It’s time to get those last few rounds of Super Smash Bros. Brawl in, because Nintendo is about to take its legacy consoles offline for good. Nintendo announced on Wednesday that “certain online functionality” for the Wii and DS will be inaccessible starting on May 20th, including online play, matchmaking and leaderboards for a wide range of first-party games. Most other services will remain intact, such as the Wii Shop Channel, Nintendo DSi Shop, Hulu, YouTube and the internet browsers. The Wii U and 3DS will not be affected in any way, other than the removal of online play for Wii games played on the Wii U. The full list of affected games can be found below. More →
There has been plenty of discussion lately on how Nintendo can recover from its downward spiral, but none of the potential solutions have included allowing users to hack their consoles. Nevertheless, this might be a future Nintendo has to face if a recent European Union court ruling is upheld. Europe Online Magazine reports that the EU’s top court ruled on Thursday that “Nintendo cannot prevent its consoles from being tampered with to play multimedia from other providers, except in the case of illegally copied video games.” More →
Nintendo’s best-selling home console to date, which moved over 100 million units, has finally been retired. Kotaku noticed on Monday that Nintendo has updated its Japanese product page for the Wii with a short phrase which translates to “production ended.” Some consoles live much longer lives than the Wii, such as the PlayStation 2 — which has been through several redesigns since its release in 2000 — but Nintendo has decided to cap off its previous generation by shutting down production of the Wii all together. Nintendo will refocus entirely on its very successful portable platforms and the year-old, flailing Wii U as a new set of challenges arise in the form of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Nintendo will do its best to build on a relatively strong September as it hopes to find its way to as many shopping lists as possible this holiday season.
The Wii U might be the hottest thing in gaming right now, but that doesn’t mean Nintendo (NTDOY) needs to ditch the Wii’s simplistic motion controls and games. Like Sony (SNE) did with the PlayStation 2 when the PlayStation 3 launched, the Wii has the potential to continue to sell well in some markets where new consoles are too expensive. True, the majority of games on the Wii can be considered “shovelware,” but the console still has its fair share of gaming gems such as Sega’s MadWorld and Ubisoft’s No More Heroes 1 & 2 that were largely overlooked by many as Wii Sports fever took shape. According to Nintendo World Report, Nintendo could be preparing a shrunken down Wii “mini” for launch on December 7th. More →
Nintendo (NTDOY) on Monday announced that it plans to cut the price of its Wii gaming console to $129.99 prior to the holiday shopping season. The Japanese gaming company also revealed that Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resorts will now be bundled with the discounted console. Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales and marketing noted that “nearly six years after it launched, people are still attracted to the pure, inclusive fun of the Wii console” and suggested that a “new… retail price and the inclusion of two great games make it an easy choice for families looking for a great value this holiday season.” Nintendo expects the discounted Wii packages to arrive in U.S. stores by October 28th. The company’s press release follows below. More →
The video game industry continued to struggle in the United States last month as sales slid yet again according to market research firm The NPD Group. After dropping 34% year-over-year to $750.6 million in January, total video game hardware, software and accessory sales in the U.S. dipped to $1.06 billion in February, down 20% from the same period in 2011. Hardware sales dropped 18% to $381.4 million, software sales declined 23% to $464.4 million and accessory sales were down 16% to $215.2 million. “Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other methods to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $550 – $600 million in sales, which would bring total content spend across both retail and these other spend methods to $1.0B-$1.1B for February,” NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier said. “Our official quarterly estimate of the total Q1 2012 consumer spend in these areas will be released in our Q1 Games Market Dynamics: U.S. report in June.” Frazier noted that Microsoft’s Xbox was the best-selling hardware platform in February for the seventh straight month. NPD’s list of the top-10 best-selling software titles in February follows below. More →
Over the last year, the total time spent playing video games increased 7% and purchases of digital content and subscriptions rose 8% according to a study from Nielsen. Over half of all households, 56%, owned at least one current-generation gaming console as of January 2012, an increase from 50% in 2011. Mobile, handheld and tablet gaming continues to grow as well, with 66% of households with kids between 6 and 12 years old owning a Nintendo DS or Sony PSP, while also owning an iOS device. More adults ages 25 through 34 play games on Android devices than on iOS devices, but iOS gaming is evenly distributed across the various age groups covered by the study. As for next-generation game consoles, four out of five gamers who own current-generation systems are interested in a future console. More →
