We don't remember there ever being a healthy heart logo plastered on the side of our Atari 2600 consoles growing up, but had there been, perhaps we logged a lot more time playing Adventure, Pitfall, and Pac-Man. Maybe we can make up for lost time because hey, there's something to be said about playing videogames in order to live a healthy lifestyle.
Don't believe us? Just ask the American Heart Association, which has teamed up with Nintendo to promote healthy living through active-play videogames, as the organization explains it. No need to twist our arms, we're all in.
"Our two organizations come from different worlds, but we share a common goal," said Clyde Yancy, M.D., president of the American Heart Association. "Showing people accessible ways to stay active has been a part of our mission for decades, but our research tells us nearly 70 percent of Americans are getting no regular physical activity. As an organization we are looking for ways to change this. Nintendo has demonstrated clear leadership in active-play video games with the popularity of the Wii system, and I’m confident that together we can encourage Americans to become more physically active."
As part of this totally awesome campaign, consumers will see the American Heart Association brand on boxes for the Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort titles for the Wii starting this summer. And what better way to stay healthy during summer break than to toss a virtual Frisbee or wakeboarding from your recliner?
While nobody in Nintendo's ranks is freaking out just yet, the company did post an annual profit decline for the first time in six years, the Wall Street Journal reports. What's more, Nintendo said it expects the backwards trend to continue again this fiscal year while the company focuses on new products to spur growth.
Sales of Nintendo's Wii and DS handheld consoles have finally started to slow down. For the fiscal year ended March 31, Nintendo said it sold 20.53 million Wii consoles world-wide, down 21 percent from the previous year. And for this fiscal year, Nintendo expects sales to drop yet again, this time to 18 million units.
"There's a lot of expectation that Nintendo will continue to dominate. And that's a tall order in this industry, which is characterized by changes in leadership in every generation," said Jay Defibaugh, equities research director at MF Global FXA Securities.
Going forward, Nintendo will face increased competition from Microsoft and Sony, both of which are planning to introduce motion-sensing controllers for their own respective consoles. Combined with the Wii's inability to play back high-definition content, Nintendo has reason to be concerned.
On the handheld front, Nintendo will release the 3DS next year, which won't require any goofy looking glasses. If it works as well as Nintendo anticipates, the company will be better prepared to fend off increasing competition from mobile phones, which have started to make a harder push into the casual gaming segment.
Would a sleeker look courtesy of an all-black makeover be enough to get you to consider buying a Wii? Nintendo is hoping it will, and according to the latest rumblings, the Wii is putting on its tuxedo and heading for North American shores.
Apparently the Wii hasn't been selling as well as Nintendo's bean counters would like, and according to news and rumor site Fudzilla, the console maker is hoping that the new black version will spark a bunch of sales. The black Wii bundle will still cost $200 and will come with Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resort, and the Wii Motion Plus. With Wii Resort and the Motion Plus thrown in, that's not a bad deal, but if a black console doesn't match your decor, don't fret -- the bundle will also be available in white.
In addition to the new digs, new life has recently been breathed into the Wii with recent availability of Netflix streaming, the last of the Big Three consoles to jump on that bandwagon. Netflix subscribers need only request a disc, which must be inserted into the Wii when watching streaming content.
Look for the new bundle to arrive on store shelves on May 4, 2010.
A little over two weeks ago, Netflix announced that it had mailed out streaming discs to a number of Wii owners to enable streaming on their console. At the time, Netflix said it was in the final phase of getting ready for the launch to the Wii, and now the wait appears to be over for all Wii owners.
"Jessie Becker here from Marketing and we're thrilled to let you know that we are now shipping instant streaming discs for the Wii to ALL members who want one today!," Becker wrote in an official blog post.
Wii owners who haven't already reserved a disc but would like to can do so here. In addition to the disc, Wii owners also need to be subscribed to one of Netflix's unlimited plans starting at $8.99 a month.
Nintendo's super sized DSi XL hasn't even been released yet, and already the company is talking up the next iteration of its popular handheld. It will be called the Nintendo 3DS and it will allow gamers to get their three-dimensional groove on without the need to don any dorky glasses.
"This will certainly stimulate demand for the DS, Rakuten Securities analyst Yasuo Imanaka said. "But, we need to keep in mind that this is a portable machine. If you expect the kind of full-blown 3D visuals shown on TVs or in movie theaters, you could be disappointed."
