Tag: Nintendo

Nintendo’s CD refusal pays off

In the 1990s the former maker of playing cards  Nintendo faced much mock when it decided against using CDs on its Nintendo 64 system and stuck with expensive and (in comparison) lower-capacity cartridges.

Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn, both used CDs and Nintendo’s choice lost a lot of loyal third-party supporters who went to the PlayStation.

Now retro collectors are saying that Nintendo’s stubbornness was actually far sighted because optical media is rotting away while the cartridges still go on.

The world is fast learning that even if you care for CDs they are useless after 30 years’ service because the chemicals used in the disc’s protective layers fail.

The CD’s  reflective layer, usually made of aluminium also starts to oxidise and the discs “bronze” over.

However, cartridges are traditionally quite robust – hence the fact that people are still happily playing Atari VCS and NES games on original hardware – so N64 games should continue to be playable for quite some time yet.

Nintendo Switch headed to disaster

Nintendo_former_headquarter_plate_KyotoFormer playing card maker Nintendo has released details of its new Switch console but found that reviewers were less than impressed  and users worried about the price and availability.

Nintendo priced its first console in about four years above market expectations, disappointing investors and clouding its prospects of winning back gamers who have shifted from consoles to smartphones

The Switch is a hybrid home console and handheld device, on March 3. It will be priced $299.99 in the United States which is the same as Nintendo’s Wii U console. Japanese buyer are expected to pay 20 per cent more than the Wii.

The pricing left Nintendo shares ending at a two month low after falling as much as 6.3 percent.

Few pe0ple can see the logic of the price and analysts think that the outfit scored an own goal – effectively pricing itself out of the market. This was bad as it needed a winner after the Wii U flopped due to a dearth of popular game titles and a consumer migration to smartphone games, pushing the company into a loss for three years since March 2014.

Analysts said the Switch is likely to offer a richer game lineup than its predecessor as the new console is powered by processor chips based on game developer-friendly architecture by designer ARM.

Nintendo said more than 50 game software makers are developing 80 titles for the Switch. Of those, eight will be available at the time of launch in Japan, including “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

Other reports suggest that Nintendo has made the mistake of limiting supply in the US to the point where available units will disappear in minutes.  It will take months for those who actually want a machine to get one.

Nintendo previously said it expects to ship 2 million Switch consoles by the end of March.

Nintendo shares plummet because it can’t make Pokemon Go

Nintendo_former_headquarter_plate_KyotoNintendo’s share price crashed by 17 percent after investors worked out that the former maker of playing cards didn’t really  make Pokémon Go.

Since the game launched in mid-July, Nintendo’s share price has more than doubled but  Nintendo admitted it neither makes, nor owns, Pokémon Go and the fact was never hidden by any of the companies involved.

Pokémon Go “is developed and distributed by Niantic, Inc”, an independent company spun off from Google in August 2015. Both Google and Nintendo hold stakes in Niantic. It added that Nintendo owns 32% of the voting power within the Pokémon Company, which itself will receive “a licensing fee and compensation for collaboration in development and operations”.

Nintendo concluded, “the income reflected on the company’s consolidated business results is limited”. It will make more direct income from Pokémon Go Plus, a peripheral due to be released this summer which will allow partial interaction with the game without the need to turn on the phone, but that income too is already reflected in the company’s predictions for the 2016–17 financial year. So, in other words, Nintendo’s not getting rich from Pokémon Go .

Even if Nintendo doesn’t take much cash home from Pokémon Go, the game’s success could convince the company to put more efforts into its home-grown smartphone development. If it does, that could signal a longer-term reversal in the company’s fortunes than any one game could ever provide.


Nintendo thought its Wii U would sell 100 million

Nintendo_former_headquarter_plate_KyotoNintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has explained during a recent investor Q&A session that some within Nintendo were incredibly optimistic about its piss poor console

Kimishima was skeptical about the system’s chances prior to launch but there were those in Nintendo who felt that the U would sell 100 million.

For those who came in late, the Wii U has sold just over 12.5 million units to date, and is one of Nintendo’s most disappointing releases.

