Nintendo rocks the house at E3, touts console and handheld supremacy

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Los Angeles (CA) – Nintendo literally rocked the house at their E3 press conference with music, games and even some stuffy business apps for the DS handheld.  In what has become a typical E3 scene, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata and legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto were treated as gaming industry demigods by the audience at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood California.  The pair, along with Nintendo of America’s President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime, slammed home the message that Nintendo, the Wii and the DS aren’t fads and they certainly have the marketing numbers to prove it.

Yesterday, Microsoft’s senior vice president of entertainment, Don Marrick, told reporters that the Xbox 360 will outsell the PlayStation and the Nintendo Wii, but Nintendo shoved slide after colorful slide onto projectors that clearly showed quite the opposite.  Namely, the Wii and DS are annihilating the competition.  Iwata believes the DS can hit 100 million unit sales which is an insane number for any console and handheld and he claimed the Wii will surpass the Xbox 360 in the United States in the near future.  The Wii is already the global leader in installed units.

The secret to this success, according to Iwata, is a paradigm shift in designer and player thinking away from graphically intensive games and towards games that are actually fun to play.  Iwata joked that this has helped sell millions of bathroom scales disguised as the Wii Fit.  But Nintendo isn’t abandoning “glorious” graphically appealing games and Iwata assured people that his Zelda and Mario teams are hard at work bringing new games to market.

Unlike other press conferences where companies roll out dozens of games in what seems like a blur of activity, Nintendo showcases just a handful of titles.  A new Guitar Hero title for the DS will have a tactile addon that fits right into the handheld.  This allows full control of your guitar and actually looks quite cool.  Spore Creatures and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown were also quickly discussed, but surprisingly the DS is not just for games anymore!

Air travelers often carry their DS to pass the time while waiting at the airport and Nintendo believes the handheld should also be able to check your luggage pickup points and give you your flight information.  ATM and restaurant information should also be available.  All of this is “being tested” as we speak according to Cammie Dunaway, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Nintendo of America.

Nintendo also showed off the Wii MotionPlus, an inexpensive (we think and hope) add-on for the Wii controller.  The MotionPlus comes as a simple cap that pops onto the controller and allows for more fluid and accurate tracking of arm, hand and wrist movements.  This extra accuracy was shown off in the upcoming sequel to Wii Sports, Wii Sports Resorts, with Nintendo execs virtually riding a wave runner, throwing a Frisbee and sword fighting each other.

Unfortunately, Nintendo still hasn’t specified the price for the MotionPlus.  Perhaps it might come standard with an upcoming boxed version of the Wii?

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