Monday, 11 May 2015

Nintendo lets some details spill

With E3 just around the corner and Nintendo hosting investor meetings we are learning subtle details about Nintendo's plans for the future outside of their Universal Theme Park partnership


Nintendo has confirmed that this years E3 is all about 2015 games for Wii U and 3DS. That means we wont be seeing any of their smartphone games, the QoL (Quality of Life) project or the NX. This isn't really big news as there are better times than E3 to show of mobile games and QoL, We've also known from the start that the NX will be seen in 2016.

"We do not plan on talking specifics about the the NX until 2016," Iwata said. "Presently, we cannot talk about the time period when it will go on sale or what it’s like. Because we are calling it a 'new concept,' we are not thinking of this as a 'simple replacement' for the 3DS or the Wii U."

It's understandable Nintendo wants to keep its follow up system underwraps as not only would it affect sales of their current systems but last time Nintendo had 2 E3's for the Wii U before launch which gave Sony and MS a chance to emulate the controller.

NX region free?
During the investors briefing Mr Iwata brought up the topic of region locking their hardware. Something a vocal group of fans have been campaigning for ever since Smash Bro's Brawl on Wii was released far earlier in some territories. 

"Removing region-locking from current game machines presents various issues, so we don't consider that to be very realistic. However, regarding NX, given the customer feedback and proposals from the market, while nothing has been decided yet, we're currently investigating internally what problems there would be in realizing it. You can think of that as the current situation. I understand your desire, so I'd like to look at it optimistically going forward."

It's probable this has less to do with fan demand and more to do with money, If the systems are identical for each region it would be faster for Nintendo to "shuffle" around units between regions where needed.

Smartphone Games
Iwata also announced that Nintendo has 5 games lined up for release between now and March 2017 with Mario Kart 8 Producer Hideki Konno leading Nintendo's "Mobile Division". Now 5 games for most mobile devs would be around 1 years worth of titles but it appears Nintendo wants to guarantee "Nintendo Quality" on mobile devices, limiting titles and using its own staff should certainly help that goal but the question will be price. Publishers like Square Enix charge "proper" game prices when surrounded by 99p games.

We still don't have an awful lot to go on with this. Some people believe this is just extending the NNID (Nintendo Network ID) to mobile (games) and PC (eShop), whilst others believe it to be a fully integrated account system like Xbox Live with purchases linked to the account not the system.

While we will announce the details of this integrated membership service at a later date, I can share with you at a high level the idea is that the consumer can access multiple devices using one common ID. For us to be able to bridge the gap between smart devices and dedicated game systems, we will offer advantages to consumers who use one ID across multiple devices.
So far, the members input their Club Nintendo ID to use the services. With this new service, our members will be able to visit Nintendo's website and log in with one ID, and they will receive various services including the ones based on their past purchases and gameplay records as well as services that will be an improved version of the current loyalty program.
With this new membership, we are planning to deploy services that will make playing Nintendo games with their game pals more fun regardless of which platform they are accessing.

At the very least it sounds like the old Club Nintendo will be built right into this new system and what sounds a little like an Achievement system. Regardless It's likely we'll hear about this at E3 (It wasn't one of the things they announced WASN'T coming to E3-2015 .

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