Sales of video game hardware and software in the United States plummeted last month according to new data from market research firm The NPD Group. The firm’s January figures suggest that sales of video game hardware fell 38% to $199.5 million, down from $324 million in January 2011. Video game software sales slid 38% as well in January, falling to $355.9 million, and sales of accessories in the U.S. dropped 18% year-on-year to $195.2 million. Total industry sales were down 34% to $750.6 million. “January retail performance experienced steep declines with a lack of software launches, and poor Hardware and Accessory performance partly related to bad comps from Kinect-related success in Jan’11,” NPD analyst Liam Callahan said in a statement. “Outside of new physical retail sales, we estimate that the consumer spend on other ways to acquire content including used games, full game and add-on content downloads, social network games, mobile games, rentals and subscriptions accounted for an additional $350 – $400 million in sales.” Callahan noted that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was the best-selling console for the sixth consecutive month in January, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was the top-selling software title. A complete list of NPD’s top-10 games for the month follows below. More →
Nintendo recently published a note in which it said it will report an annual operating loss of 45 billion yen ($575 million) for the December quarter. Analysts had expected the Japan-based gaming giant to report a 4.2 billion yen loss, Reuters said Thursday. The company now expects to ship 10 million Wii consoles, instead of the original 12 million projected, and 14 million units of its portable 3DS gaming consoles, down from 16 million units. “We had higher expectations for the year-end season, but failed to meet them,” President Satoru Iwata said while speaking to press in Osaka, Japan. Three analysts speaking to Reuters all agreed that Nintendo needs to rethink its strategy and understand that consoles could be a thing of the past. “Their time of growth [from console systems] is over, and, while I don’t think the company will cease to exist, if they don’t move into new categories, they will no doubt lose the great scale they’ve amassed,” Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management in Tokyo, told Reuters. Satoru Iwata has previously said that creating games for Apple’s iOS mobile platform is “absolutely not under consideration.” More →
Nintendo announced on Tuesday that it has shipped more than 4 million 3DS units worldwide in nine months. That’s more than the number of Wii units Nintendo sold during that console’s first nine months on the market, though Nintendo did announce that it sold more than 4.5 million Wiis in the U.S. alone last year. “One of the strongest software lineups in our history helped Nintendo have a great holiday season and to close 2011 with a full head of steam,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Not only have the new Mario and Zelda titles already broken records, but with strong reviews and satisfied customers sharing their positive experiences, all three are also shaping up to be the latest long-tail titles from Nintendo. Couple that with a massive first- and third party lineup in the first part of the year and the prospects for 2012 are extremely promising.” The 3DS initially had a slow start, but Nintendo’s decision to slash the price of the console helped boost sales almost immediately. The addition of new hit titles, such as Mario Kart 7, Super Mario 3D Land and the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D also helped attract new buyers. Nintendo’s full press release follows after the break. More →
New data from Nielsen suggests that console owners are using their Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii game consoles to stream video content more than ever before. “Streaming now represents a reported 14 percent of Xbox 360 time, 15 percent of PS3 time and 33 percent of Wii time,” Nielsen said Wednesday. The market research firm explained that the growth in time spent streaming was driven by services such as ESPN 3, Netflix, MLB Network and Hulu, but that time spent using consoles also increased overall. Console usage during the first half of 2011 jumped 7% from the same time period last year. Nielsen said gaming is the most popular activity on Xbox 360 (34% of usage), the PS3 is most used for DVD/Blu-ray viewing (22% of usage) and the Wii is used most for offline gaming (55% of usage). More →
Sales of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game console trounced the competition in November, nearly doubling PlayStation 3 sales and sales of Nintendo’s Wii console. According to November sales data from leading market research firm The NPD Group, Microsoft sold 1.7 million Xbox 360 consoles in November. While Sony managed unit sales growth of about 70% year-over-year, the company only sold about 900,000 PlayStation 3 consoles last month. Nintendo sold 860,000 Wii consoles, 795,000 portable Nintendo 3DS consoles and 350,000 older Nintendo DS units in November. “This is the fourth consecutive month in which the Xbox 360 has been the top selling hardware system,” NPD analyst Anita Frazier said in a statement. “The gap between 360 sales and sales of the next best selling platform was the largest we’ve seen since December 2008 when the Nintendo DS was the top selling system.” Total industry sales were up less than 1% to $3.00 billion in November according to NPD, and hardware sales dipped 9% from 2010 to $982.4 million. Software sales were up 15% year-over-year to $1.67 billion but accessory sales dropped 34% to $273.8 million despite strong holiday sales of Microsoft’s Kinect controller. The NPD Group’s list of the 10 best-selling video game titles in November follows below. More →
Nintendo announced earlier this week that the company kicked off the holiday shopping season with a bang, having seen record-setting sales of its Wii and multiple game titles. Nintendo sold more than 500,000 Wii consoles on Black Friday 2011 alone, making it the console’s biggest Black Friday ever. The company’s newest addition to the Zelda franchise, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, sold 535,000 copies since launching on November 20th to become the fastest-selling Zelda game of all time. Super Mario 3D Land, the first 3D Mario game for the Nintendo 3DS, sold more than 500,000 in two weeks, making it the fastest-selling Mario game of all time. Read on for more.