GoNintendo 'End of Day' thought - Nintendo swings back to black

Middle of the week, gang. I'll be covering the site all day tomorrow, as Daan will be busy. He's taking a round on Thursday do, so you'll still get your fix! Either way, we've got you covered! See you in a few, short hours.

For a couple years there, Nintendo was navigating some rough waters. They were incurring losses that weren't huge, but they were certainly new for the company. Nintendo had prided itself on being a company that didn't report operating loss each fiscal quarter, but that changed when the 3DS and Wii U came around. Obviously Nintendo fought hard to turn things around for the 3DS, and that fight still continues on with equal emphasis put on Wii U.

Thankfully, it seems that that hard work and attention to detail is finally paying off. While 3DS may not be selling at DS-levels of units, it's certainly doing well for Nintendo. Also, I'm extremely happy to see that consumers are finally checking out the Wii U. Again, we aren't seeing megaton numbers by any means, but it's very clear that an upward trend is taking place.

When it comes to Wii U, the big turnaround can be attributed to Mario Kart 8. An absolutely stellar title that makes the Wii U an irresistible system for a lot of people. That one game has been responsible for moving a lot of Wii U units of the shelf and finding new owners. That promise is only getting bigger with both Smash Bros. Wii U and amiibo around the corner, which could really shift this Wii U momentum into next gear.

The solid 3DS and minor Wii U turnaround were enough to put Nintendo back in the black with the release of their latest fiscal data. One would imagine that things will go quite well for Nintendo around the world this holiday season, with Pokemon to push 3DS and Smash/amiibo to push Wii U. I'll certainly keep my fingers crossed for another good report when then next financial briefing rolls around. For now, let's be happy that Nintendo is getting their mojo back.

Kickstarter launching for UCraft funding

Nearly 8 months ago Nexis Games Studio began work on UCraft and ever since then it has been our goal to deliver the best experience possible and to be as forth coming as possible with our beloved gaming community. As many of you know Video Game design can be a very expensive venture especially with a games like UCraft, The Dance of the Damned and Ride. Right now I am a one man studio and not only am I responsible for all financial expenses but I also handle all of the Programming, Art, Game Design, Music Engineering, Social Media, Trailers and Paperwork.

That said Nexis Games is preparing our first KickStarter campaign for UCraft because we need your help to make this game great. UCraft deserves nothing but the best in Art, Music, Design and engineering and with your support we can make it happen! By supporting this KickStarter you ensure that UCraft will be great and something that we as Nintendo Lovers can be proud to call our own.

As an added benefit those who purchase a Digital Copy of UCraft through our KickStarter will receive access to an exclusive texture pack that will only be available to Backers. As always we thank you for your support and we look forward to supporting the Wii U for many years to come!

Kickstarter here (not yet launched)

Smash Bros. Wii U - Oct. 30th, 2014 screen

Smash Bros. 3DS - online match with two New 3DS systems

Direct link here

Iwata explains Nintendo's Quality of Life platform in great detail

Coming from Satoru Iwata...

Everyone needs to sleep, and all of us get tired. There is no argument that whether or not we have sound sleep or not significantly affects our health, and many of us recognize through our daily lives that accumulated fatigue makes it difficult to maintain good health. However, we tend to recognize these conditions in a subjective fashion. Fatigue and sleep are themes that are rather hard to visualize in more objective ways. At Nintendo, we believe that if we could visualize them, there would be great potential for many people regardless of age, gender, language or culture.

Of course, there are currently several existing ways to measure our sleep status. However, even though there must potentially be significant demand to visualize sleep, there have not been any definitive products to date. We believe that this must be because devices launched so far have required consumers to make some kind of effort, which made it rather difficult to continue.
I decided that Nintendo should step into this QOL business because:

The company has now reached the point where we will be able to realize the Five “Non” Sensing elements. Five “Non” Sensing is the concept that in spite of eliminating the five things that have been necessary so far, we still can measure the status of sleep and fatigue automatically.
Among these Five “Non” Sensing elements, I mentioned the first keyword, “non-wearable,” which means that you do not need to attach anything to your body, during our last Corporate Management Policy Briefing. I believe, and I think many of you will agree, that we want to wear only things that are very comfortable when we go to bed. If we need to wear a device, say, on our wrist, or if we need to install some special equipment in our bed, we will sometimes forget, which therefore makes it hard to continue. Thus, I believe the “non-wearable” concept is very important. The next one is “non-contact,” which means that the product will not have any physical contact with your body. While attaching a sensor to your body is convenient for giving you a read out of your biological information, few people appear to enjoy having unusual objects attached to their bodies while sleeping. Therefore, the ability to measure without physical contact is another important point. The next one is “non-operating.” Not requiring the user to operate the device is another key point, as it can encourage continuity. Not everyone has a clear head when they get into or out of bed. Whether we have to operate a device or not when we get into and out of bed significantly changes our ability to continue. Another factor is “non-waiting,” or in other words, eliminating the wait for measurement results to be produced. From sensing to analysis, measuring biological information inevitably takes some time. This is one of the issues we could not overcome with our “Wii Vitality Sensor” project. However, if we can make it so that the measurement can be done automatically while the user is sleeping, and if it can be done without any operation, the user does not need to wait. Finally, “non-installation efforts,” or not requiring users to go through the trouble of installing the product to start is another important key factor.