Kimishima said that during an internal sales representative meeting, someone projected that the firm would sell close to 100 million Wii U systems worldwide.

“The thinking was that because Wii sold well, Wii U would follow suit. I said that, since the Wii had already sold so well, we need to clearly explain the attraction of the Wii U if we are to get beyond that and sell the new system,” he said.

What they had not considered was the rise of the keyboardless netbook as the tablet craze was at its height and the Tame Apple Press was banging on about it being a cure for cancer.

Shigeru Miyamoto said the emergence of tablet devices as another reason for the Wii U’s failure.

He said: “It is true that we are having a hard time with Wii U sales, due to its price and the added fact that tablets are distributed free of charge in the market.  I think Wii U continues to be attractive as a media device that changes life in the living room.”

Nintendo planning a restructuring

Nintendo_former_headquarter_plate_KyotoNintendo’s most recent fiscal-year disclosure mentioned that it was planning some serious corporate restructuring.

The outfit has been rolling out more details about how that restructuring will work, and accidently released some news about its new business plans.  Yesterday it was talking about the company’s amended articles of incorporation, expected to be approved by shareholders this June. In the document are three new entries in its “business engagement” list. Apparently Nintendo wants to get into restaurants, medical and health devices, and “computer software”.

Nintendo has publicly announced, then backpedalled on its heart rate monitor (the Wii Vitality Sensor) and a sleep-tracking system. Nintendo-themed restaurant seems pretty obvious, particularly in Japan. But why add “computer software” to the mix? Nintendo already writes computer software, so it might have something else in mind.

That list mentioned that Nintendo will license its “intellectual property rights.”

Nintendo does have some engaged businesses which include things that it has not made for years. This includes office equipment and tools and sporting equipment.  This part of the restructuring might not lead to new products and might just be a legal trick to allow some decent patent trolling.


Nintendo flushes the last of the Wii

Funny-Toilet-221Nintendo is flushing its Wii U this year ending its reign of toilet themed games consoles, according to a report from Japan’s Nikkei.

The Wii U console sold poorly compared to the Wii which was a ray of gold in the darkness in 2012. Nintendo has already stopped manufacturing certain Wii U accessories.

While Wii U hardware is being discontinued, it looks like the launch of the company’s next platform — codenamed NX — is not guaranteed this year. This means users will be caught short if they are looking for Wii.

Nintendo plans to splash out on its  next-generation console sometime in 2016, but there is no guarantee it will be in the shops anytime soon. The company launched its first mobile app, Miitomo, last week.

Nintendo has sold just 12.6 million Wii U consoles since 2012. Its previous home console, Wii sold more than 100 million units.



Nintendo’s share price flushed down the U bend

Funny-Toilet-221The console maker with a toilet fixation has seen its shares plummet after delaying a move to offer its games on mobile phones.

Nintendo, the maker of much Wii, has ignored calls to put its games onto mobile phones for ages. Then after it changed its mind and set an early 2016 date for the launch, it saw its shareholders get excited.

Now the outfit has pushed the launch of the games a few months to March 2016, disappointing gaming fans as well as investors who drove its shares down by more than 10 percent.

Fans and investors had hoped it would include its best-selling videogame franchise Mario in the first lineup.

Chief Executive Tatsumi Kimishima said the delay would help Nintendo concentrate on selling its existing consoles and game software during the year-end holiday season.

“The year-end is traditionally our peak season for sales. This way, we’d be able to introduce our new applications after the holiday season is over.”

He did not say if Mario would come to smartphones, instead introducing a new social networking service-style application called “Miitomo” which would be available in March.

However the news knocked Nintendo’s shares down more than 10 percent in morning trade, erasing earlier gains. DeNA Co, Nintendo’s mobile gaming partner, fell as much as 19 percent.

Although shareholders and gamers want Nintendo to put its catalogue onto mobiles there are some fears that its traditional reluctance are justified. If done incorrectly Nintendo could cannibalise traditional console sales.


Nintendo reported a weaker than expected operating profit for the July-September quarter on tepid sales of game software, apparently. Tepid. Now that’s a word and a half.

