most of your points--in fact, you'll notice in the US and Japan the Wii U is increasingly being advertised and bundled as a family gaming device, and sales have responded at least moderately to that shift. One of the problems though is that Wii is still actively used by families--Skylanders and Just Dance Wii versions were two of the best selling games globally over Christmas. Perhaps over time, if Nintendo can lower the price enough and sort out their marketing, they may find a good niche as a family device. Advertising the system as a "secondary" system wouldn't be a great idea, but advertising it as a strong system for hobbyist, multi-device gamers might not go amiss.

    At this point I don't know if a gamepad-less option would actually help. It might even make Wii U even less desirable. The gamepad is a mechanical and interactive component of the hardware offering, unlike 3DS's stereoscopic display, which wasn't child friendly and is merely aesthetic. It would also result in another storm of negative press for Wii U, and the system is already battered by the press it has received. Hell, when I told some friends I'd bought a Wii U they acted as if I'd drowned a kitten. By virtue of the negative press it has received, Wii U is commonly seen as a terrible system and a waste of money. Dropping the gamepad would only reinforce and enable that kind of negativity.

    But to answer the original point, no, I am absolutely not advocating complacency or Nintendo doing nothing. My argument was that Wii U is too flawed to ever find a large audience, and that Nintendo need to seriously re-think their long-term strategy. In the mean time, they must make Wii U the best and most profitable proposition it possibly can be, but they must also seriously re-evaluate their long-term thinking, which I am sure will be happening.

    I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Iwata is standing aside from his head honcho position to resume the role he took at Nintendo of America. The shift for the long-term needs to begin now, and it needs to begin with Wii U--even if Wii U itself never fully prospers from the decisions Nintendo take.
    Reply +4
  • Mr.Spo 14/01/2014

    @coffeemix "in fact the hardware sales itself is still pretty bad all things considered (it's not even close to PSP yet)."

    Hugely negative spin. The install base will be at least 40 million, or as high as 50 million (likely somewhere in the middle) three years after launch. Of course it's not caught up to the PSP yet--it took PSP seven years to get to the 80 million mark. Yes, 3DS isn't performing as well as DS, but only one other system performed as strongly as the DS, and that was the PS2. The DS's success is the exception, not the rule. In a vastly more competitive market in which handheld gaming has been inexorably and radically altered, 3DS is a very successful device. It's a testament to Nintendo's strength in that arena that even with hundreds of millions gaming on tablets and smartphones, tens of millions have still and will continue to buy a dedicated Nintendo handheld.

    Vita has at best shifted 7 million units in two years, which gives you an idea of how tough the market is. I don't believe another machine like 3DS will succeed in the future, and I think it's obvious that the ceiling for handheld devices has been lowered by the changed market conditions. But to state that the 3DS has done "badly all things considered" is garbage. It has, all things considered, done very well.
    Reply +3
  • Mr.Spo 14/01/2014

    @Kami Agreed with this. It'd be great to hear more perspectives on Wii U development, negative or positive, it'll only shed more light on what the experience of working on Wii U is like. Reply +5
  • Mr.Spo 14/01/2014

    @rajendragondhalekar And Nintendo would go down the drain far quicker than with their current attitude.

    If they can't make money on Wii U, how are they going to make money on a more expensive machine?

    How are they going to get many first party games out quickly, if their manpower was already stretched moving onto Wii U? They still need to support 3DS, and they can't expand too quickly or quality, and software sales, will suffer.

    Who would buy a Nintendo console for $499 after they've massively cut the price on their last two hardware releases not long after launch?

    Who would buy a new Nintendo console if they've stopped supporting their last console after less than two years on the market?

    Why would third parties support a new, expensive Nintendo console, with zero userbase after the failure of Wii U? How would third parties move onto the machine so quickly? What incentive is there to attempt, at best, to be the number 2 publisher on a Nintendo platform following on from a struggling platform Nintendo just cut off because they couldn't make it stick?

    The strategy you are advocating is a worse version of what Sega did. Panic when your new hardware doesn't set the world on fire, attempt to move on immediately, continually damage publisher and consumer confidence, and bankrupt yourself in the process.

    Nintendo need to change direction, yes. But they don't need to drop Wii U right now. Doing that will do more harm than good. They need to stick with Wii U, attempt to recoup some of the costs through strong software sales--whoever said hardware was Nintendo's main profit driver is simply deluded, software is always where the money is, hence Nintendo grinding out decent profits off their GameCube business--and take their time getting their next console right.

    Whatever Nintendo does next needs to work from day one. If they panic, move onto a "me too" console that will, at best, launch a year after their rivals without as much software support, most likely a higher price, and with far less consumer confidence, they may as well shutter their hardware R&D and go third party now. They need to wait it out until 2016 and get their next move exactly right.
    Reply +5
  • Mr.Spo 11/01/2014

    @electrolite http://www.dromble.com/2014/01/07/dolphin-tale-story-of-gamecube/

    It's quite lengthy, but well researched and a good read. Enjoy!
    Reply +20
  • Nintendo sorry Wii U still lacks TVii feature in Europe

  • Mr.Spo 14/01/2014

    @electrolite There's been no announcement yet, but a developer of an eShop title for 3DS has said their game will feature in a Nintendo press event for the end of the month.

    http://www.gonintendo.com/?mode=viewstory&id=220309

    I'd assume it'll be a Nintendo Direct. Particularly because Nintendo's financials are due then, and they'll most likely be revising down their Wii U and even 3DS estimates by several million units, so they'll need some good press and software talk.
    Reply +3
  • Mr.Spo 14/01/2014

    There's a Nintendo Direct at the end of the month, anyway.

    Not that TVii is that important a feature. Virtual Console, continuing to improve unified IDs and announcing more software should be the priority.
    Reply +6
  • Lord of the Rings Online licence renewed to 2017

  • Mr.Spo 14/01/2014

    Downloaded but then never played this, too afraid my personal and professional life would be lost to Middle Earth. Reply 0
  • Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder's North American release censors an ass

  • Mr.Spo 11/01/2014

    It's an eShop game, the chances of localisation are fairly high. Reply 0
  • Valve plays the long game again

  • Mr.Spo 11/01/2014

    Will protecting the open-nature of the PC market be enough for PC gaming in the long run? Don't get me the wrong, the death of PC gaming is proclaimed as often and as wrongly as the death of Nintendo, but the PC as a device faces very, very severe challenges from smart devices. Ultrabooks and tablets have done, and will continue to, shift the landscape in which the PC operates. The best response to these changes would be to act quickly to provide Steam Machines that are accessible, affordable forms of living room based PC gaming. Even that isn't about competing directly with Microsoft and Sony, it's about keeping the best of PC gaming while changing conceptions of what a PC is. Turn it from a desktop device--increasingly challenged by tablets and Ultrabooks, as I said--into a gaming device at home in the living room or bedroom, that can still have the extra utility of a PC. Reply +1