The NPD sales data for March has been released, and Gamasutra is reporting on the sales numbers. Overall, the sales data pretty much seemed to follow expectations. The Nintendo DS again showed strong sales, moving over 500,000 units in March. Sunday’s release of the latest in the Pokemon series might have the potential to even spike this further in April and May. The PSP sold 180,000; this month’s price drop would seem to ensure an increase for April. Of the non-portable consoles, the PS2 continues to have legs, moving 280,000 consoles and outselling all of the current generation platforms. This was probably helped a bit by the release of God of War II, which sold over 833,000 units.
Within current generation platforms, rankings stayed the same. The ever-supply-constrained Wii moved 259,000 consoles; Nintendo has promised more supply, but this may not happen for a few months. The Xbox 360 continued to hold on, with 199,000 units sold, and Sony’s sales numbers held relatively steady at 130,000 units.
Read More | Gamasutra
Coming this Sunday April 22, Pokemania will officially hit the US again. The fourth generation Pokemon game, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl is set to be unleashed on the gaming public, nearly nine years after the first North American release. While initially considered a fad, a generation of gamers has literally grown up with the Pokemon franchise. Today Nintendo revealed that the two games have received over 533,000 pre-orders, twice those of the previous release. Early feedback seems to indicate that the games balance the tried-and-true battle gameplay of the originals with appropriately updated graphics and strong Wi-Fi support. Expect this title to easily hit one million sold, and continue to drive the DS juggernaut in the US.
Read More | Reuters
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GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that former EA Canada employees have banded together to form a new development studio, Jet Black Studios that will focus on developing titles for Nintendo’s Wii and DS consoles. The new team states that they will be working on original and licensed titles; hopefully this focus will allow development of game software particularly suited to the capabilities of Nintendo’s unique offerings. While the members of the development team at Jet Black have decent pedigrees, coming from FIFA, Need for Speed and James Bond franchises, their partner Flashman Studios seems to be mainly responsible for the release of second tier licensed properties.
Read More | GamesIndustry.biz
OK, OK, so Pac-Man Vs. may not have been Nintendo’s most stunning E3 announcement ever… in fact, it will probably live on in infamy as one of the most disappointing Nintendo surprises ever. That said, it was actually quite a fun party game if you happened to have a Gamecube, GBA, GBA-to-Gamecube link cable, and 3 other controllers.
Well, if you’ve never had a chance to play this gem, there’s good news - as part of the most recent Namco Museum cart for the DS, you’ll be able to enjoy the classic and (thanks to the DS) with nary a wire in sight. Pac-Man Vs. will be included with Namco Museum and for about $19.99, you’ll be able to enjoy the game wire-free (AND, with only one cartridge for up to 4-player gaming), coming this summer.
Click the jump for the full press release…
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Add some more fuel to the ethics in video games fire… Remember those somewhat subversive DS advertisers in your local mall? The ones that consisted of cute girls wearing shirts proclaiming that “Touching is Good”? Well, the DS has just taken the pervyness to the next level, courtesy of SNK. In a new Japan-only game Doji Doji Majo Saiban (roughly translated as Exciting Witch Trial) you’re encouraged to find out whether or well-endowed nubile girls are witches or not. We’ll let you guess how you find out… or you could click this link(somewhat NSFW) and skip some of the guesswork.
We can only guess that this game is NEVER going to make it stateside… I think several public interest groups’ collective heads would explode. So all you folks interested in the “artistic style” and “dialog” in this game are going to be stuck importing and learning Japanese for now.
Read More | DokiMajo.com
February’s NPD data has been released, and things look good for Nintendo. 1up has the details on video game sales for last month, and the Nintendo DS sold 485,000 units, the Wii 335,000. For the rest of the next-generation hardware, Microsoft maintained its sales pace by moving around 228,000 consoles, while the Playstation 3 saw a significant drop to 127,000. The PSP didn’t do much better against the DS, moving 176,000 handhelds.
The only bright spot for Sony would be that in the non-handheld category, the PS2 took second behind the Wii, selling 295,000 units, showing that their now last-generation technology still has plenty of legs at retail. Still, having their PS3 sales drop by nearly half over last month’s sales is a significant change; if new software from Sony can’t change course, the company may have to do something drastic to turn things around.
Microsoft should be pretty happy; while they didn’t lead the pack, the company will surely trumpet their increase in year-over-year sales. That, and having the number one game at retail for the month of February, Crackdown will also help. 1up’s article also further details the rest of the software charts for the month.
Read More | 1up
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess represents somewhat of a rebirth for the franchise, and its creator, Eiji Aonuma, talked about how the turnaround came about. While the Zelda series has certainly hit more high notes than other series, Wind Waker and Four Swords represented a sales disappointment for Nintendo. According to 1up’s report on Aonuma’s talk, the Japanese turned away from Wind Waker because of its complexity, while US audiences couldn’t seem to get past the cartoony look. Nintendo was determined to turn this around with Twilight Princess and the return to a more realistic look was only part of the equation. A number of the design decisions, such as the dual world and the Wii remote controls are discussed by Aonuma, giving some great insight into how Nintendo turned the feedback they were getting from Wind Waker into the massively popular and critically acclaimed Twilight Princess.
Read More | 1up
Shigeru Miyamoto’s GDC Keynote got a lot of coverage around the web; as expected there was little in the way of real announcements due to an information blackout enforced by Nintendo’s upcoming stock sale, but there were a few tidbits to be had, like a new Mii Channel that will allow users to compare Miis and have contests. Miyamoto also led attendees know that Super Mario Galaxy will be coming this year as he showed off a little of the game in development.
The rest of the keynote really seemed to focus on the development process at Nintendo. Miyamoto touched on expanding their gaming audience using his “Wife-O-Meter” to gauge casual gamer interest in what the company is working on. He also discussed Nintendo’s entertainment focus, and how their hardware and software teams collaborated to bring the Wii remote about. The last two ideas he focused on were risk, Nintendo’s willingness to experiment and fail, and tenacity, the way that Miyamoto focuses on ideas that may take years to come to fruition. Overall, the keynote offered more insight into the mind of Miyamoto than into anything Nintendo has in the works for the future. It wasn’t as product focused as Phil Harrison’s keynote but it was still worthwhile to understand how Nintendo’s game master works. In terms of GDC coverage, 1up and Eurogamer seemed to be the most detailed, but Gizmodo has a great gallery up of pictures from the event.
Update: The Super Mario Galaxy trailer is now linked above; this game looks insane…
Read More | 1up
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Read More | Joystiq
Nintendo announced today their second quarter line-ups for both the Wii and the DS today, and while there are a lot of titles listed, unfortunately the latest Metroid didn’t make the list. Still, there seems to be a lot to offer, including the arrival of Super Paper Mario on April 9th, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon and Mario Party 8 in May, and Big Brain Academy and Pokemon Battle Revolution in June. Pokemon Battle Revolution will be the first online-enabled game for the Wii. On the DS side, gamers can look forward to the latest RPG entry in the Pokemon series for handhelds, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl. It looks like the DS browser will also finally hit the US DS in June as well.
The full press release and release list continues below.
With a new release in the Final Fantasy franchise hitting the DS comes another limited edition DS bundle. When Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings launches for the DS in Japan on April 26th, a special limited edition package including a laser etched Nintendo DS and the game will be available, selling for 21840 Yen, about $180 US. So, Japan gets yet another limited quantity release of the DS tied to a highly anticipated release, while other territories have to deal with the small color selection available. Expect huge lines in Japan for this release; Revenant Wings may be even more popular than the Final Fantasy III and Nintendo DS combination.
Read More | Famitsu