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.
In a recent blog post, Jessie Becker from Neflix's marketing team said the online video rental and streaming service has mailed out discs to a number of Wii owners to enable streaming on their Nintendo-brand console.
"We are in the final phase of getting ready for the launch of streaming to the Wii," Becker writes. "Today, we shipped out instant streaming discs for the Wii to some of our Netflix members. Their feedback will ensure that we deliver a great experience to everyone when we launch."
The upcoming launch will complete Netflix's console triple play, though it's unclear exactly when the service will go live. Those who receive a disc will have access to the streaming service right away, but in an email to CNet, a Netflix representative said, "We have not announced a full launch; however, it will be soon."
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.
Rather than mourn the passing of your Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis (from relevance, mind you -- we're well aware some of you still have a functioning SNES or Sega console stuffed in your basement), dreamGEAR's giving you a chance to relive old times with a throwback-style controller designed for the Wii.
The new controller looks almost identical to the old SNES pad, but unlike the original, however, this one comes with six buttons on the front, giving it a bit of Sega Genesis DNA. The ultimate love child, perhaps?
Not quite, but it does complement the assortment of old school titles available from Wii's Virtual Console section, and because it comes with six buttons, you're a Street Fighter download away from dredging up days of killer combos (and remembering how much more fun it was to play at the arcade).
Best Buy's Outlet Center has the dreamGEAR pad in stock for $15.
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.
Have you been holding off on buying that new console for fear of the setup process? Does the thought of wasting a whole ten minutes of you time plugging everything in and turning it on make you physically ill? Well then, Target will totally have you covered later this month. Yes, for a mere $99 Target will come to your house and set up your console.
If you are rich enough to go for this, Target will plug in the console to your TV, configure it, put it on your network, and setup online accounts. Technically, it’s a third party, Zip Installation, that’s doing the work, but Target is putting their name on it.
At a hundred bucks, I imagine it will be a tough sell. Would you, or anyone you know pay for this service?
This week's edition of the Freeware Files may seem a little unusual, but hear me out. A number of you faithful Freeware Files readers are going to be receiving (or have received) awesome gifts from Santa/your parents/Best Buy this holiday season. Trust me--I checked the list myself. Caught up in the frenzy of new toys, phones, and gaming devices to play with, you've probably neglected your poor ol' PC for the time being.
A number of the goodies you're playing with actually have unique little third-party tricks for interfacing directly with your desktop or laptop. Yes, that's right. You can actually use the non-computer components and devices from your living room or pocket to enhance your normal PC use. And these aren't just little remote desktop hacks that let you see your PC's screen on your phone or something. I'm talking about hacks that blur the line between your PC and your game controllers or phones, unlocking new usefulness for your desktop system with devices that are anything but.
So, if you're the proud owner of one of these products, click the jump and see how you can use them to enhance your PC experience: