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Famitsu was able to talk to a bunch of the Japanese developers at E3 to get their opinions on the next generation of consoles, and Next Generation has the translation. The opinions seem to be pretty much off-the-cuff remarks, so there’s not a lot of heavy or in-depth information, and most of the response is positive for all consoles. Famitsu was able to talk to developers from Capcom, Tecmo, Sega, Namco, and more.

Amongst the praise for the new consoles, a few insults were tossed, most notably from the outspoken game designer from Team Ninja, Tomonobu Itagaki, who reportedly said, “It is most interesting to see Sony made the decisive judgment to revert the PlayStation 3 controller to its true shape. It takes great bravery for a company to change something that has already been announced.” He is still probably the Xbox 360’s biggest backer in Japan, as well, declaring “America’s love for the Xbox 360 has yet to waver. If only America would just explain Japan why they love the Xbox 360 already…” and also suggested that he might consider developing a title for Nintendo’s Wii, if only to give a break to people between their sessions of Dead or Alive Extreme 2.

Overall, however, developers seemed genuinely interested in how the Wii controller will shake things up, some effusive, while some were cautious about how well the controller would really take hold in the market. Concerns were expressed over the PS3 price, but many thought that the hardware was strong and the networking possibilities were intriguing.


Read More | Next Generation

Gallery: Japanese Developers On Next Generation


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DescriptionJune 3rd Video Games Live will be stopping in Philadelphia, PA.  Video Games Live is a live concert which features games and performances from such classics as Mario, Zelda, Halo and Final Fantasy.  The show will be at the Merriam Theater and tickets start at $25 dollars.  The event has already received much praise for past performances and is definitely worth checking out for fanboys of all backgrounds.  The event will kick off with a video game inspired costume contest at 7PM.  The concert also features a Guitar Hero contest with a special guitar being bestowed upon the rockingest video game fan in Philly.

More shows will be coming to Rosemont (IL), Hollywood (CA), and Toronto (Canada).  Tickets are available on Ticketmaster for all the events.


Read More | Video Games Live

Gallery: Video Games Live in Pennsylvania June 3rd


Wii The Wiire is sporting an interview with Guitar Hero Senior Designer Rob Kay about his thoughts on the Wii and the gaming industry in general. He seems to agree with a lot of the stances Nintendo has taken recently, including the idea that graphical improvements to games are yielding diminishing returns and costing the gaming industry more money in the long run. He seems fairly excited about the possibilities of developing titles for the Wii’s unique control scheme, including some great ideas about using the Wiimote for drumming or guitar games. He also notes that the choice to develop for PS2 was based purely on the fact that it had the biggest user base, meaning that if Nintendo sells enough consoles they could end up with some great games from Red Octane.

The idea of a guitar-shaped controller shell is enough to get me excited at least! Combine that concept with the fact that the Wii trailer shows people using the controllers as drumsticks and the already-well-publicized theory that the wiimote may contain a microphone, and you’ve got your own little (or should I say, “wee”) rock band.


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Gallery: Guitar Hero Senior Designer’s Thoughts on Wii


Nintendo WiiAfter all the speculation and rumors, Nintendo has finally announced pricing for the Wii and its expected shipment volume.  The pricing is right in line with what everyone was expecting/hoping for, but there’s no mention of what you get for the money.  Apparently we’ll have to wait a little longer for bundle information and exact details.  However, it’s safe to say that Nintendo has a sure thing on its hands and with the Wii’s low price, there will undoubtedly be a lot more of them under the tree this holiday season in comparison to the Xbox 360 or PS3.

From the press release:
Following its overwhelming debut at E3 2006, Nintendo today announced the current fiscal year unit shipment forecast for its new home game system, Wii™. Nintendo also confirmed that the price of the Wii system, which incorporates unique freehand control, will not exceed $250 in America, or ¥25,000 in Japan. The company plans to ship 6 million systems to retailers around the world between its launch in the fourth quarter of 2006 and the end of its fiscal year on March 31, 2007.

The projections are part of a full-year financial forecast that sees growth of 18 percent in sales globally, based on anticipated continuing strong demand for the Nintendo DS™ portable game system, as well as a successful launch for Wii.

The company also said it expects to sell 17 million Wii games in the period. Exact launch dates, identification of the launch library of titles and details on the unique Virtual Console aspect of Wii will be announced soon.


