MediaFile

With a new Wii, new problems for Nintendo

Just in time for the utter madness of Black Friday, Nintendo has released an extraordinarily complex successor to its Wii, grandma’s favorite videogame console. The Wii, which made gaming accessible to every demographic through ease of play, is no joke. As of the end of September, it had sold 97 million units worldwide.

So what of this new machine? Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s swaggering president, has been hitting the road to promote the Wii U, a machine without the simplicity of the intuitive Wii. The Wii U is a kind of videogame console meets iPad. Its not easy to learn, and it’s a big gamble for the Japanese company. Replicating the Wii’s success is a nearly impossible task that even Mario with all his Power-Ups would find daunting.

A full year prior to the Wii’s release, Nintendo’s stock began to rise amid an elated, buzzy excitement in the press. The gauzy coverage said the Wii’s motion controls will yield a fascinating experience the whole family will love. By the time the Wii hit the shelves in November 2006, Nintendo’s stock price had more than doubled to over $28. A year later, at its high, it rocketed to nearly $77 a share. Not only did Nintendo make money on games, it made money on the Wii, which was cheap to produce. The Wii became a trend that doubled as a lifestyle choice. You could play Wii Sports with your family, and you could exercise with apps like Wii Fit.

In 2012 the world is quite different. A recession has hit the videogame industry, one that has led to numerous game studio closures. When people stopped buying the Wii in droves, Nintendo’s stock price retreated to pre-2006 levels. In the year leading up to the Wii U’s release, shares had fallen by almost 20 percent, from $18.66 to $15.52 last week, in part because Nintendo will lose money on each Wii U sold. (In the last day of trading before the Will U’s premiere, the stock passed $16. After a one-day bump, it declined again.)

This turn of events has severely stressed the business gurus at Nintendo. In 2011 at San Francisco’s Game Developers Conference, Satoru Iwata, Nintendo’s president, railed against developers who make inexpensive mobile games for the iPhone and iPad. “Game development is drowning,” he warned, before laying into mobile game makers as if he were Tom Coughlin chiding the New York Giants after a disastrous loss.

Tech wrap: Earnings hit as Apple reigns

Quarterly earnings suffered at major technology and telecoms companies in part because of demand for gadgets made by Apple, one day after core suppliers to Apple savored strong earnings results posted by the iPhone and iPad maker on Tuesday.

AT&T posted a $6.7 billion quarterly loss as it was weighed down by a hefty break-up fee for its failed T-Mobile USA merger and other big charges on top of costly subsidies for smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone. While the wireless provider beat analysts’ expectations for subscriber additions, the growth came at a massive cost as its wireless service margins plummeted. On top of the $4 billion break-up package charge, AT&T also took a big impairment charge for its telephone directory business, which it said it was considering selling.

Nokia reported a 73 percent fall in fourth-quarter earnings as sales of its new Windows Phones failed to dent the dominance of Apple’s iPhone or compensate for diving sales of its own old smartphones. Apple reported earlier this week sales of 37 million iPhones for the December quarter. Nokia has sold over 1 million Windows “Lumia” smartphones since its launch in mid-November. Nokia said it expected its phone business’ underlying earnings to be around breakeven in the first quarter, well below analysts’ forecasts, with sales falling more than usual in the seasonally weaker quarter.

Tech wrap: Twitter sings about new site

Twitter revamped its website to make the microblogging service easier to use and to help companies better showcase their brands. The new version of Twitter features a redesigned look that the company hopes will make it easier to find interesting content on the service, as well as technological improvements that it said will speed up the service. It also features a revamped profile page, in which a company can highlight specific feature, such as videos or photos. Previously, the profile pages displayed a chronological list of the company’s most recent Tweets.

Apple’s next iPad will be available in February, Business Insider’s Jay Yarrow writes, citing Citi analyst Richard Gardner. The new iPad will feature a screen with twice the resolution of the current model, Yarrow adds.

Verizon Wireless blamed technical problems for an outage on its recently launched high-speed, 4G network, which prevented some U.S. customers from accessing the Internet for about 24 hours. It is at least the second outage since Verizon launched its 4G data service. Trade publication FierceWireless said the company had a major service disruption in April.

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.

Tech wrap: Broadcom buys NetLogic

Chipmaker Broadcom Corp plans to buy NetLogic Microsystems Inc for about $3.7 billion to expand its lineup of chips used in wireless network equipment to take advantage of growing demand for mobile data services.

Google Inc’s effort to break into the daily deal industry and challenge industry leaders Groupon and LivingSocial is not going well, according to data released on Monday.

Analysts are predicting that Nintendo will sell fewer 3D handheld players according to Bloomberg.  3DS sales are expected to be 16 percent less than Nintendo’s annual goal of 16 million units.

Sony: Our tablets are coming… eventually

Sony teased out a few more details about its new Android tablets — codenamed S1 and S2 — and let reporters briefly handle prototypes.

AT&T will be the exclusive U.S. carrier for the S2, a double-screened device that bears a close resemblance to Nintendo’s DS  handheld gaming device. Sony showed off how users could turn it into a book.

Executives stressed that the tablets can connect to other Sony products, such as Blu-Ray players, TVs and PlayStation content, something Apple can’t offer. Like the Sony Ericsson Experia Play AKA, “the PlayStation phone,” the Adobe-Flash enabled tablets will come pre-loaded with the retro game“Crash Bandicoot”.

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.

Tech wrap: Nintendo debuts Wii U

Nintendo took the wraps off a high-definition version of its hit Wii, with a 6.2-inch touchscreen-equipped controller that the leading videogame hardware maker hopes will appeal to a more hardcore audience. Early reviews of the Wii U were mixed, with analysts saying the device stopped short of being game-changing. But some liked the innovation in the controller, a device slightly larger than Apple’s iPhone and whose touchscreen, video-call capability and extra functions may appeal to gamers who play longer and more intensely.

The new device will go on sale between April and December 2012, the company told reporters in LA without saying how much it would cost.

Data storage firm EMC offered to replace millions of potentially compromised “SecurID” electronic keys after hackers used data stolen from its RSA security division to break into Lockheed Martin’s network. RSA, which makes the SecurID keys, said in a letter published on its website that it had confirmed information taken from it in March was used in the attack on Lockheed Martin.

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.