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Bill Loguidice's picture

Nintendo 3DS Getting Massive Price Cut - Existing Owners Getting Free Games

This has been widely reported, but here's the story on IGN. Essentially, the Nintendo 3DS will now retail for $169.99, and existing owners who paid the launch price of $249.99 will get 20 free virtual console games, which consists of 10 NES and 10 GameBoy Advance titles.

I'm glad they're taking care of their existing owners. Clearly Nintendo priced this not at a price point they had to, but at a price point they thought they could get away with. If they were able to back up the 3DS launch with positive buzz and great software (i.e., software that would excite the masses), they *might* have gotten away with the $250 price point (though I continue to argue the buzz remains with smartphones and tablets, not gaming handhelds), but really, it makes you wonder why this wasn't $199.99 to start with, let alone $179.99, particularly since they're making such a huge drop of $80 already. That's a major mea culpa, and certainly not indicative of business-as-usual for Nintendo, who classically really, really hates to admit that they're wrong about something. I've been talking about this frequently, but there have certainly been some unusual goings-on at Nintendo HQ, from the lack of new titles for their existing platforms to a somewhat unusual presentation of their upcoming Wii U console. Perhaps this will be the first of several steps that Nintendo needs to regain momentum.

Bill Loguidice's picture

E3 2011 Viewpoints: Nintendo Wii U and 3DS | (yes, Nintendo's next console is pronounced, "We You")

After starting off with Microsoft, Sony, and Apple, it's only fitting we conclude with Nintendo, and the biggest announcement of the week: Nintendo Wii U. I'll also talk about how my predictions from April 19, 2011, based on previous rumors, worked out, inline, as appropriate (EDIT: You can read for yourself, actually, so I won't inline comment, I'll just say that I was correct in my prediction that the controller would be the ONLY innovation, in that any other expected innovations would add too much to the cost beyond the fancy controller):

  • Nintendo Wii U, "equally satisfying for all players" (hardcore and casual). Released some time in 2012 (Nintendo's focus this year is 3DS, with more franchise titles (Mario Kart, Star Fox, Kid Icarus, Mario, Luigi's Mansion)). I'm not sure I'm a fan of the name. I probably like it even less than I did "Wii", which did eventually grow on me. We'll see.
  • The controller looks a lot like a white tablet. It's generously sized (it has a 6.2" screen--goodness knows what the controller will be priced separately!). Pen-enabled. Also works with a finger. The screen (mock-up or not), looks very nice. It's a motion controller too and can play games stand-alone or in conjunction with a TV. It also has a camera (voice and video chat enabled). Nice!
  • Nintendo definitely took inspiration from Apple's iPad here. It's like the bastard child of an iPad 2 and Wii, with a little Xbox 360 thrown in for good measure.
  • It's backwards compatible with all the games and peripherals of the Wii.
  • Games appear to work differently if a player is using the new controller or a Wii Remote. There looks to be a lot of emphasis on the motion control features of the controller.
  • It's NOT designed to be a portable game machine, even though it shares some design characteristics. Everything is wirelessly transmitted from the console (no latency).
  • They talked a lot about HD images on TV or on the controller's screen. So this is definitely HD (EDIT: The console will output 1080p to the TV, but the controller screen will NOT be HD). Based on the non-gameplay and other graphics they showed, it's quite impressive looking, so probably at LEAST a little more powerful than Xbox 360 and PS3.
  • The Nunchuk port on the bottom of the controller is interesting, as it can also be used to snap the screen controller onto plastic peripherals.
  • They emphasized video chat and showing photos on your TV.
  • They talked about the expected interaction between Wii U and 3DS games, with Smash Brothers being the example.
  • They mentioned ONE game in particular (third parties mentioned others, like Batman: Arkham City and EA Sports stuff), Lego City Stories, a new open world game (exclusive to Wii U and 3DS). Beyond that, they made sure to mention what would be considered hardcore (core) gamer titles.
  • They talked a bit about online stuff, so hopefully they'll be more committed to the concept this time. The hardware is certainly there for it, at least.
  • There was no mention of storage or other specifics, so we'll probably have quite the wait for details like that.
Bill Loguidice's picture

