By Agence France-Presse TOKYO--Nintendo Co. said Thursday it will start offering videos through its blockbuster Wii game console, the latest new feature for the Japanese entertainment giant. Nintendo said it would develop original programming which Wii users could access via the Internet and watch on their television. It is considering videos for both free and fees. The game giant teamed up with Japan's leading advertising firm Dentsu Inc. to develop the service, which will begin in Japan next year, with an eye on future expansion into foreign markets. Japanese rival Sony Corp. has already started using its popular PlayStation series for online movie sales and advertising by placing corporate messages inside games, which often have highly niche audiences. One prominent advertiser was US president-elect Barack Obama, who placed campaign commercials inside a video game produced by Electronic Arts for Microsoft's XBox 360 console. Nintendo and Dentsu said they were soliciting businesses to take part in the project to develop original Wii videos. "Nintendo and Dentsu shall use the environment surrounding the Wii so that living rooms with Wii-ready TVs would become more of a fun area for communication among families and friends," the firms said in a joint statement. Nintendo has shipped 34.55 million Wii consoles around the world, 80 percent of which are sitting near televisions in living rooms, the company said, adding that 40 percent of Wii consoles are linked to the Internet. The Wii, launched ahead of the holiday season in 2006, is known for its innovative motion-sensitive controller which has appealed to people buying a video-game machine for the first time. Nintendo already enables Wii players to use the game consoles to surf the Internet, shop online, organize digital photos and to communicate with Wii-using friends. Nintendo in November launched in Japan the DSi, which comes with a built-in camera that lets allows the user to alter people's facial expressions.
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MANDALUYONG CITY -- Game development firm Kuju Manila has launched the first Filipino-made Nintendo Wii game called Circus Games. Circus Game was launched in the US this October and is targeted at younger players, groups and families. The game can be played by up to two players and has about 20 different circus themed mini-games. These require the use of the NintendoWiimote and the nunchuk attachment. Some of the mini-games require players to shoot or throw objects while others allow for catching items. The game is published by French company Ubisoft, which distributes popular titles such as Rainbow Six and Splinter Cell series. The game is also sold locally at Datablitz for about P2,000. Kuju Manila is formerly Matahari Studios which created games for the arcade shop Timezone. Matahari was then acquired last October to become a subsidiary studio by Kuju Entertainment based in the UK. Kuju Manila becomes the seventh development studio for Kuju Entertainment, which is credited for their work in such games as the EyeToy: Play 2 and EyeToy: Play 3 for the PlayStation 2, Call of Duty: Finest Hour, Geometry Wars, among others. It currently has 27 employees all of whom are Filipinos. The company aims to grow their employment roster to 50 or 60 by 2009 in anticipation for new projects after the acquisition. Kuju Manila General Manager Eric Marlow said the company's acquisition will widen their scope towards console and handheld games. However, they will still focus on casual, family-oriented games for the arcade and consoles. Marlow also said they are now working on two new titles, one of which he said is based on a popular title. Marlow is also a member of the Game Development Association of the Philippines, which is promoting the country as a hub for outsourced and original game development.
By Alex Villafania, hackenslash Reporter INQUIRER.net YOUR Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wiis are environmentally poisonous. So says the latest review of electronic waste by environmental advocacy group Greenpeace. The latest Guide to Greener Electronics by Greenpeace has rated console makers for the first time since the quarterly report started about a year ago. It also included LCD TVs, which are fast replacing old CRT monitors as the display panels of choice. The game console business is also one of the reasons more consumers are buying LCD TVs. In the latest report, Greenpeace rated Nintendo with a very low 0 out of 10 score for having no plans for recycling discarded consoles. Meanwhile, Microsoft had a score of only 2.7 out of 10. However, because both Nintendo and Microsoft are newcomers to the list, Greenpeace opined that both still have "room for improvement" in terms of their disposal strategies for old consoles. Incidentally, Sony's PlayStation business was not included on the list. Only the Japanese firm's mobile phone subsidiary Sony Ericsson is part of the current and previous rankings. Despite Microsoft not having an official Xbox 360 sales office in the Philippines, Microsoft Philippines' official statement sent to hackenslash stressed its commitment to environmental sustainability. "In our consumer electronics business, we comply with and exceed all environmental guidelines and regulations. We are committed to making ongoing progress on environmental issues while maintaining product durability, safety and performance," the company said in its statement. In addition, Microsoft Philippines spokesperson Mae Rivera-Moreno stressed that Microsoft has other initiatives that fall outside the scope of the Greenpeace survey. In particular, it is working with the US environmental organization Natural Resources Defense Council to make the Xbox 360 more energy-efficient. "We expect to implement product modifications over the next year that will demonstrate significant gains in energy efficiency. The Xbox 360 is packaged with 100-percent environmentally-friendly packaging that is approximately 30 percent less in volume over the original Xbox and eliminates the former use of styrene. Additionally, the Xbox 360 has environmentally-friendly technology integrated into the console, such as a low power mode. We also plan to phase out the use of substances such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFR) -- substances that have been associated with significant environmental impacts-- from our products, including the Xbox 360, by 2011,” Moreno said via e-mail.