It's unknown exactly how the new system, which is slated for release in Japan by next March at the latest, will reproduce 3D effects without the aid of glasses, but one one approach would be to use some sort of head tracking mechanism. Arstechnica posted a video of a game that does exactly that, and the effect seems to work well.
In what ranked as a poor month in overall console sales, analyst group NPD reports Microsoft's Xbox 360 outsold Nintendo's Wii console in February. In doing so, the Xbox 360 claimed the top spot in U.S. monthly sales, a feat it hasn't achieved in over two years.
Despite Microsoft's strong showing, it was a pretty bad month for consoles. Combined sales for software, hardware, and peripherals came out to $1.26 billion, with console sales slumping 20 percent to $426 million.
"Honestly, I had expected the industry to perform somewhat better this month," said Anita Frazier, a games analyst at NPD.
Not surprisingly, Nintendo's DS dominated the handheld gaming space, selling 613,200 units compared to Sony selling 133,400 PlayStation Portable units.
As for the games people are playing, Take 2's "Bioshock 2" topped the sales chart with 750,000 copies across all platforms, and 562,900 for the Xbox 360. "New Super Mario Bros." came in second with 555,600 units, and "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" slipped into third place with 667,100 units, now the third best selling game of all time with lifetime sales approaching 10 million units.
Iwata may be publicly dismissive of current gaming platforms and technology, but lets face it, the DS is long in the tooth, and is in desperate need of an update. The present split-screen design, while innovative in its time, will need more than a face-lift if it’s going to be competitive.
Speculation has it that Nintendo is looking long and hard at the Tegra 250 for its DS and DSi replacement, with eye toward competing with the iPhone and Touch, rather than Sony’s PSP. In which case an accelerometer is a given.
There’s no timeframe for a product launch, but it wouldn’t be out of the question for more substantial news to come from March’s Game Developers Conference or E3 in June.
There’s been much discussion of the reasons for the long life of the current generation of game consoles, but it looks like one of them may finally be on the way out. It turns out to be the one most in need of a hardware refresh, the Wii. According to a statement from Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo is currently working on new hardware.
There isn’t much to go on beyond that. The company has previously downplayed the need for a new version of the ultra-successful Wii. It is possible we will just see a slightly modified Wii console, and not an entirely new generation?
So in a year you could find yourself with a Wii HD, or maybe just a Wii that lets you dock that DSi XL you totally have. What would you want to see in a new Nintendo console? Does it need to have HD to compete?
Don't count Nintendo president Satoru Iwata among the Apple faithful ready to snatch up an iPad as soon as it becomes available. Judging by the majority of reader comments in our news coverage earlier this week, Iwata's as unimpressed with the tablet as the rest of you.
"It was a bigger iPod touch," Iwata said. "There were no surprises for me."
Iwata, who one could argue knows a thing or two about tech trends, is equally dispassionate about the concept of 3D gaming, so it's probably safe to say you won't be seeing Super Mario jump out of your TV set anytime soon.
"I have doubts whether people will be wearing glasses to play games at home. How is that going to look to other people?," Iwata said at a Tokyo hotel.
Probably no sillier than Alec Baldwin waving around a Wii remote in this SNL sketch.
Speaking of motion controls, Iwata put to rest speculation in the Japanese media by denying rumors Nintendo is working on a DS-equipped motion sensor similar to the one used with the Wii, while adding that the company is not working on a Wii upgrade for high-definition television sets.
Nintendo's Wii console is starting to grow up. No, you still can't watch Blu-ray movies, or even standard DVDs, on the game console, but the best selling (and least expensive) current-gen console is going to integrate Neflix's online streaming video service.
Netflix is already available on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles, and up to this point, Nintendo has been content to focus solely on gaming. According to a report in The New York Times, however, Nintendo may be feeling the pressure to compete on a larger scale than just console games, which are having to contend with a rise in cheap (smartphones) and free (social networking sites) gaming alternatives.
"You have to wonder if people are going to buy prepackaged $60 videogames in the future," said Mark Mahaney, managing director for Internet research at Citigroup. "If you are a console maker, you better quickly hurry to add more functionality and features to your console."
Wii owners will need a broadband subscription and have at least a $9/month Netflix subscription to enjoy the streaming service, which is a better deal than Xbox 360 owners get, who must also have an Xbox Live Gold membership.