Nintendo has revealed that Mario Kart 8 will be released in May during its quarterly earnings presentation tonight. Previously the Wii U-exclusive had only been pegged for a general "spring" release.
The presentation just went down in Tokyo, but senior analyst at Macquarie Research Japan Dave Gibson was present and tweeted the announcement in addition to a slew of other facts about Nintendo's current strategy.
The most immediate change will be the Kyoto-based company bringing Nintendo Network IDs to mobile platforms. "Nintendo Network ID is important," Gibson tweeted, where he noted that Nintendo plans to implement this on all future hardware and even smartphones. "It doesn't make sense for us not to do business in [sic] smart devices," the analyst paraphrased. That being said, Nintendo was clear that it won't actually be developing games for these platforms.
Gibson added that Nintendo is "thinking of launching [the] service sometime this year, [as] an on demand service" and that the service will be ID-based rather than device-based.
Furthermore, Nintendo has teased financial perks for those who use the service often. "More users play game the lower the price," Gibson tweeted, suggesting benefits for loyal customers.
Looking ahead, Nintendo teased a "Quality of Life" initiative where it will use non-wearable devices and software to monitor your health. It's unclear what Nintendo means by this, but it will unveil further details on its plan later this year and aims to launch this in April 2015.
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?
Other plans for the company include being more lenient with licensing its properties to other developers, as it's doing with Zelda right now with Tecmo Koei's Hyrule Warriors spin-off. "License character IP= will now be more flexible," Gibson tweeted.
Nintendo has acknowledged that the Wii U's weakness is the GamePad, something people don't gather is a necessary component for the console. People instead think it's just an optional accessory for the Wii. Unfortunately, cutting the price is not an option for the console manufacturer that's already selling the Wii U at a loss.
Instead, the company is going to shift its focus into making more games that really take advantage of the unique controller - ie games not like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata noted that he "wants to change the definition of the platform." Gibson clarified "previously it's been devices based, 3DS and WiiU are not compatible and users separate."
Finally, a slew of software sales figures were revealed.
When it comes to 3DS software, Pokemon XY sold 11.61m copies in nine months, Animal Crossing: New Leaf sold 3.52m, Luigi's Mansion 2.57m, and Zelda: A Link Between Worlds shifted 2.18m units.
On Wii U Super Mario 3D World moved 1.94m copies, its Wii U launch brethren New Super Mario Bros. U moved 1.74m while its DLC-including edition New Super Luigi U sold 1.51m, Wii Party U moved 1.24m, and Zelda: The Wind Waker HD shifted 1.15m units.
Meanwhile Mario Kart Wii has continued to sell a million copies in the last nine months with 35.26m units sold overall.
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