Read More | Nintendo

Gallery: Official Wii Pricing Announced


WiiAccording to Infendo, there are reports that with the Wii will not be supporting digital optical audio on the console. This would match with Nintendo’s decision to not pursue HD gaming in this generation’s console offering. Instead, Nintendo will continue to focus on utilizing Dolby Pro Logic II, which encodes 5.1 channel audio support into a stereo output through a matrixing technique. A number of Gamecube games used this technique, including the US launch title, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, and a few Playstation 2 titles had Pro Logic encoded output. While DPLII can be effective, it is not as clean of a solution as true Dolby Digital. Still, even if the Wii doesn’t support real-time Dolby Digital encoding of its output, it would have been nice to have a true digital audio solution, even if it meant simple PCM encoding of the sound.


Read More | Infendo

Gallery: Wii: Still No Digital Sound Output


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E3 2006 is now over and I’ve got some sleep and licked my wounds. Without a doubt, the console to love was Wii this year. Stupid name and all, droves of people flocked to play it and thousands of press outlets threw their support behind it, often lambasting the horribly-conceived abomination that is the Playstation 3. Wii will be affordable, fun, innovative, original and simple. It won’t have the flashiest graphics on the block, but it’ll blow you away with how much fun you can have interacting. The Playstation 3 is exactly as it sounds: Playstation 2, with better graphics. Plus slipshod, “innovative”-except-not-at-all tilt sensing. Oh, and minus rumble feedback. They’ve actually proactively downgraded the controller, citing “difficulties” integrating tilt and rumble, nevermind the fact that Nintendo seems to have no troubles whatsoever with the concept. (The real reasoning plays to a dark underbelly of litigation brought on by technology company Immersion. Sony just keeps whiffing here, don’t they?)

Oh, and a very special thanks to the Electronic Software Association for putting on the E3 Expo, and also managing to completely botch up this giant banner hanging over the Expo’s West Hall exit. Bravo, guys. You could at least get the year right, hm?

Gallery: E3: Reflections & Musings


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We’re well aware things have been a bit sparse over here, but we have tons of video we’re working on editing, encoding and sending upwards on a ridiculously finicky internet connection. Sit tight, because some of the things we have in store are pretty damn cool.

ANYway, we got into the invite-only portion of the Wii demos and I was able to speak to a few Nintendo employees for their take on the name, questions about the Wiimote and anything else that crossed my mind.

Here are some of the facts we were able to confirm:

  • At Launch:
    The Wii will ship the same way most every Nintendo console system has: Wii Remote (Wiimote, get it?), Nunchuk and console, with no games. The classic controller will not be included.
  • Accessorizing:
    The default purchase package for additional controllers will all include the Nunchuk as well. You won’t have to purchase it separately, though they weren’t able to comment on price.

Find out more about the Wii Remote’s battery situation, licensing old titles, what they thought of the name and more, after the jump.

Click to continue reading Live From E3: Fun Wii Facts Confirmed

Gallery: Live From E3: Fun Wii Facts Confirmed


Nintendo Wii

Sure, you’ve seen shots of the Nintendo Wii before, but here are some fresh from E3.  Note the sensor bar for the Wii Controller, and the Zapper concept which takes a standard controller and gives it an easier to use form-factor for shooting games.  Also of note is the Classic style which will come in handy for Virtual Console games.  If you’re not familiar with Virtual Console, think of it as all of your old Nintendo favorites reincarnated for the Wii and available for download.

The unofficial word in the Nintendo booth is that most, if not all, of the Wii units available for play are merely mock-ups.  A Nintendo representative did tell us that there were “a few working Wii systems”, but declined to mention if any of them were present at the E3 booth.

Wii Sensor Bar

Click to continue reading Wii Hardware Pics, Empty Shells And More

Gallery: Wii Hardware Pics, Empty Shells And More


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We got our hands on Wii and it’s absolutely amazing. The controller is comfortable and intuitive and moves as you’d expect. The force feedback is meaningful and not just superfluous, indicating gently that you’ve hit the tennis ball or fired your gun. I had a chance to play Wii Sports: Tennis and Wii Sports: Baseball. Baseball was a bit of a challenge, because I actually had to hold the controller like a bat.

The Nintendo booth guy kept reminding me to keep my back elbow straight (advice I hadn’t heard for years) and to not forget about the follow through. I was absolutely amazed by how fluid the bat moved in response to my actual motions. Move the bat around in a circle on your shoulder and the bat rotates on your character’s shoulder in time. Take a swing, and the trajectory is mapped to the game for either a successful home run or one of many foul tips.

