MediaFile

EA: We love Wii U

Back in June, everyone was talking about the Wii U, Nintendo’s first video game console with high-definition graphics unveiled at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.

Since then, no one’s heard much more about Wii U, which has a tablet screen for a controller and can be used in conjunction with Wii remotes. Nintendo must be hunkering down to put the finishing touches on it before it hits stores sometime next year.

But Peter Moore, the video game industry veteran who was promoted to be Electronic Arts’ chief operating officer in August, told Reuters this week that everything appears to be on track with the Wii U, at least from his perspective working for a publisher making games for it.

“There are no indications that there’s anything that feels like it’s off target,” Moore said. Nintendo’s stock has taken a beating in recent months and its share price is approaching its low for the year.

Moore said he will be visiting Nintendo’s hometown of Kyoto next week to check on how the console is shaping up.

E3: Strauss Zelnick dishes on Wii U, Zynga and why foie gras tastes better than chewing gum

Take-Two Interactive occupies a massive booth at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where it’s showing off its new games and serving beer at the elaborate sports bar it constructed on the show floor.  Under its CEO, Strauss Zelnick, Take-Two has been showing renewed financial health in recent quarters. In February, it posted its first profitable year in nearly a decade without a new release of its blockbuster video game franchise “Grand Theft Auto.”  Zelnick sat down with Reuters for an in depth chat touching on everything from Nintendo’s new console to Zynga’s business model, and the difference between foie gras and chewing gum.

Reuters: Are publishers on board more than ever before with Nintendo on the Wii U?

Zelnick: Well, It’s hard to know, right? At E3, there’s always a great deal of enthusiasm, as there should be. It remains to be seen what the releases schedules look like. We do think it’s pretty interesting. What they are doing with one display in your hands and the other display that’s wireless in front of you and the ability to have them work independently as well as together, creates a lot of interesting creative opportunities and that’s what we’re looking for. We’ll see how our creative teams feel but right now it looks pretty interesting.

“Modern Warfare 3″ vs “Battlefield 3″ fight turns ugly

The showdown between next fall’s biggest first-person shooters escalated at E3 this week, with EA’s and Activision Blizzard’s top brass exchanging some vitriol. Bobby Kotick, Activision Blizzard’s CEO first went on CNBC on Monday claiming that EA’s “Battlefield 3″ was just a PC title with only a ”small audience.” In response, EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello, told Reuters that Kotick was spreading misinformation about “Battlefield 3″ and that contrary to what Kotick said, it would be widely available on consoles.

Here’s what both CEOs told me:

BOBBY KOTICK, CEO, ACTIVISION BLIZZARD

“We just want to stay true to the interest of the Call of Duty fans and we try to not get distracted by what people are doing. I can’t objectively tell you what I think of other products until I see them. Battlefield I’ve only seen on a PC and nobody’s seen it on a console yet. Most of our consumers play games on a console. Until I see it on a console, I wouldn’t be objective on commenting on it.”

JOHN RICCITIELLO, CEO ELECTRONIC ARTS

“It’s the beginning of the war and (Kotick) recognizes they’re going to be threatened. We’re going to have a clash of the titans this fall. The very fact that he’s trying to cast doubt on our game is a perfect example of how we got his goat. In terms of where this goes, we think our PS3 game is better than their Xbox game and our PC game is better than their PC game. If that’s all he’s got to say, it’s obviously going to evaporate as we launch all three. If you went to our press conference, you saw the PS3 footage and the Xbox footage. If Bobby thinks that is PC footage, he’s in real trouble.”

Introducing Nintendo’s Wii U

The new Nintendo Wii

 

Nintendo just announced the successor to the Wii at the annual U.S. video game confab, E3 on Tuesday.