Visualizing sleep and fatigue by automatically measuring sleep condition under this concept of Five “Non” Sensing is going to be the first step for Nintendo’s QOL business.

We will prepare the QOL Sensor that will automatically measure sleep condition under this Five “Non” Sensing concept. All you have to do is place the QOL Sensor on your bedside.
Inside the QOL Sensor is a non-contact radio frequency sensor, which measures such things as the movements of your body, breathing and heartbeat, all without physically touching your body. This automatically gathered data will be transmitted to the QOL cloud servers, which will then analyze the data measured by the sensor and visually represent sleep and fatigue results.

To achieve the visualization of sleep and fatigue, we have formed a business alliance with ResMed, which is headquartered in the U.S. and is the leading corporation in the world that develops, manufactures and markets medical equipment for the treatment, diagnosis and management of Sleep Disordered Breathing, COPD and other chronic diseases. The company operates business in dozens of different countries around the world while its main business is conducted in the U.S. I understand that they have many users in Japan too.

They have now provided Nintendo’s QOL business with the core of the Five “Non” Sensing elements, namely, non-contact sensor measurement technology and sleep condition estimation technology.
ResMed has been contributing to improving patients’ QOL in the medical equipment field by improving their sleep condition, and for Nintendo, a company that develops, manufactures and markets products for the general public, we think this partnership is a good fit as both companies can bring out each other’s strengths.

Since fatigue per se is not regarded as a disease in the medical world, it is said to be a field where sufficient research has yet to be conducted. We have been fortunate to encounter several experts who have been conducting cutting-edge research in the science of fatigue. Together, we are now developing technology to estimate fatigue.

Dr. Yasuyoshi Watanabe is an expert in a wide variety of health-related fields, and his name is recognized in fatigue science around the world. Dr. Watanabe kindly provided us with his comment: “Accurate and simplified fatigue measurements enable self-comprehension of the body which is very significant for contemporary humans, and I think it can be used as the benchmark to improve our QOL. We will all do our utmost to achieve this world-first product.”
The state-of-the-art research results in fatigue science that Dr. Hirohiko Kuratsune and Dr. Seiki Tajima have been jointly conducting will also be used in fatigue visualization for Nintendo’s QOL platform.

If we can realize the visualization of sleep and fatigue with Five “Non” Sensing elements, the QOL improvement cycle will go as follows:

First, with Five “Non” Sensing aspects, your sleep and fatigue can be automatically measured. All you will have to do is place the QOL sensor near your bed and then sleep as usual. The collected data will be transmitted to the QOL cloud servers and will be analyzed and evaluated. Based upon the sleep and fatigue status of the consumer which have both been “visualized,” services intended to improve QOL will be proposed. More specifically, a variety of actions will be recommended. Consumers will be encouraged to take certain actions, such as exercising or changing diet. Then, the results will be measured through Five “Non” Sensing elements each day. By continuing the measurements every day, users will be able to observe a gradual change achieved by their actions. This cycle can contribute to the improvement of QOL, and the QOL improvement platform can help realize it.

To summarize, With Five “Non” Sensing aspects, we will make it easy for anyone to use it.
With Nintendo’s know-how of hospitality as well as of making people want to continue, we will encourage people to enjoy using it every day. As a result, a meaningful cycle will be established aiming to improve people’s QOL. These are the basic elements of our QOL improvement platform.


Nintendo's pre-download system kicking off with Smash Bros. Wii U

Coming from Satoru Iwata...

Also, we will be implementing what we call a “pre-download” system with “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U” that will be released at the end of this year.

The “pre-download” system is a system in which consumers who have purchased the game before its release can download most of the game content in advance. Using this system, consumers will not have to wait for a long time to download the game after its release. They will then be able to start playing the game by only downloading a requisite minimum amount of update data.

In addition to the automatic distribution system at the time of purchase, which I have just explained, the “pre-download” system will be available with download cards sold at stores as well, by entering the download code at Nintendo e-Shop in advance. Consumers will not be required to save the download card until the release of the game if they enter the download code on the day of purchase.

This system will be implemented on Wii U first, and is planned for Nintendo 3DS next year.
As I have mentioned today, we are working on various approaches to make the digital business more user-friendly by providing a variety of payment methods, expanding distribution channels and enhancing consumer convenience.


Iwata discusses the multiple purchasing methods for Wii U/3DS digital games, sees success on Amazon

Coming from Satoru Iwata...

As to the Japanese market, we are continuing our proactive approach on the expansion of digital distribution channels. Among convenience store chains, we have started selling POSA download cards at Lawson and Seven-Eleven. As for online shopping, we have started selling download codes on Amazon.