State of the Nintendo Wii 2 Rumors - What is suggested and my practical predictions

As mentioned a few days back, rumors about a pending Nintendo Wii successor have been flying fast and furious, led no doubt by the dramatic lack of new game releases and overall declining sales for the worldwide console market leader. The first round of Nintendo Wii price cuts has already taken place, going from $199.99 to $169.99 at many major retailers. More cuts, no doubt, will be on the way. So, what is the present state of the rumor mill? Right now, here's what the most ambitious of the rumors are suggesting:

  • An HD console with slightly more power than either the Xbox 360 or PS3.
  • A controller with a 6" HD touch screen and camera that is capable of streaming all content from the console (in case your TV is occupied) and can also act as a secondary display for things like maps, inventory, and anything else that you'd normally have to pause a game to access.
  • The controller will feature dual analog sticks and a full complement of buttons.
  • A Blu-Ray drive.
  • A robust online service similar to Xbox Live.
  • Full backwards compatibilty with both the Wii and GameCube.
  • A renewed focus on the type of core games that are presently found on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, making cross-platform ports practical.
  • An additional, unknown gimmick/hook similar to the impact the Wii's motion controllers had when that launched.

All this for an "any day now" or E3 announcement, and a Japanese launch in mid-2012, with the rest of the world to follow by late 2012.

With the above pie-in-the-sky rumors noted, here is what I believe would be more like reality if any of that is to be practical, meaning hitting a price point between $249.99 and $399.99, and Nintendo making a nice profit (though I'm suspecting $349.99 will be the actual target):

  • An HD console with slightly more power than either the Xbox 360 or PS3.
  • A controller with a 6" touch screen and camera that is capable of streaming all content from the console (in case your TV is occuppied) and can also act as a secondary display for things like maps, inventory, and anything else that you'd normally have to pause a game to access. Note how I didn't say HD touch screen. I believe it will be similar to how the iPhone 4's screen is just really, really beautiful (reitna display), but not what we'd consider a traditional HD resolution. The "HD" part will simply be marketing speak for a really nice looking screen, like "4G" on cell phones is really just marketing speak for "faster than 3G" rather than descriptive of true 4G service.
  • The controller will feature dual analog sticks and a full complement of buttons.
  • A DVD drive. A Blu-Ray drive would add additional unecessary cost and would really only be a benefit if Nintendo embraced movie playback, which they've never done in the past.
  • An online service somewhere between Sony's offering for the PS3 and Xbox Live, sort of like a souped up version of what is hinted at at present on the 3DS.
  • Full backwards compatibility with the Wii (it will no longer be necessary to be GameCube compatible, as that could be part of the new Virtual Console service; it COULD be GameCube compatible, however, assuming it doesn't present any additional problems or represent unecessary costs, so I'm not really sure on this one since in theory the new controller layout would mitigate needing legacy GameCube controller ports).
  • A renewed focus on the type of core games that are presently found on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, making cross-platform ports practical. This is a given--Nintendo has mastered the production and sale of evergreen family-style titles, now they just need to seal the deal by catering to fussy core gamers as well.
  • No additional gimmick/hook. This is for practical reasons, because if you have such a sophisticated, costly controller, you need to make sacrifices elsewhere. I find it unlikely they could have such an advanced controller and on top of that include another groundbreaking feature. With that said, I wouldn't consider that type of controller groundbreaking, but it would at least be interesting. The ability to stream to the controller would be pretty much useless in my opinion, outside of the aforementioned ability to display info you'd normally have to pause the console to access or clutter up the main screen with.
  • Storage is not really addressed in any of the rumors. I can see it going one of several ways. First, is include an 8GB - 32GB high speed SD card. Another is to include a 128GB SSD drive. While the former is practical now in volume, the latter will be practical in volume by the time of the system's intended mid-2012 release. A smaller capacity SD card may be a viable option assuming more focus is put on streaming, a la what Netflix or OnLive do, rather than focus on onboard storage. This all depends upon how much Nintendo is willing to gamble on the general availability of high speed Internet.

So, what do you guys think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on both the rumors floating around and my own take on what form the system would have to take given the current scuttlebutt.