Here’s what we know so far:

The new console is the first Nintendo device to support HD graphics. Its controller features a 6.2-inch touch-screen that works as a second display showing the same images being played on TV. The screen can also provide gamers with additional information to give them an edge over competitors. It can run old Nintendo games, has motion-sensor capabilities and can be used in conjunction with Wii controllers, the company said. Additional hands not included!

    plays 10 adp full HD graphics, can connect to HDMI will play proprietary high density discs and downloaded content hits stores between April 1 2012 and December 2012 no HD video on touchscreen, but the new console will deliver HD video on TV screens

Activision’s brainy toys take over

At E3, the huge video game trade show that kicks off in LA on Tuesday, the main attention usually falls on first-person shooter titles aimed at teens or young male gamers. Games targeted at children can easily get lost under the bright lights.

Activision Blizzard, known for “Call of Duty” and ”World of Warcraft” is trying to change this by backing its new kids game, “Skylanders” with a hefty marketing push at E3.

“It’s getting the full triple-A treatment,” said Laird Malamed, a senior vice president of development at Activision.

EA cuts out middleman, launches video game download service

It might be a few days before a stampede of people will storm into the LA convention center to catch the video game industry’s latest wares but EA wasted no time in getting out the word about its new digital download service, dubbed “Origin.”

“Origin”, which EA announced on Friday, lets consumers buy and download PC games directly from the publisher online, as well as track all of their games across different platforms.

Publishers like digital delivery of games to consumers because they offer higher margins than games sold in brick and mortar stores like GameStop.  EA has been pushing its digital strategy hard to investors and its digital business is now growing faster than the company’s overall business.

E3: Nintendo’s Iwata says Vitality Sensor lives!


That (above) was Nintendo President Satoru Iwata at last year’s E3. Cool idea, eh? So what happened to it?

The device — a pulse reader that fit on a fingertip and aided/monitored one’s ability to relax, I guess — was the kicker of the Wii-maker’s showcase a year ago, and it was only fair to expect that this year there would be some blossoming of the plan. But at this year’s event we got nothing. Many blogs noticed its absence. Read here, here, and here.

In essence, Iwata said Vitality Sensor lives. However, a fireworks show is no place to demonstrate a state-of-the-art pillow, and that Nintendo is searching for the right pillow show. Or something like that.

Sony on the Apple challenge in games, e-books

hiraiApple is, of course, absent from this week’s video game extravaganza, the  E3 Expo in Los Angeles. The company just doesn’t do trade shows.  But its presence looms over the event.

Apple has managed to create a whole new gaming market with the iPhone since its debut in 2007. There are tens of thousands of games available for download via Apple’s App Store, and it’s an open debate as to how much the iPhone’s success has hurt the traditional hardware makers, namely Nintendo and Sony, which both make portable gaming devices.

Nintendo is making a big push to differentiate its portable gaming platform with it’s new 3D-enabled DS, which offers a glasses-free experience.

E3: Ubisoft teases (again!) with Michael Jackson

mijax

Somebody at Ubisoft must be a big fan of the films “Jaws” or “Predator,” where the title characters do not materialize until late in the movie. Or maybe it’s the play “Waiting for Godot” they admire — Godot never shows at all.

Why else would they — for the second year in a row — devote a chunk of time at their E3 event to a highly anticipated video game, and not show any footage from the game?

Ubisoft ended its show on Monday with a wonderfully loud, energetic, amped-up dance routine featuring six of the talented performers from Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” concert rehearsal documentary. They were giving us a taste of what we can expect from the game Ubisoft is developing in conjunction with Jackson’s Estate (due later this year on all major platforms.)

Waiting for Xbox Kinect (nee Natal)

natal

Today is the day that Microsoft fully takes the wraps off of its much-anticipated motion/gesture system “Project Natal” for the Xbox 360 system. Its press conference promises to be one of the most important at this year’s E3 video game industry trade show in Los Angeles. It’s expected to come out in November in time for the holiday season.

The camera-based system got a early pre-introduction to the media last night — and a new name, “Kinect” — in a Cirque Du Soleil event that has been called both amazing and odd. We can’t tell you much about it since I did not attend, and Microsoft banned cameras. But we scoured the world (that is, you know, we googled Youtube) for some reports from those who got a glimpse (and snuck in cell phone cameras.)

Stay tuned for more details about the system and other development from E3. Until then, here’s a demo video of the kinds of things Natal will enable families to do — with no controllers.