Archive for the ‘GDC’ Category

Nintendo Announces Wifi pay and play, as well as downloadable content

February 22, 2008

Today at GDC Nintendo announced that they will be offering a Wifi Pay and Play service.  This basically means that there will be a service charge when playing certain Wifi games.  They didn’t make a specific announcement as to the price, but they did state that the cost would be managed using Wii points.  This new feature will affect both future DS and Wii games.  To help ease the confusion there will be a special red marking around the Nintendo Wifi Connection Logo, indicating the Pay and Play Service.  Personally I perfer Nintendo’s origenal Wifi stance I call “Play” but hopefully with the Pay and Play they could be indicating a more advanced online system then we see today.  I’m hoping an Animal Crossing MMO, but that’s just me.

Nintendo has also confirmed that they will allow users to download new content for Wii Games.  This will include both store bought games and downloaded games (ex. WiiWare titles).

There haven’t been any games or dates specifically listed for these new services.



Live Blog of the Wii Fit event

February 20, 2008

I am going to try to live blog this event. The signal is horrible, so if I die out…you know why! There shouldn’t be anything big coming out of this anyway.

We are being shown 6 Japanese Wii Fit commercials. You’ve seen all these before.

As of last weekend, 1.4 million units of Wii Fit were sold in Japan.

Discussions for the Wii fit board started long before Wii even came out.

We are shown a diagram of Miyamoto;s original idea for the Wii fit board. Photography isn’t permitted.

The original ideas were eventually turned into Wii Sports, Play, and Fit. Wii Fit was the heart of this entire program.

Miyamoto’s proposal was met with a number of doubts at first. Miyamoto was sure that the idea would lead to something fantastic, so the team went ahead. It wasn’t expected that the idea would become a hit product.

Miyamoto believes that you must develop a game with the intent that it will be a million seller. If you don’t, your project will come out mediocre at best.

Getting past the price point was a huge hurdle for the development team. They weren’t sure how they could create the software and hardware, all while offering it at a reasonable price.

The Wii Balance Board actually utilizes something from the N64 controller, known as the rotary encoder. It reduces friction while increasing precision.

As we learned in the Iwata Asks feature, Sumo wrestling actually played a part into the development of the board. Sumo wrestlers were sometime weighed on two scales instead of one…one foot on each scale. This helped to lead toward the board development.

Once the first board was developed, Miyamoto thought that the team was onto something. He really liked the movement-based play that came from using two feet. This is when the team stopped trying to be cost-effective, and went all out on their ideas.

We are being shown the same balance board prototypes that were in the Iwata Asks feature. One of the boards actually had rumble in it, but it wasn’t powerful enough to feel, and it was a big battery drainer.

The team started to think about making a board that didn’t just detect left and right shifts, but forward and backwards as well. Some were against the idea, saying that plenty of fun games could be made with just left and right shift sensing.

The Wii Fit team visited the Nintendo Service Center to find out the type of issues that could come from a controller that people had to stand on. It was decided that construction needed to be simple in order to avoid malfunctions. This is when the idea of the strain gauge came about. This involves detecting force by expansion and compression. They finally decided on 4 of these sensors.

The Wiimote was originally connected to the board in order to push down cost. The team decided that they didn’t like the danger of connecting the Wiimote to the board all the time, because someone may step on the Wiimote. That’s when the team shifted to a housing on the board that could hold the Wiimote.

The original board designs were all square. Miyamoto saw an issue with this once the board was tested. He thought that the traditional stance for exercise was legs shoulder-width apart. That’s when the decision was made to make the board wider. This once again increased cost.

It took multiple prototypes to find the right dimensions for the board. When Iwata was shown the final prototype, he did not like the idea of connecting the Wiimote. He thought the idea was a bit absurd. In his words, it was ‘clumsy’. This lead to yet another redesign…one that included a power and sync button, and a way for the signal to transmit through the metal frame.

The two main menus of Wii Fit are the Body Test and Training.

Body Test – this is so players can check their weight, BMI, Wii Fit age, balance, and many more things. The Wii Fit channel was included in order for players to test their body without having the game disc inserted. This allows for the quickest way possible to turn on your Wii, and check your weight. Tests can be done without the game inserted.

Training – Over 40 training exercises/games. Balance Games, Aerobics, Strenght Training, and Yoga.

