Tag Archives | Nintendo

Nintendo Getting Into Video After All

Analysts have called for it, and with the Wii’s impressive install base it makes sense, but earlier I suggested that Nintendo will shy away from streaming video due to its philosophy of exalting gameplay above all.

So here’s me eating my words.  At least in Japan, Nintendo and advertising giant Dentsu will offer a video service next year. Still, don’t expect an equivalent of Netflix or the on-demand TV show offerings of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The videos coming to the Wii will be created specifically for the console, with a combination of pay-to-see and ad-supported content. The Nikkei business daily has reported that this will consist of cartoons, among other things.

This is a bit puzzling, because offering established TV shows instead of this yet-unspecified content would seem like the safer bet when building a video service. Then again, the Wii itself was a gamble that paid off handsomely, so perhaps Nintendo knows exactly what it’s doing. We’ll have to see what happens to the content if and when it migrates west.


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Patentmania: The Golden Age of Electronic Games

The Golden Age of Electronic Games

The first three decades of digital gaming saw a flurry of concepts, technologies, and products that were groundbreaking in their era and still matter today. And the drawings their inventors used to document them in patent filings are a nostalgic, charming blast. Here are thirty-two of those sketches–including ones for some the most successful games ever and a few which I’m not sure ever made it to market at all.

As with my earlier patent galleries, I couldn’t have done this one without the wondrous research tool known as Google Patents. The filing dates that follow link to the full patent documents there.


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Nintendo Gets Into Media Convergence With…Books?

mariobooksWhen it comes creating machines that do more than play games, Nintendo never shared the eagerness of its competitors. Thinking back, I can’t recall any of their consoles or handheld devices offering other entertainment media besides games.

That’s why the deal between Nintendo and book publisher HarperCollins, to release the 100 Classic Book Collection for the Nintendo DS handheld, is such a surprise.

Really, though, it’s pretty clever. You pop in the cartridge, flip the DS on its side so the dual screens are aligned horizontally, like a book, and use your finger and the touchscreen to thumb through the virtual pages of Dickens,  Shakespeare, and much more. And does your Amazon Kindle play video games when you grow tired of reading? Thought not.

It makes sense from a practical standpoint, which helps explain why Nintendo is bucking its “gameplay above all” philosophy to do it. The DS could probably handle some sort of video capabilities to compete with the Sony PSP’s UMD format. Likewise, Nintendo could devise a streaming video service for the Wii and has suggested the possibility of DVD functionality. But you’d need servers to stream video, a major marketing push to sell new handheld video formats, a firmware update or new console generation to support DVD. None of that sits well with the company’s classic approach to gaming systems.

In any case, Nintendo doesn’t need to offer any of those non-gaming perks; they are outselling Sony’s handheld and the other two consoles, after all. So instead of branching into potential pitfalls like music and video, the Big N is providing a much simpler alternative — the written word.

Maybe it’s not such a surprise after all.


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Nintendo to Bring Music, Camera to Upgraded DS

Nobody can dispute that Nintendo has a true blockbuster on its hands when it comes to the Nintendo DS. The device has sold some 77.5 million units worldwide through June of this year, and continues to sell them at a rapid pace-at least a million per month, if not more. But the device has not been updated since March of 2006, when the company introduced the DS Lite.

That is about to change. According to a story in the Japanese business daily Nikkei, the company will release an updated model later this year. The most notable new features would be an integrated camera, and the capability for music playback.

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