All Posts by: Alex Plant

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Nintendo DS Virtual Console Coming to Wii U

By Alex Plant, January 30, 2014 45

One of the stranger announcements out of today’s Nintendo investors’ meeting was that a Nintendo DS Virtual Console service is being planned for Wii U. This will enable Wii U owners to play DS software using the Wii U GamePad. The official mock-up image (click through to the full article to see) displays a screenshot from Brain Age, with the two screens being displayed side-by-side. It’s also possible that games will be able to display one image on the TV screen and one on the GamePad – but we won’t know until Nintendo reveals additional details.

What do you think of this? Would you buy DS software digitally and play it on Wii U? Click below to see the official mock-up.

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Future Nintendo Platform Will Be Account-Based Instead of Device-Based

By Alex Plant, January 29, 2014 25

It’s taken long enough, but Nintendo finally explained their vision for Nintendo Network IDs as a unified account system and for future handheld and console hardware to run on a unified platform.

During today’s investors’ briefing, Satoru Iwata admitted that the device-based account systems used on previous platforms including Nintendo DS, Wii, and Nintendo 3DS limited the degree to which Nintendo could maintain relationships with customers that extended across multiple devices. In the future, this won’t be a problem, he says: there will be a single platform, available across all of Nintendo’s devices, that uses a single account system.

Click below if you’d like to see the full explanation.

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GenGAME Daily 005: The Curious Case of DKC and the GamePad-Free Wii U

By Alex Plant, January 28, 2014 38

A report has surfaced saying that Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze does not use the Wii U GamePad display at all during normal play. You’ll just see a blank screen.

With Nintendo struggling to keep their Wii U business profitable – despite their holiday lineup and despite better 3DS sales, they’re projecting bigger losses this year than last year – many have taken this little detail as some kind of indication that Nintendo’s planning to drop the GamePad as a required piece of the system. I’ve got a different perspective.

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GenGAME Daily 004: What About the Gamers?

By Alex Plant, January 28, 2014 19

While the Game Industry is busy arguing about whether Xbox One or PS4 is better, or whether Nintendo will get out of the hardware business, or whether Michael Pachter might decide to one day look outside and say that yes, the sky is in fact blue, basically everyone seems to have been ignoring the real question: what about the gamers?

Except for this guy, apparently. He claims to have not touched a video game in the nine or so years since 2005, and yet his assessment of the industry is more honest than anything else I’ve seen during that time.

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Eiji Aonuma Announces Art Academy: SketchPad Drawing Contest for A Link Between Worlds

By Alex Plant, January 24, 2014 3

I don’t know if you’ve given the Art Academy: SketchPad app for Wii U a whirl yet, but it’s actually really competent, really cheap, and really fun to use. Even I, one of the world’s moste terriblé artistes, had a good time with it. Whether you’ve tried it or not, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma just gave one really good reason to: Nintendo is holding an art competition related to A Link Between Worlds on Miiverse.

Click below for the full contest announcement and rules, straight from Mr. Aonuma himself.

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EU Court Judges That Jailbreaking Video Game Systems is Legal

By Alex Plant, January 23, 2014 7

Nintendo’s been a big opponent of mods and homebrew hardware for as long as they’ve been in business. While of course the company has a vested interest in preventing circumvention of their copy protection measures to avoid piracy, they’ve always taken the stance that any and all mods are (or should be) illegal. Turns out the European Union court has judged that this isn’t the case.

The case, Nintendo v PC Box, establishes that EU law only protects Nintendo and other game companies’ efforts to “prevent or eliminate unauthorised acts of reproduction, communication, public offer or distribution, for which authorisation from the copyrightholder is required.” Measures that prevent other “commercially significant” uses, such as playing MP3s, movies, and other non-pirated content. Or, in other words, copyright protection only extends to the prevention of piracy, not the installation of custom homebrew software.