By Agence France-Presse TOKYO, Japan--It could soon be game over for the Famicom, the vintage family computer that two decades ago set Japan's Nintendo on a path to become a global video game icon. Nintendo has decided to stop repairing the Famicom, the console that wowed the world with Super Mario Bros. and Dragon Quest, because stocks of spare parts are running out, company spokesman Ken Toyoda said. The family computer, which was sold as the Nintendo Entertainment System in the United States and Europe, made its world debut in Japan in 1983. Boasting far superior graphics to any other home video game console on the market at that time, it went on to sell almost 62 million units worldwide, and was followed by the Super Famicom, repairs of which will also be halted. "Some say it's sad Famicom is leaving and players are nostalgic, but Nintendo's saga has not ended. We want people to enjoy the Wii now," said the spokesman for the Kyoto-based firm, which began in 1889 making playing cards. Nintendo can hardly keep up with demand for the Wii, which is known for its innovative motion-sensitive controller and aimed at customers who normally would not play video games.
By Hiroko Tabuchi Associated Press TOKYO, Japan--Fresh off bumper earnings, Nintendo Co. ruled out a price cut for its smash hit Wii video game console Friday and announced the company will being selling the Wii in China next year. Profits at Nintendo have surged on the runaway success of the Wii and the portable Nintendo DS machine in North America, Europe and Japan, forcing rivals Sony Corp. and Microsoft Corp. to slash console prices in a desperate catch-up bid ahead of the holiday season. Nintendo president Satoru Iwata said the company was struggling to meet demand of the Wii and a price cut was out of the question. The Wii sells for $249.99 in North America, €249.00 in Europe and 25,000 yen in Japan -- all less than Sony's PlayStation 3 or Microsoft's Xbox 360. "We're still focusing on how to meet booming demand," Iwata said Friday. "We're absolutely not considering a price cut." Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, Iwata said Nintendo planned to start selling Wiis in China next year, opening up a previously untapped market for the manufacturer of Pokemon and Super Mario games. "We barely have enough Wiis to meet global demand this year. But next year, I think we can bring the Wii to China," Iwata said. Nintendo still needed to work with Chinese games developers to craft games suited to the market there, Iwata said. He declined to give a sales target, but said Nintendo's "future potential there is huge." Since the Wii debuted in November, Nintendo has sold 13.17 million units worldwide and expects to sell 17.50 million this fiscal year through next March. Nintendo said Thursday that net profit more than doubled to 132.42 billion yen ($1.16 billion) in the six months to Sept. 30, and raised its profit forecast for the fiscal year to 275 billion yen ($2.40 billion) from the 245 billion yen it forecast in July.
By Yuri Kageyama Associated Press TOKYO--Nintendo's "Wiimote" is getting a cushion cover. The Japanese gamemaker's Wii machine has become a global hit among players young and old alike who use its wandlike remote control for fishing, golfing, tennis and other video games. To help prevent accidents and soften possible blows, Nintendo Co. is shipping for free rubbery silicone covers for the handheld devices -- just in case overly excited players see the Wiimote flying out of their hands. The notice about the free Wii "jackets" has been sent as a message to owners who have their Wii machines connected to the Internet, and a notice is also posted on the company webpage, company spokesman Yasuhiro Minagawa said Wednesday. Wii remotes going on sale after about Oct. 15 will come with the covers, Nintendo said. The company has already strengthened the straps for the remotes that go around the wrist to help keep them fixed in players' hands. It recalled the remotes to exchange the straps in December after people complained they were coming loose, even crashing into TV sets. Minagawa said the company has not received any reports of bodily injuries from the Wiimote. The Wii console from the Kyoto-based manufacturer of Super Mario and Pokemon games has drawn relative newcomers to gaming, including the elderly and women, with easier-to-play games such as brain teasers, cooking recipes and virtual pet dogs. "This is a totally new game experience. There's a chance some people may still be a little worried," Minagawa said of the covers. "This is not because there were any problems. It's strictly a precaution." Since the Wii went on sale late last year, Nintendo has shipped 9.3 million of the consoles around the world, with supplies barely keeping up with demand, especially in the US and Europe. By the end of this fiscal year in March 2008, Wii global shipments are expected to have reached a cumulative 22.3 million.
I LOVE the Soul Calibur series, so it's pretty exciting to hear that Namco Bandai is coming out with a new third-person action game called Soul Calibur Legends exclusively for the Nintendo Wii. Here's an excerpt from the Gamasutra story:
Soul Calibur Legends will follow Siegfried and other Soul Calibur characters as they quest to save an empire from destruction. Using the Wii remote and nunchuk, players will perform moves and combos as they combat "scores of enemies and large bosses," according to an official statement announcing the game's development.
GOOD news: Nintendo has promised to boost Wii production to cope with the huge demand for the gaming console. Here's an excerpt from the Associated Press story:
"We must do our best to fix this abnormal lack of stock," Nintendo President Satoru Iwata told reporters. "We have not been able to properly foresee demand."
The comments came a day after the Japanese manufacturer of the Wii -- which comes with a wand that can be used as a sword, tennis racket or fishing rod depending on the game -- reported that sales nearly doubled for the fiscal year, lifted by robust sales of the Wii and the DS portable, a handheld video game. Kyoto-based Nintendo Co.'s net profit jumped 77 percent to 174.29 billion yen (US$1.47 billion; 1.08 billion euros) in the year through March, up dramatically from 98.38 billion yen a year earlier. Sales soared 90 percent to 966.53 billion yen (US$8.13 billion; 5.96 billion euros). The Wii has pummeled its rivals in a head-to-head battle in next-generation video game consoles involving Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3, which has been plagued with production problems, and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360.