Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Nintendo DSi? What's that?"

Those are most certainly to be the words on everyone's lips come this time next year. Heck, I think we're halfway there as is. All anyone can talk about is the 3DS, and who can blame them? It really seems to be an all-round amazing handheld. Where does this leave the recently-released Nintendo DSi line of products, though?

In the dust, to put it bluntly. The 3DS is pretty much a 3D-enabled Gamecube in the palm of your hand, while the DSi is basically the same DS we played in 2004 but with cameras (Which the 3DS also has, one of which being equipped with two lenses for taking 3D pictures). In short, the 3DS is everything the DSi is, and more. The DSi's outlook isn't looking too bright.

I can think of one scenario in which the DSi will continue to succeed alongside the 3DS, but it isn't exactly a happy one. This scenario involves a wallet-strangling prospect: A cripplingly-expensive 3DS. A distressing possibility, the most distressing part being that it's even a possibility at all. The 3DS packs some serious firepower, and it can't be coming cheap. Unless Nintendo wants to sell this handheld at a loss (Something they have never done before), the 3DS is slated to be quite the expensive product. This could very well save the DSi. If they continue selling the DSi at the current price, or perhaps even lower it, it could stick around. The 3DS would be marketed as a "luxury" alternative and the two would live in harmony for a couple years or so.

...or they could sell the 3DS at a loss, make the ad campaign "3DS does was Nintendo(DSi)n't" and obliterate the older product's sales. It's up to Nintendo, I guess.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Nintendo's E3 2010 Press Conference: Prediction Accuracy

The day has come and gone, and Nintendo has, in my eyes, completely stolen the show. The 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword both look amazing, but the importance of that pales in comparison to the following: My prediction accuracy! Did I just say that a small post on my virtually-unknown blog is superior to Nintendo's entire press conference? Yes. Did I mean it? Not at all. Moving along!

My first prediction was the debut of Pikmin 3. You know, the game Miyamoto's been talking about for years, giving us subtle progress reports all the while? The one so many are eagerly anticipating and frothing at the mouth for? Yeah, didn't show up. Miyamoto did mention it in passing (Again) during his roundtable discussion, but that's it. I'm off to a bad start here. Prediction: WRONG

Not a great start. Next up I predicted a new Animal Crossing game to accompany the 3DS hardware revelation. Did it happen? Yes... but not until after the conference. So this is an incorrect prediction then, right? Well, no, I wouldn't say so. The Nintendo E3 Network is basically like an extended press conference, giving attention to the games unable to fit into the actual presentation's tight schedule. By that logic, I was right. Lovin' loopholes! Prediction: CORRECT(-ish)

Next up is the rumour that Retro would be announcing a new Donkey Kong game. Lo and behold, the rumours came true, and Donkey Kong Country Returns is headed our way, and it'll be here by the end of 2010. Prediction: CORRECT

How about that fifth generation of Pokémon? Two Pokémon games are playable on the show floor today, but, alas, these games are neither Black nor White. Sadly, those of you dying for more information on the next round of Pokémon will just have to wait a little longer. Happily for me, however, my prediction proved true! Prediction: CORRECT

One of Nintendo's strangest announcements at last year's E3 was the Vitality Sensor. Even stranger is the fact that we'd gone a year without any significant news on it. Certainly Nintendo would see fit to bring it out during their press conference, with a slimmer design and exclusive software, right? Well, no. The Vitality Sensor wasn't mentioned even once. And with this, my streak of correct predictions comes to a screeching halt. Prediction: WRONG

And now we come to the one prediction I have made every single year since I started this blog; StarFox making a grand return on the Wii. Due to a lack of evidence, though, this year I had to label this as unlikely. So, of course, now that I don't expect it, a new StarFox is announced. But wait, what's this? It's for 3DS? So my prediction of there not being a new StarFox Wii game was correct? Yet, while still being correct about it not showing up, I still get a StarFox game? This just worked out way too perfectly. Prediction: CORRECT

Next I predicted Nintendo would discuss sales, demographics, all that sort of stuff, and, surprise, they did. Yup. Moving on. Prediction: CORRECT

Last but not least, I made a remarkably-vague prediction that something completely unexpected would happen. I'd say a brand-new Kid Icarus launching alongside the Nintendo 3DS is pretty unexpected. Man, the one time I don't predict a new Kid Icarus... Then again, I probably would've predicted it for Wii, so perhaps things worked out just fine! Prediction: CORRECT! (Duh)

Oh, all the predictions I should have made... I can't believe I forgot to mention Kirby Wii. I guess I can't complain too much, though, as my score today turning out quite positive, with only two of my eight predictions turning out false. Can't ask for much better than that, can I?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nintendo's E3 2010 Press Conference: Predictions

Just gonna say I wanted to write up a similar article for the Microsoft press conference (No such intentions for the Sony conference), but I was unexpectedly busy on Sunday watching four guys blow things up in a spectacularly over-the-top manner. As a side note, A-Team was some pretty good action. Now then, moving along...