Tennis was a lot of fun, and I found it surprising at first that both games relied very little on the controller’s buttons. We have a lot of video coming up of Wii, since Nintendo’s massive-yet-still-crammed booth is where we spent the first four hours of today, but I wanted to get this preliminary post out to let you all know we’re working on covering everything we can. Wii seems to be the most popular attraction so far, but that’s just at a cursory glance, and apparently there are at least a few people trying to get into the PS3 demo.

Gallery: Live From E3: Wii Kicks Ass, Takes Names, Hella Fun


9:38am:  Miyamoto kicks things off by conducting a digital orchestra to provide the background music, using a Wii controller to control the ebb and flow of the musical tempo. This is going to kick ass.

9:40am: An extended version of the demo video they launched a few months ago, which only showed the players interacting with the controller now show us some real gameplay shots of the new Mario, Zelda and Metroid franchises, along with a bunch of other gameplay concepts.

9:42am: Reggie tells us now, “As for price and release date, we believe it’s in our best interest to keep that information to ourselves just a while longer. But let’s just say that we’ll provide more fun for cheaper and that’ll be available in the fourth quarter of 2005.” Thanks, Reggie.

9:55am: After another demo video, Reggie discusses Zelda as the “best Zelda game Nintendo has ever made, as well as the most beautiful game Nintendo has ever made.” It will be available at Wii’s launch.

9:56am: They’re now demoing the control scheme for Twilight Princess on the Wii. The remote acts as a pointer and aiming utility, guided by crosshairs or a fairy. “Built into the Wii remote is a speaker.” Sound will “travel” from the remote to the TV based on your actions and add some great depth of sound and interaction. There’s also still the built-in rumble.

10:02am: Confirmed title for the Wii Mario game: Super Mario Galaxy. Jumping from planet to planet, Mario is apparently able to survive in a vacuum.

10:06am:
Reggie is going over all the first- and third-party games that will be available, including Madden ‘07, Tony Hawk, and a ton more, all reinvented to take advantage of the Wii’s crazy “freehand controller” system.

10:07am: “And while we’re not going to specify a launch number right now, you will be playing 27 games tomorrow on the show floor.” That bodes very well for the launch number, I’m thinking.

10:11am: The French developer of Red Steel is demoing the control system and physics engine, along with the graphics of Redsteel. It’s looking pretty impressive, but above all, the controls are where it’s at. The motion-sensitive nunchuck adds an entirely separately range of motion and interaction to these games.

10:13am: Oh, and Reggie let slip that there are still a few secrets left surrounding the controller, even after the news of the internal speaker has broke. But they’re not going to tell us quite yet.

10:16am: George Harrison talks about the DS and DS Lite’s new offerings, including VOIP over their Wifi Connection, a new Zelda title (The Phantom Hourglass) and Final Fantasy III. There will be over 100 new games for the Nintendo DS between now and the end of the year. Star Fox and Yoshi DS games are also in the works. Excitement abounds.

10:23am: Saturo Iwata tells us the goal since he’s become president of Nintendo has been to expand the total number of people playing games. He wants to include those who used to play but have lost interest, and those who have never played before.

10:24am: Iwata is talking about the success of Brain Age and Nintendogs. Oh, and I’m absolutely starving. (In the hyperbolic sense more than the third-world country sense, natch.)

10:25am: Iwata is now talking about the fond memories gamers have of the older games we used to play. Now he’s mentioning how unaccetpable even a 30 or 40 second load time is… We designed Wii to provide owners a variety of services even when it appears off. “WiiConnect24” runs even when the Wii is “off,” using just the power of a small lightbulb. “This means developers can push a new weapon or vehicle to you, even while you sleep.” “In Animal Crossing, anytime the console is in standby, that a friend has visited their village and left a message or gift.” “Networking software is included in the hardware.”

10:31am: WiiSports: A combination that will include tennis, baseball and golf in one package and available on launch day. This controller is going to completely reinvent the sports video game genre. Seeing the beads of sweat dripping off a player is only so nice; controlling them in a way that’s absolutely immersive and fun strikes me truly as the next big thing. But I’m a Nintendo fanboy, so there’s that.

10:33am: Now, Miyamoto is announcing their online contest winner, who will get to come on stage and play, for the first time.

10:36am: The winner is now playing doubles with Reggie, Miyamoto and Iwata. The idea is to showcase exactly how intuitive a system like this is, in that the winner has never played the Wii before and is still able to get right into it and go, with no real explanations.

10:40am: Reggie closes things up with a bit of a marketing spiel and the tagline “playing is believing.” We’ll get to believe tomorrow, I suppose.

Gallery: Live From E3: Nintendo Press Conference


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