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Infamous: Second Son Has Reached Critical Mass

By Alex Plant, January 23, 2014 2

Infamous: Second Son has really evolved since its initial showing at PlayStation 2013. For many, it’ll be the first big Sony-developed title they play on their PlayStation 4 – so far, the biggest sellers have been the Usual Suspects, the Call of Dutys, the Battlefields, and the Assassin’s Creeds. The latest trailer is out to remind you that, yes, the content you can only find on PlayStation 4 is really the best slice of next-gen you’re going to get.

Click below to see Delsin Rowe run, jump, fly, and blow things up with his reactive powers. (Oh, and some carefully cherry-picked critic one-liners, too.) Infamous: Second Son arrives on PlayStation 4 on March 21.

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GenGAME Daily 003: Nintendo’s Biggest Problem is Software

By Alex Plant, January 18, 2014 70

It’s not looking good for Nintendo. Those nine million Wii U sales they hoped to scoop up this year were always out-of-reach, but they’ve finally had to come out and make it official: they’re not even close. And that 100 billion yen operating profit Mr. Iwata promised last year? Yeah, that’s not happening either.

Like clockwork, the critics have come out of the woodwork to wonder: why won’t Nintendo just go third-party and release their games on other devices? The assumption, of course, is that Nintendo has the best games in the business, and keeping them restricted to their own hardware just doesn’t work in this day and age. But if you look closely at Nintendo’s woes, the problem is plain: it’s their software that really isn’t performing.

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GenGAME Daily 002: Software Drives Hardware

By Alex Plant, January 8, 2014 13

Rule #1 of a successful console company: your business must be profitable. Simple, right? Rule #2 is similarly simple: your software must drive hardware sales. You can have the best, most powerful console with the best game library, but none of that inevitably matters if the software doesn’t drive people to actually pick up and play the darn thing. The software actually has to get people to buy the hardware.

The trap for Rule #2, however, is that not all software drives hardware in the same way.

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GenGAME Daily 001: Profitability Matters

By Alex Plant, January 3, 2014 38

It’s become kind of an industry tradition to call for Nintendo to go third-party and bring their games to other platforms. Lately, with the gross mishandling of Wii U, those calls have become much louder. It’s gotten so bad, people are starting to read everything as having to do with Nintendo eventually taking their games out of the dedicated hardware business.

For example, when Reggie Fils-Aime talked about Nintendo experimenting with mobile apps as marketing tools for software, we saw headlines like “Nintendo iOS Apps: Why You Shouldn’t Be Excited.” (The assumption, of course, is that people should be excited if Nintendo starts releasing its games as iOS apps.) Nintendo has, as always, dismissed this notion as absurd. Not gonna happen. Making Nintendo games available on non-Nintendo hardware would diminish the value of the software. They have been very insistent about this.

So why does it keep coming up? I think the root of the issue lies in fundamental misunderstandings about what it takes to be successful in the hardware business.

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Hyrule Warriors Teaser Trailer

By Alex Plant, December 18, 2013 44

The brand-new Zelda-themed collaboration between Tecmo Koei and Nintendo – Hyrule Warriors – received an action-packed teaser trailer in today’s Nintendo Direct. You can watch Link battle hordes of Bokoblins, Lizalfos, and even a giant Dodongo, using classic items like the Master Sword, Bombs, and the Fire Rod.

Click below to check out the trailer.

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Dr. Luigi Announced for Wii U eShop, Releases December 31

By Alex Plant, December 18, 2013 0

The Year of Luigi isn’t over yet – Nintendo announced a new game in the celebratory series today: Dr. Luigi. The new game takes the traditional Dr. Mario game and adds a unique twist: every capsule is L-shaped, consisting of two capsules. When you chain a combo, your opponent’s capsule will change as well, making it harder to plan their next move.

The game will also feature the original Dr. Mario, based on the WiiWare online version, as well as additional modes from that game. It’s set to launch on December 31 on Nintendo eShop for Wii U.