On Friday Nintendo announced that the much anticipated software update for the 3DS — which will deliver the eShop application store, a web browser, and more — will officially be available on June 6th. Anyone who installs the update before July 7th will also get a free 3D version of the NES game Excitebike. Nintendo also announced that it will deploy new content to the eShop every Thursday including Gameboy, Gameboy Color, and more than 350 Nintendo DSiWare titles. The initial Gameboy titles include Super Mario Land, Alleyway, and Radar Mission. Unfortunately, there was no mention of Netflix support in the update, but we won’t have long to find out if that’s a last-minute addition. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Consumer electronics tracker NPD Group on Thursday released its tallies for the U.S. gaming industry, revealing continued console sales growth and rebounding software sales. Last month, sales of video game software dipped to $735.4 million from $875.3 million in March 2010. While sales shrank sequentially, as they do in April in many industries, gaming software jumped 26% from $398.5 million in April 2010 to $503.2 million last month. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in April, having climbed 60% year-over-year to 297,000 units. Sales of Sony’s PlayStation 3 grew 13% to 204,000 units and Nintendo sold 174,000 Wii consoles, a 37% decline compared to April 2010. Mortal Kombat 2011 was the best-selling software title in April, having sold over 1 million units including standard games and special editions. Portal 2, Lego Star Wars III, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters rounded out the top five titles. More →
Nintendo will launch the 3DS web browser and eShop on June 6th during the E3 game tradeshow in Los Angeles. A post on Nintendo’s website confirms: “The Nintendo eShop will be enabled through a system update which has been announced for the evening of June 6, 2011. We’ll have more information for you after this update becomes available.” The eShop should allow 3DS users to download extra game content directly to their devices, although it’s unclear what else will be available at launch. Nintendo has said that a Netflix client is in the works, so our fingers are crossed that it’s part of the package, too. We reviewed the Nintendo 3DS in early April and the lack of an eShop, Netflix, and web browser, were some of our biggest gripes with the device. More →
Speaking during an investor briefing on Tuesday, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata said that sales of his firms new 3DS portable gaming system failed to meet expectations. “Sales of the 3DS have been weaker than expected since the second week of launch in the US and Europe,” Iwata said while discussing the device’s launches in Europe, the United States, and in Japan. Nintendo had expected to sell 4 million units last quarter, but sales fell short at 3.61 million units. Iwata said that he hopes sales will increase as much as 40% during the next year, AFP reported. We reviewed the 3DS earlier this month and argue that the gaming system doesn’t offer enough features to justify its $250 price point. More →
On Monday, Nintendo released a statement confirming that it will reveal the successor to the original Wii during the E3 Expo tradeshow in Los Angeles — which takes place June 7-9, 2011. The new console, currently codenamed “Project Cafe,” may feature a new “Screen Stream” controller option that will provide each individual gamer with their own touchscreen display, although Nintendo did not disclose any of the console’s new features in its statement. The Japanese gaming firm also announced its earnings for the fiscal year ending March, 2011. Net sales of ¥1,014 billion ($12.35 billion) were down 29.3% year-over-year and Nintendo’s net income fell 66.1% to ¥77.62 million ($946,110). Hardware and software sales for the United States, Nintendo’s largest market, also fell year-over-year. Nintendo sold 15.08 million Nintendo Wii units, 3.61 million of its new Nintendo 3DS devices, and 17.52 million of its Nintendo DS portable gaming consoles in the States. By contrast, the firm sold 20.5 million Wii units in the U.S. last year. Globally, the firm sold 171.26 million Wii units, 120.98 million DS devices, and 9.43 million Nintendo 3DS units. Hit the jump for Nintendo’s earnings release, as well as its official statement on E3. More →
In an interview with USA Today, Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, confirmed that Nintendo sold nearly 400,000 of its 3DS units in the week following its March 27th launch. That’s the same figure Nintendo sold in Japan on its first day of availability when it launched there in February. “We are very satisfied with this start and we look forward to the momentum that we will build on the Nintendo 3DS with the launch of the E-Shop, the launch of the 3-D trailers for Hollywood movies, and the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in mid-June, as well as the launch of Netflix later on in the summer,” Fils-Aime said. We noted the glaring lack of services like Netflix and an app/game store in our recent Nintendo 3DS review, so we look forward to those updates. In addition to solid 3DS sales, Nintendo sold more than 460,000 units of its previous-generation DS portable gaming consoles, and 290,000 Wii consoles during the month of March. More →
In our recent review of the Nintendo 3DS portable gaming console, we noted that the iPhone and iPod touch could be a big threat to devices like the 3DS due to the low cost of iOS games and the increasingly impressive gaming capabilities. Research firm IHS on Friday issued a report in line with that thinking, suggesting sales of the 3DS may be limited by the increasing popularity of converged gaming devices like the iPhone, iPod touch and Android-based devices. “Nintendo’s accent on network services in the key U.S. market represents an attempt to convince users to carry their 3DS systems with them at all times and to engage with the platform everyday and in every place,” said Piers Harding Rolls, lead games analyst at IHS, in a statement. “This engagement strategy, alongside 3-D graphics, camera and video, is key to Nintendo competing with upcoming devices from Sony and also from non-specialist smart phones, entertainment devices and tablets, which offer a legitimate alternative to handheld consoles.” IHS still expects strong 3DS sales, but thinks performance will fail to meet the precedent set by earlier DS models due to the emerging competition from converged devices. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
The 3DS, Nintendo’s latest portable gaming platform and the first with a 3D display, made its U.S. debut on March 27th. Nintendo moved 400,000 units on launch day in Japan, and Amazon U.K. said the device broke console pre-order records as well. So, being the subway riding gamer that I am, I knew I had to find out what all this hype was about. I took it for a spin over the last week, staying up late trying to beat games and carrying it in my backpack to rock on the subway. And now, after a week of 3D gaming, it’s time to drop the hammer and see if the 3DS really is worthy of all that hype.More →
Living on the land of the rising sun? Well, we’re jealous because the Nintendo 3DS went on sale there this morning and Nintendo is said to have swiftly moved their initial 400,000 unit stockpile pretty swiftly (including pre-orders). Lines were said to be as long as 2,000 people deep for the ¥25,000 portable gaming system, but you can’t put a price on 3D, can you? Nintendo’s 3DS launches in the US on March 27th for $349 and is backward-compatible with previous Nintendo DS games including DSi games.
Industry watcher NPD Group says sales of video game software in the U.S. declined by 5% year-over-year in January 2011, totaling $576 million. Console sales were down 8% to $324 million. On the back of continued strong sales of the Microsoft Kinect and PlayStation Move motion-based controllers, sales of video games accessories increased 6% year-over-year to $235 million. The only console to see growth in January was Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which sold 381,000 units — a 14.1% increase year-over-year. NPD ranked January’s software title sales as follows:
- Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision Blizzard) – Xbox 360, PS3, Wi, DS, PC
- Just Dance 2 (Ubisoft) – Wii
- Dead Space 2 (Electronic Arts) – Xbox 360, PS3, PC
- Little Big Planet 2 (Sony) – PS3
- Zumba Fitness: Join the Party (Majesco) – Wii, Xbox 360, PS3
- NBA 2K11 (Take-Two Interactive) – Xbox 360, PS3, PSP, Wii, PS2, PC
- Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (Ubisoft) – Xbox 360, PS3
- Dance Central (MTV Games) – Xbox 360
- Michael Jackson The Experience (Ubisoft) – Wii, DS, PSP
- DC Universe Online: The Next Legend Is You (Sony) – PS3, PC
Overall, the U.S. gaming industry took in $1.14 billion excluding PC sales — a 4% slide versus the same month in 2010.
Got yourself all jazzed up about the impending release of the Nintendo 3DS? Good news. Retailers Amazon and GameStop have begun offering pre-orders of the 3D portable-gaming system. In return for hammering in your credit card digits, and promising to pay $249.99 in March, you can reserve yourself the latest and greatest gadget from the Japanese electronics maker. Any takers? More →
Good news for all those out there who are die-hard Nintendo fans. At a planned media event, the company officially announced its U.S. intentions for its 3DS portable gaming set. Launching on March 27th, the handset will have the same form-factor as the DSi and will be backwards compatible with both DS and DSi games. Nintendo noted that over thirty 3DS specific gaming titles will be available upon or shortly after device launch. The device will be available in “aqua blue” or “cosmo black” and will be priced at $249.99.
A report filed by Korean gaming site RuliWeb claims that the upcoming Nintendo 3DS portable gaming handset will be region locked. The locking system on the 3DS will be much like the system used by DVD players and movie releases. The gaming console and corresponding games will have an embedded region code — the console’s region code will not be editable by the user. If the handset region and the game region do not match, gameplay is disabled. The publication cites the following conversation — purportedly between a customer and a Nintendo support staffer — as the source of its information:
There are no Region codes in DS and DS Lite, but DSi, DSi [XL], and 3DS have region codes. The region codes are installed in each game and the 3DS itself. … You can’t play if the region codes are different.
For example, if you play a Korean 3DS game with a Japanese 3DS system (or vice versa), you won’t be able to play at all.
A mild form of region locking is currently in use on the DSi and DSi XL consoles, albeit on DSiWare and DSi-enhanced titles only. The locking is, in all likelihood, an attempt to protect companies that have signed region-specific release deals with Nintendo. The company did not respond to requests for comment by several publications. More →