About six months ago I had a lofty, if unoriginal, idea. I wanted to do a blog about Nintendo, a gaming company whose products I’d been playing with since I was 6 years old.
But, what should I do with a blog about Nintendo?
At first, I thought that news and analysis of the company and its products was the way to go, regardless of the fact there was already a glut of Nintendo-related information on the Internet and dozens upon dozens of websites and blogs dedicated to spewing out news bits as they broke.
I’m one guy with a job and a family. I don’t have time to compete, and quite frankly the benefits of doing so are very limited.
For a brief moment, I thought analysis might be a more relaxed way to go. I’ve watched the video game industry for years, and if you know anything about analysts, that’s about 80 percent of the qualifying criteria. Luck and the ability to be coherent make up the remaining 20 percent. However, it seems to me a blog dedicated to analysis would be full of the kind of blowhard nonsense gamers love to hate. Let’s face it, we all have our preferences when it comes to gaming consoles and video games.
So today I find the best way to shift the focus of this blog is to simply write about what I know. I’m a gamer, a dedicated fan of Nintendo platforms (though not a fanboy), and I have a wealth of gaming memories and casual opinions on Nintendo topics that I can use to relate to other people. Hence, that’s what I’m going to do.
The Nintendo Wire ceases to be about hard gaming news, and will instead focus on the aspects of gaming that brings a lot of people together.
I hope you’ll find this new direction as refreshing as I will.
Controversial Chinese technology manufacturer Foxconn has taken the heat for employee underage interns to put together components of Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console, a Nintendo official stated to Kotaku today. Said Nintendo of America Senior Director of Corporate Communications Charlie Scibetta:
“Foxconn has taken full responsibility for this incident and has moved quickly to ensure that all affected individuals no longer work at Foxconn. In fact, Foxconn’s own policies prohibit the employment of underage individuals and the company has pledged to Nintendo via direct communications to improve its process of enforcing this policy to avoid any similar issues in the future.”
Nintendo will also be sending staff to personally monitor conditions at the manufacturing plants of its various partners.
Last week it was revealed Foxconn reportedly forced children as young as 14 years of age into extended shifts at the Chinese plant. Foxconn has come under fire this year for its working conditions at a factory that puts together notable tech products, such as the iPad.
Nintendo obviously needed to respond to the latest revelations quickly, and it’s fortunate for the game maker Foxconn has so publicly accepted full responsibility for its actions. But this likely won’t be the last time we hear of an issue like this.
Nintendo Life did a poignant piece this past weekend that explains the uncomfortable truth of how and why we get great consumer technology at an affordable price. It’s worth reading and then considering before you get too wrapped up in the kind of selfish desires that ultimately drive this and every consumer industry forward.
Can’t find a Wii U for the kids this Christmas? Maybe a nice consolation prize would be the new Skylanders Giants Wii bundle being released for the holiday shopping season?
Despite being a last-gen console (or two generations old, depending upon how elitist you are about graphics), the bundle does come with the newest game in the Skylander series, the video game equivalent of peanut butter and chocolate as far as kids are concerned. For $150 you get a Skylanders Giants Starter Pack, with an exclusive giant figure and a Wii console and remote in a shade of blue that hurts to look at.
However, if you do go the Skylander route, don’t think you’ll be getting away with spending just $150, as there are altogether somewhere approaching 100 figures, expansion sets and items your kids are going to want for the game that fall between $10 and $25 a piece.
With the launch of Wii U just weeks away, Slate.com has taken the occasion to reflect on Nintendo’s long history in making video games and its place in the industry today. Says the article’s author:
“The Nintendo brand name evokes a cast of gaming characters widely known and widely loved: Mario, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong. It conjures up for men of a certain age fond memories of collecting coins and shooting fireballs and breaking barrels.”
But it’s not all fun and games in the land of Nintendo. The article describes how Nintendo was losing ground to competition like Sony and Microsoft in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as well as how the company found its groove again in 2006 when it effectively went “casual” with the Wii.
“…Nintendo had brought back a sense of childlike wonder to video games. Media stories abounded about geriatrics playing Nintendo games and doctors using it for therapy. And, of course, millions of people picked them up off the shelves. To date, the Wii has sold nearly 97 million units worldwide, compared with the Xbox 360’s 67 million and the Playstation 3’s 64 million.”
Like many who’ve written about the upcoming Wii U, the author shares some reservations that the new console’s hook – its GamePad – will have the simplistic magic of the “Wiimote” that made everyone fall in love with the Wii.
“With two analog sticks, nine buttons, a D-pad, and a touchscreen, the GamePad looks like something that would operate the Curiosity rover, not something that will appeal to casual gamers.”
The Wii U has a lot to live up to, and in some sense its worst enemy might be its own predecessor console in terms of expectations. Hype among the general public for the Wii U has been muted compared to what the Wii received. Granted, the world of tech in 2012 is much different than it was in 2006 (remember that was pre-iPhone), so it’s hard to gauge where the public’s mood on Wii U really is.
Pre-sales for the console are sold out, and hype among the hardcore gamer crowd is healthy. It’s safe to say Nintendo is going to have a satisfying launch with the Wii U, but it’s going to have to be prepared for a strong follow up in the spring, when that 4-month launch window for the console closes. I see a strong right punch right out of the gate, what I’m looking for next is a mean left hook going into E3 2013.
Nintendo has reported its annual profits will be below the company’s previous expectations – way below.
Officials announced Wednesday it expects profits of $75.2 million (6 billion yen) by the end of its fiscal year in March. That’s down 70 percent from initial forecasts of $251 million (20 billion yen), and it was caused by weak overall sales of the 3DS.
While the handheld has been gaining momentum after a botched launch in the spring of 2011, sales haven’t picked up enough to meet Nintendo’s expected profits. Officials also blamed increased appreciation of the Japanese yen for the slashed financial forecast.
Nintendo is about to launch a new console, the Wii U, worldwide late this year, starting in the U.S. Nov. 18. Officials expect sales of the system to help pick up its earnings pace. They expect to sell roughly 5.5 million Wii U units globally by the end of its fiscal year. That accounts for half of the 10 million new gaming console units Nintendo expected to install in homes between the Wii U and the original Wii, which has seen a very recent price drop in advance of the holiday shopping season.