As a result, regarding the download version of “Super Smash Bros. for 3DS,” the rate of sales through retailers has gone higher than any other game that Nintendo has released. We feel positive that the expansion of distribution channels will lead to the expansion of market size.

On the other hand, as for the U.S. market, we have started direct digital sales through nintendo.com, the homepage of our subsidiary, Nintendo of America. Consumers who are interested in a game can visit the homepage for more information, and from there, they can purchase the game online or find a retailer that sells it.

Along with enhancing convenience, we are working on expanding the area of contact between consumers and digital content to make game purchases easier and more convenient. For example, other than access from PCs, We have made access from smart devices possible as well.
In this manner, we will work even more proactively on expanding digital distribution channels in a way that follows the marketability of each country, the market and business customs, and expand the area where consumers can come into contact with our products.

In addition, we are continuing our approach on enhancing convenience for consumers who have purchased the download version of a game. Until now, consumers were required to turn on the game platform and enter the download code at Nintendo e-Shop to play the download version of a game purchased at an online shop, which created a usability issue. From now, by entering the Nintendo Network ID (NNID) and password at the time of purchase at an online shop, the game will be automatically downloaded through the SpotPass feature, without requiring consumers to enter the download code at Nintendo e-Shop on Wii U or Nintendo 3DS. This function makes possible, for example, purchasing a game at an online shop while being away from home, and enjoying the game soon after arriving home, without having to wait for the game to be downloaded, which would be completed by then. This function is available at Rakuten Books and yodobashi.com starting today, and it will be available at other online shops, including Amazon, in future.

This automatic distribution system has also been implemented for digital sales at nintendo.com in the U.S, as introduced earlier. By clicking on the orange button and entering your NNID and password at the time of purchase, automatic distribution is made possible. Then, the game is automatically downloaded through the SpotPass feature after purchase, without requiring the consumer to enter the download code at the Nintendo e-Shop on the game platform.


Nintendo considering Suica payment options on the 3DS in Japan

Coming from Satoru Iwata...

We are considering making Suica payments available also on New Nintendo 3DS. If this is made possible, since there is an abundance of under-500-yen digital content for Nintendo 3DS, we are expecting new possibilities and opportunities.


Some amiibo to be sold as limited-time offers, says Iwata

Coming from Satoru Iwata...

Firstly, amiibo figures are offered at an affordable price range when compared to packaged video game software. Even people who may not be able to purchase software frequently may be able to afford to purchase character figures one by one. This could spark interest in the game or contribute to maintaining use rates of our video game platforms.

The amiibo figure lineup for “Super Smash Bros.” will continue to be released even after this year-end sales season, and we hope that this will help to update store shelves. As store shelf space is limited, some amiibo will remain stocked on the shelves as staple choices while some will be limited-time offers which will cede their positions to new ones once they are sold out.
With these offerings, I believe the Nintendo characters lined up on shelves, which usually only contain standard-sized boxes, will have an outstanding presence, and this means a lot to us.
Even though amiibo will be compatible only with Wii U at the launch, we are proactively making progress on Nintendo 3DS compatibility. As the New Nintendo 3DS handheld contains an NFC reader/writer, it will be able to support amiibo after a software update. The Nintendo 3DS platform will also be able to do the same via an external NFC reader/writer, which is scheduled to be launched in 2015. With these offerings, we will increase the amiibo compatible software lineup for Nintendo 3DS.

amiibo is a new category of products for us that creates a new kind of value by being supported by multiple titles. We hope that by making amiibo figures compatible with multiple titles, consumers will be happy to carry the figures with them and will be eager to try them with new software.

In “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U,” amiibo is an in-game character that you battle and train, and it can play with you as your buddy or even your opponent. Of course, amiibo support will vary depending on the title and this is only an example of the possibilities. We will offer further instances of amiibo compatability with various products next year.


Smash Bros. 3DS launching first is good for the franchise, Smash Wii U preorders rose after recent presentation

Coming from Satoru Iwata...

As I have mentioned, “Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS” kicked off very well. Now I would like to explain how it will affect the Wii U installment.

As for bringing the “Super Smash Bros.” franchise into multiplatform format and releasing the Nintendo 3DS version first, there had been skepticism that each would end up consuming the demand for the other or it would weaken a key title for the Wii U platform. We now have a strong belief that our decision is giving the “Super Smash Bros.” franchise even more momentum. On the morning of October 24 in Japan, we released a trailer titled “Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 50-Fact Extravaganza.” A great number of people watched it online and we received a large amount of feedback.

The two installments of “Super Smash Bros.” are packed with elements that utilize the specific features of each platform. Before disclosing the “Extravaganza” trailer, people had been skeptical of whether we could actually have 50 new facts about the Wii U version. But as the trailer showcased the differences between the two versions, which seemed to surpass expectations, pre-orders for the Wii U version rapidly started to increase.

“Super Smash Bros.” is the most appealing when played together with others, and as the two versions have noticeable differences, they will not cannibalize each other. Rather, as more copies of the Nintendo 3DS version are sold and more people enjoy it, the momentum for the Wii U version becomes stronger.


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