Nintendo joins Khronos for open source Vulkan

spokeNintendo has quietly joined the Khronos Group which is a not-for-profit consortium of academics and media companies dedicated to managing open-standard graphics APIs like OpenGL and its successor, Vulkan.

A NeoGaf post, noted that Nintendo’s name was added to the list of Khronos Group contributing members earlier this month.

The news is somewhat surprising. Nintendo failed to make its membership public and it puts it on track to head down an unexpected route.

Practically it means Nintendo has joined up with companies like Microsoft, AMD, Sony, Oculus and Nvidia to exert some influence over the development and promotion of license-free, royalty-free products using Khronos.

As a Khronos Group contributor Nintendo has full voting rights and is empowered to participate in the group’s API development, but it doesn’t have a seat on the Khronos Group board and can’t participate in the final ratification process of new API specifications.

If all of them went with it, it could see the big names in the graphics business focused on a single open sauce standard. Vulkan does seem to be moving forward with AMD saying it should have a chip using the standard next year. The only problem AMD is facing is that some of the hardware needed might be proprietary, but will move to pure Open Sauce eventually.

HR man becomes Nintendo boss

Nintendo_former_headquarter_plate_KyotoFormer card maker Nintendo has shuffled its management deck and appointed a human resources executive to President.

Tatsumi Kimishima, 65, will succeed the legendary and now dead Satoru Iwata, the company said Monday. Kimishima has worked for Pokemon and was chief executive officer of Nintendo of America where he oversaw the US introduction of the Wii console and the 3DS handheld device.

Kimishima has his work cut out improving Nintendo.  Its business model has been undermined by competitors’ free-to-play games on mobile devices and weak sales of its Wii U machine.

Nintendo’s revenue has fallen six straight years, dropping to 550 billion yen ($4.6 billion) in the 12 months ended March 2015. That is less than when Iwata took the role. The company has sold about 10 million units of the Wii U since its introduction in 2012.

Nintendo is set to release its first game service for smartphones this year and is preparing a new console code-named NX.

Kimishima said that the basic direction and strategy won’t change and he will continue along the path set by Iwata.

Iwata was the face of Nintendo for 13 years, fronting everything from product announcements to analyst meetings. Iwata, the first president from outside the Yamauchi family since the company was founded in the late 19th century, tripled revenue through new devices and interactive figurines called Amiibo.

The company last week announced a new Pokemon title that uses a Bluetooth-ready button to interact with characters displayed in the real world. Nintendo has 32 percent of Pokemon’s voting rights.

Nintendo also is working with Universal Parks & Resorts to offer attractions based on its intellectual property.

Since his death in July from bile duct cancer, the Kyoto-based company has been led by Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario and Zelda series, and Genyo Takeda, the architect of the Wii console.

“We thought it’s better that Takeda and Miyamoto manage hardware and software, and I control administration,” Kimishima said. The new system is meant “to bring up the next-generation executives of Nintendo,” he said.

Miyamoto and Takeda will take the roles of “Creative Fellow” and “Technology Fellow,” respectively.

Japanese PM picks Nintendo for role model

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has picked a strange role model upon which to base his cunning plan to save the Land of the Rising Sun’s economy.

In a speech to the Japanese Diet, Abe was asked about his cunning plan to get Japan to start growing again. Things are not going that well in Japan and there are those who would like it to do a little better.

To rally the troops Abe used the purveyor of the Wii itself, Nintendo:

“Over there, Nintendo made hanafuda cards, but gradually the people playing hanafuda decreased. However, that company called Nintendo makes hanafuda cards and whatnot, and I believe that only by doing that, it wasn’t able to protect hanafuda,” Abe said.

He said that Nintendo used technical expertise to lead the way in developing home video game consoles while at the same time keeping the traditional hanafuda cards. He thinks that this is something that the Japanese can learn.

Four years ago, Abe might have had an argument with his Nintendo comparisons. If Abe had time to check Nintendo financial statements, he might have not mentioned the outfit.

While he did make a good point about how Nintendo was able to protect its traditional business and at the same time expand into new areas, he failed to spot that the company, which depended on Italian plumbers is going down the gurgler.

Still, it could have been worse, he could have claimed that Sony was a success story.