Bill Loguidice's picture

Nintendo working on Wii's successor for a pending announcement and 2012 release?

Well, it was only a matter of time. Many of us have been noticing the dearth of major Wii releases for 2011. In fact, my own observation went a bit further, in that while the Wii received many quality first party titles in 2010, it didn't receive anything that would require a significant monetary or time investment befitting a typical AAA title (because, let's face it, many of these were just 2D-style side scrolling games). That's why the recent news (here, among many other places) of a possible Wii price drop and the potential for a Wii successor announcement in the next month or so - with more details at this year's E3 - was not really all that surprising. It's really the only logical way to explain how Nintendo can trump even if its own classicly lethargic release schedules with what it has been doing - or not doing as the case may be - in regards to new product on the Wii. It would also explain why the relatively modest 3DS launch would have been such a drain on the company, since their resources were divided between that and the Wii successor.

Certainly the price drop is a typical move for a product in this stage of its lifecylce and is one that the competition has parlayed to some advantage as well. However, I feel that the launch of a possible next generation successor to the Wii in 2012 - let alone its potential pending announcement - is extremely premature. Here's why:

  • Though overall sales have dropped considerably, Nintendo could have easily continued to milk the Wii for more sales with a combination of successive and properly timed price drops and a few big first party titles here and there
  • If, as some of the rumors suggest, the Wii successor is only roughly as powerful as the 360 and PS3, it puts Nintendo in the exact same position they're in now with the Wii when the inevitable 360 and PS3 successors are released--presumably as quickly as 2013 if Nintendo releases in 2012
  • By announcing and releasing so early, Nintendo would give both Microsoft and Sony (who are of course each working on their own next generation platforms) plenty of time to copy all of the Wii successor's best features and then trump them. This is not something a company in a solid first place should do.

In any case, what are your thoughts on this? Too soon for Nintendo? Right time? Let's hear it!

Bill Loguidice's picture

Bill's 2010 Holiday Buying Guide - Console Edition

Since other media outlets have had to fulfill their apparent obligation this holiday season like every holiday season to recommend what to buy and why, I thought I would join in on the fun, with the big difference with my guide being that I actually own and use all of the systems in question, so I'm not just talking out of a hypothetical butt like some others do. Allegedly. Now here's a bad cell phone photo of my three consoles as evidence (you're welcome in advance for the bikini snow angel):

Bill Loguidice's picture

A Very Brief Overview of what I've Been Playing for the Past Few Days

Since I've had a chance to actually play some games on platforms like the PC, Xbox 360, Wii, iPhone, and PS3 lately, I thought I would share some quick thoughts. After reading, why don't you share some of your own thoughts on those games or some of what you're playing?

Bill Loguidice's picture

Limited edition signed copies of Intellivision Lives! for the Nintendo DS, plus additional bonuses, now available!

I thought I would pass along this note from Intellivision Productions. For a limited time you can order a Keith Robinson-signed copy of Intellivision Lives! for the Nintendo DS direct from the Intellivision rights holders, and they'll even throw in a free running man DS button, as well as a $5 off coupon good for a future purchase. All this for $19.95 plus shipping and handling, but the catch is there will only 200 of these available, so get cracking! Official announcement below:

Matt Barton's picture

Episode 3: Adventures, Horror, Mario, Addiction

It's Armchair Arcade Radio episode three, featuring the talents of Matt Barton, Rob Daviau, Bill & Christina Loguidice, and Chris Kennedy. I *love* this episode! Everything came together so beautifully; anyone who cares about classic games should not only download it, but take pains to preserve it!

Download the episode here (128K format).

Matt Barton's picture

What's your prediction for the Nintendo 3DS?

Matt Barton's picture

Episode 2: CRPGs, SHMUPS, Owning a Personal Computer, Girls and Games, Metroid Metal

Armchair Arcade is proud to present the second episode of Armchair Arcade Radio. Hosted by Matt Barton, this episode features the music of Metroid Metal and segments from each member of Armchair Arcade: Mark Vergeer, Bill Loguidice, Christina Loguidice, and Chris Kennedy.

Episode Two 48K version
Episode Two 128K version

Topics and Approximate Times Below:

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