Yoga – 15 poses

Strength – 15 activities

Aerobics – 9 exercises

Balance – 9 games

We are shown a video demo of the European version.

The board can actually hold 660 lbs, but it can only read up to 330. You can use the Wiimote speaker as your trainer if you’d like to watch TV while exercising. The speaker will provide the voice of your coach. You can also check the board’s battery level through the software, and you can turn the board off through the Wii. The board always registers as Wiiimote 4.

Majority of purchasers – 25 to 45 years old, with familes of their own.

Well, that’s the end of the session. Back to Bethany!


Nintendo Reveals it’s Next Engaging Experience

February 20, 2008

WiiWare, Wii Fit, Super Smash Bros. Brawl Shown at Game Developers Conference

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 20, 2008 – The Game Developers Conference in San Francisco attracts the top creative minds in the video game industry. With that audience on hand, Nintendo announces news that reinforces its commitment to provide entertaining and enriching experiences for veteran and new gamers alike. WiiWare™, Nintendo’s new downloadable game service, launches May 12 and expands development opportunities for developers the same way Wii™ expanded the world of video game players. Wii Fit™, the upcoming title for Wii, launches May 19 and introduces the Wii Balance Board™ peripheral. And Super Smash Bros.® Brawl draws in fans of all kinds.

“We are excited to participate in the Game Developers Conference this year to share with developers and consumers alike our upcoming unique services and products,” said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “We are hopeful that they will appreciate our offerings of WiiWare, Wii Fit and Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which represent a trio that will continue to attract new players to the world of video games.”
At the conference, Nintendo speakers will outline a number of plans for the coming months on their respective panels:

WiiWare: Nintendo’s upcoming WiiWare changes the way both developers create and consumers access video games. Through WiiWare, Nintendo hopes to offer developers a virtual laboratory that serves as a breeding ground for new games, which encourages great ideas that creators always wanted to develop. The combination of low development barriers and unique game experiences found only on Wii should enable developers to try new ideas with lower risk in a quicker, more creative and affordable way.

Meanwhile Wii owners can download a multitude of cool new games from different genres, including some that are unprecedented, which can be purchased from home at a dynamic price range. WiiWare also empowers consumers to determine with their Wii Points which games have the right stuff to become the next big thing.

WiiWare will be a repository for all types of experiences – literally, something for everyone. Early WiiWare games will come from celebrated developers like Square Enix, which is creating FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: My Life as a King, a simulation game for all ages. Also watch for games from up-and-coming developers like Frontier with its fresh, enchanting platform adventure LostWinds and a new episodic game series from Telltale. The first U.S. WiiWare games will be available on May 12.

Wii Fit: Wii Fit demonstrates Nintendo’s commitment to gamers of all kinds. It combines fun and fitness for every member of the family to keep active and play together. Wii Fit launches May 19 in the United States and comes with the weight-and-motion-sensing Wii Balance Board that Nintendo representatives demonstrated could hold great promise for future game development as well. Third-party publishers are already working on new games and applications that will make use of the Wii Balance Board. Additionally, Wii Fit includes access to the Wii Fit Channel, an interactive channel that lets users check in each day to track their fitness progress through weight and BMI. In Japan, Wii Fit has sold more than 1.4 million units since its Dec. 1 launch.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl: This action game launches March 9. With dozens of characters, settings, options and ways to play, it has something for everyone. The game includes characters from all across the Nintendo universe. The previous installment in the franchise went on to become the best-selling game of all time for Nintendo GameCube™.

Remember that Wii features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other Wii features, visit

About Nintendo: The worldwide innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Wii™, Nintendo DS™, Game Boy® Advance and Nintendo GameCube™ systems. Since 1983, Nintendo has sold nearly 2.5 billion video games and more than 430 million hardware units globally, and has created industry icons like Mario™, Donkey Kong®, Metroid®, Zelda™ and Pokémon®. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in the Western Hemisphere. For more information about Nintendo, visit the company’s Web site at

Mario Kart Wii Preview from Gamespot

February 19, 2008

Read about it here.

This game looks very promising, once I’m done waiting for Smash Bros, I can’t wait for some Mario Kart.  The fact that there’s split screen online only makes it sweeter.

On the GDC front, nothing new Nintendo wise, those should be popping up in the next 2 days.

GDC Is This Week

February 18, 2008

That’s right the Game Developers Conference is this week.  Just a heads up to look for updates.