The time has come once more: Nintendo's E3 2010 press conference is nearly upon us. But we can't go having a press conference without a healthy serving of my predictions, can we? And so I come out of my nearly month-long Springtime hibernation to bring you this, my list of predictions for the rapidly-approaching conference.

First, though, let's get two little things out of the way: The 3DS and The Legend of Zelda. These two things are practically confirmed to be showing up tomorrow, so really, there's no need to "predict" their presence. Alright? Alright. Let's get started.

To get things going, I'll to start with something we've known about for so long yet have seen absolutely nothing of: Pikmin 3. This has been hiding behind the scenes for ages now, and I'd say it's about time for this flower to bloom. Pikmin 3, Nintendo; I know you've got it. Now show it!

Next up I'll play off a little rumour I heard recently. According to Destructoid, Nintendo's planning on launching a new Animal Crossing game with the 3DS. Will it be a revolutionary step for the franchise? Will it bring back all those who were turned away by City Folk's over-familiarity? Heck if I know. Considering the prosperity of the franchise, though, I get the feeling that this little rumour will be going to E3, not crying "wee wee wee" all the way home.

Another rumour that's been floating about is Retro Studios working on a new Donkey Kong game. To give this rumour a little more validity, an IGN staff member Tweeted teasingly in a sly manner, using terms such as "go ape" and "barrel me over". A suggestion of insider knowledge, or just some of that classic trolling we internet users have become so used to? It's hard to tell right now, but man, I could really go for a rumble in the jungle right about now. I'm gonna let my hopes take the wheel here and put this in the "probable" column.

Talk around in some groups and all you'll hear about is Pokémon Black and White. Pokémaniacs are practically (And in some cases, literally) frothing at the mouth for more information on the fifth generation of Pocket Monsters, and they've got themselves convinced that these games will be showing up at the conference tomorrow. Myself being a somewhat reformed Pokémaniac, however, I'm looking at the situation from a more fact-based angle. In the past, information on new Pokémon games has emerged almost exclusively at Japanese venues. While Nintendo's been doing a lot of things differently as of late, I don't see this particular trend changing. If I hear the Pokémon theme coming from my headphones tomorrow afternoon I'll be very surprised.

Turning attention to the Wii, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a major redesign of the Vitality Sensor showing itself tomorrow. Today Ubisoft showed off a very similar device, and it was far smaller than the clunky device shown hanging off a Wii remote just over a year ago. I've always thought that the Vitality Sensor was over sized, and now I see it's more than possible to shrink it down to a more manageable level. I'm willing to bet Nintendo see that, too.

Now to revisit a prediction I have made every single year since E3 2007: Star Fox, and its long-overdue return. Do I even have to say it anymore? The Wii remote is perfect for the job, and it's an absolute mystery why this game hasn't surfaced yet. To be perfectly honest, I don't see this prediction as likely or unlikely. I just see it as far, far overdue. I can't just leave this here without a likelihood rating on it, though... Well, as much as it pains me to say it, I'm going to file this in the "unlikely" column. As much as I hope it'll come true, there's just been no evidence whatsoever of its existence. Sorry, Fox, but it's looking like you'll be warming the bench for another year.

There will probably also be talk of sales, reaching new demographics, slideshows of actors pretending to be families and overdoing the motion controls, graphs, charts... You know, the typical Nintendo conference stuff. Okay, I get it, you're successful. Can we see games now?

And finally, there's always that announcement that comes out of nowhere and defies all predictors such as myself. Can I predict such a vague thing, or is that cheating? Bah, I'll do it anyways. Feel free to consider it a null point on my score sheet when it happens.

That's all, folks! The predictions are made, and the wait is on. Not that I expect anyone to read this before E3... in which case I could totally just edit out all the false stuff and write in a bunch of facts as "predictions"... Nah, I wouldn't. Or would I? Nah. Good night, and have fun watching the conference!