Gaming

Nintendo FY2016 Earnings Results: the madness

A few hours ago, Nintendo announced their results for the just-ended FY 2016 (from April 1st, 2015 to March 31st, 2016), and outlined some of their plans for the upcoming Fiscal Year and OH GOD WHAT HAPPENED. Yeah, I’ll have to admit, most of the news I’ve read left me surprised, a bit baffled, and shocked. Now that a few hours have passed, and reactionary feelings have cooled off a bit, here’s my take on what has been already stated, before tomorrow’s Investor Meeting. A long introduction is not necessary this time, so I’d say to get right into the

No, not that. Already enough on the web today, seriously.

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Gaming

Guessing time! ft. Wii U-to-NX ports

 

Well, it’s one of the first thoughts most people had in the past months, right after NX was announced (me included).

“Good! I hope they bring Wii U games to NX, games that could have better chances of success on a more successful console, or games that act like a service / have big online communities, and it would be bad to see them end with the Wii U, …or Zelda at least”.

And we got news on the matter. Or, better, rumours. From our good old Emily Rogers (who is used to leak infos for Nintendo, with a great track record, especially after the less-than-respectable reliability back in 2011) through Twitter: several ports coming, and among them four games: Zelda Wii U, Smash Bros., Super Mario Maker and Splatoon.

There are different reasons for these titles, and they’re all valid: Zelda is ported because it would see its sales potential strongly limited by Wii U’s small installed base, and it represents a great title for the “launch window” on NX; Smash Bros. has a living and kicking online community going on, which is something that can be said for Splatoon too (see those amazing Splatfest numbers for Japan I reported in my latest article). Also, both Splatoon and Mario Maker, even more than Smash Bros., are both games and services, due to all the free content released (and releasing). And the aforementioned periodical Splatfests for the former. Now, it’s important to highlight that, while both Zelda and Smash Bros. are (almost) 100% happening, Mario Maker is around…90% right now, I think, and Splatoon is the port which is characterised by the biggest uncertainty on its actual release; just to be fully honest on the matter. Ok, good, great, these ports can be good …But what about the others?

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Gaming

The good things in the Nintendoom

This generation has probably represented a slap in the face for Nintendo. Most of their beliefs from the Wii/DS era were shattered, especially about their power towards consumers, but there are so many areas where they failed to capitalised on or that saw a devastating collapse compared to the past, as well as factors they clearly undervalued / ignored. A rapid list?

  • The complete misreading of the market with Wii U and the partial misreading for 3DS
  • The inability to bring a steady lineup of games for both their consoles without way too long dry pauses: 3DS’s really anemic first year, the need to re-focus their resources on the handheld in order to readjust the sales trajectory, thus giving to Wii U the shaft for a long time of its first year, the lack ofa decent amount of big 3DS Nintendo titles (especially in the West) in the off-year for Pokémon, etc.etc.
  • The concrete, real and unavoidable treat of mobile gaming to not just their handhelds (3DS is going to end its life with sales higher than 1/3 of DS’s lifetime sales, but not that much…not bad per se, but not good historically), but to Nintendo itself due to the crossover between their classic audience and the mobile audience
  • The fact their online services, while growing and with a sparkle of interesting ideas (see: Miiverse), are still way behind what Xbox One and PS4 offer
  • How they tried, after releasing consoles that were innovative because they had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve, to release consoles that were innovative just for the sake of it, lacking the aforementioned clear vision
  • Among all the markets they went down, the drastic fall in the UK market. Yes, the UK market is even more hit-driven than the rest of the gaming market, and they have a lot less affection for Japanese-style of gaming compared to even the US (let alone continental Europe), etc….but their numbers went way too down, their retailer presence is too low

And the list could still go on, it’s true. So, finally time for the Nintendoom, right? I mean, there’s absolutely nothing good coming from this generation of consoles, no?

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Gaming

Discussing game elements ft. Mario

Mario games. So much to say about them, so much to discuss and debate, and not just “What’s the best?” or “What’s the worst (aside from the edutainment / Hotel Mario)?”, but much, much much more. And with such fervent discussions, it comes as a natural consequence that there are more sour discussions or opinions; certainly, among the most recent ones, “Is Super Mario 3D World a “main” 3D Mario game?” is still running. I’ll be honest here, and I’m probably going to upset many people around but…really…why the angst for 3D World. “Bu-bu it’s a 3D Land port!11!!” So off the road that even a blind man driving in the wrong direction has a better sense of direction “The levelsh aren’t that special and diverse” So off the road that even Zoro can reach a place faster than you. “Fuck, Bloodborne got fucking robbed!” so off the road that…it’s not even in topic, and 2015 GOTYs awards have long passed (even if still a great game). I love 3D World for its amazing level design (in my opinion, on par with Galaxy games -that tightness and sheer amount of ideas), the beautiful soundtrack and the enjoybale multiplayer component, even if it can be too chaotic sometimes. And I might mock at people angry for 3D World, but while the debate if the game is a “main” 3D Mario game is way too often taken to extreme levels, those who criticise it have some points, like the difference between 3D World’s aesthetics to the grand spectacle in the sky that is Galaxy, or the feeling that all the levels, even if amazingly built both visual and gameplay-wise, feel disjointed between each others and not like, again, a great adventure. Looking at this discussion in a more civil way (so, no “Wii U is teh doomedh!!!, I HATE THIS MARIO CUS’ THIS AND THAT!, U can’t comprehend SLAYtendo *pop music gif*, or, basically, no walls throwing at bricks at each others, sorry guys), it could be considered more like a discussion between a pure-gameplay-focused school of thought and the adventure-focused school of thought, an interesting discussion I have to admit. And one of the debates that can spring from it is the importance of the hub world in a Mario game, comparisons between the hub world and the more classic world map. And this is the main focus of this post.

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Gaming

The flowers can rise from bones too

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP, WHOEVER HAS YET TO PLAY THE GAME IS WARNED

This article is a translation, more or less, of my own article on my Italian blog, I pensieri volanti. If you want to check the original in Italian, go here. For all the others…let’s go.

Those who have played games for a long time are perfectly aware of what I’m going to talk about here. Both the title and the image presentation are clear hints. And I don’t want to hide it that much: this was the first time I played this game, after tons and tons of praise from everyone. I’m not angry if you want to insult me, you’re perfectly free to do it…to be really honest, I’d insult myself too for having waited so much time. Which can be said for way too many other great games I’ve yet to play. But I won’t show you the list, just imagine it as long as all the crazy stuff Donald Trump said or did in his election campaign. Yeah, it’s that long. All due to my passion for videogames being fired up by Super Smash Bros. Melee and…but that’s a story for another time. The title in question is, of course, Grim Fandango Remastered.

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Gaming

Silence is deafening: brief update

This is going to be a small post, compared to my usual (and probably way too long, I know) 2,000+ words articles, but I suppose it’s needed, especially considering how there’s a strange silence about it, no major gaming news website has reported on the matter as of the time I’m writing this, I think. I feel that, despite the minuscle reach of this minuscle corner of the oceanic world wide web, if my contribution can do anything to inform anyone about this brand new development, then it’s all good. Before continuing, one question: remember all the people (like Patrick Klepek) who said that the harassment towards Alison Rapp wouldn’t have certainly ended with her being fired by Nintendo, right? Well…

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Gaming

First analysis of a new membership system

We are all eager for news on NX. I’ve already started the countdown to April 27th since before knowing the exact date of the upcoming Financial Results meeting. No, that’s a joke, because I’ve started the countdown since March 2015, when Iwata mentioned it. Blue balls as a way to live. Ok, let’s stop with the hyperboles (…sort of), but seriously, I’m so both interested and scared by knowing more about what’s next for Nintendo, the new idea that detaches itself from the Wii U / 3DS philosophy era, the fresh start, and I’m sure I’m not alone. But, just ten days ago, we got something NX-related, in our own hands, after all. Just remember what Iwata said back in March 2015

https://www.nintendo.co.jp/corporate/release/en/2015/150317/03.html

Iwata:

Nintendo, together with DeNA, will jointly develop a new membership service which encompasses the existing Nintendo 3DS and Wii U systems, the new hardware system with a brand-new concept, NX, and smart devices and PCs, and Nintendo will be the primary party to operate this new membership service. Unlike the Club Nintendo membership service that Nintendo has been operating, the new membership service will include multiple devices and create a connection between Nintendo and each individual consumer regardless of the device the consumer uses. This membership will form one of the core elements of the new Nintendo platform that I just mentioned.

The membership service as one of the core elements of NX. We had a delay, features outlined in subsequent shareholders’ meetings, a “beta version” in Japan, and earlier release in Japan too, but finally it’s here in the West as well. MyNintendo is a thing!

https://my.nintendo.com/

And here’s my (flying, of course…and sort-of analytical) thoughts about it as a whole in its current state.

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