Mark and I are down at the Kodak Theater for Nintendo's E3 press event. It starts at 9:00 AM PDT, with Miyamoto and pals showing off whatever's going to be sold out at Gamestops around the country for the rest of the year. Mark's prediction: a bundled Wii Sports 2 that comes with the new Wii MotionPlus controller. Jason's prediction: a new Nintendo DS motion adapter and/or redesign and/or new color. The liveblog will be here, so bookmark and check back frequently. Update: It's started!
8:44: Nintendo's music is much less annoying (and loud) than Microsoft's.
8:44: Mark says he's happy we're not sitting next to anybody stinky today. Well, except the guys at Kotaku. Check out their liveblog as well.
8:50: I wonder how Miyamoto preps for these things. Slapping his subordinates around with a Wii Fit, most likely.
8:51: THAT *slap* POWERPOINT *slap* NEEDS *slap* MORE *slap* BULLET *slap* POINTS!
8:52: Here's a question. Do Nintendo execs dance around in their underwear at home while thinking about how much money they have?
8:54: Mark update: I wish that words could convey the melodious techno music filling my ears/heart. The subsequent adrenaline rush can only be described in cans of one's energy drink of choice.
8:54: Mark update: (I'm at like 2.5 cans of Red Bull right now)
8:54: This might not be true, but we overheard that Reggie ate his way to the top of Nintendo. Like, he ate everyone in his way until he was the only one left in the managerial chain.
8:56: That's how he got to be head of Pizza Hut before, but he had a few more topping options over there.
8:57: Mark says the stage is like a dual screen, because there's one screen...and then another screen behind it. Excellent observation Mark. That's why you shouldn't substitute a Heineken for your orange juice in the morning.
9:01: Should start any second now. Miyamoto might or might not be the first one on stage. How many of their classic franchises do they have left to milk into next-gen motion-sensing games? Four.
9:03: Anyone have any price predictions for that MotionPlus add-on? $19? $29? $39? Three easy payments of $49.99?
9:04: I *think* one of the images Nintendo is using for their "look at how many casual users we have" is of NY Gov prostitute Kristen. Or Kristin. We forget. It's shot in NY.
9:05: Mark update: Wow, i cant believe I'm in the place they shoot American Idol! I feel so important right now.
9:05: It's starting!
9:06: It's another montage with "regular people" playing Nintendo games.
9:07: Cammie Dunaway is now coming on stage (exec VP of sales and marketing). Not Reggie (the toddler eater).
9:08: "Bringing home video games is probably safer than the other things you can do to impress your kids." Like body piercing. Or snowboarding and breaking her wrist, if you're talking about things that actually happened.
9:09: They're pulling out snowboarder Shaun White for the Wii Fit-based Shaun White snowboarding. Looks like you use a combination of Wii Fit and a controller. He's got no shoes or socks on.
9:10: Shaun White's Mii looks like a teenage girl.
9:12: The game looks very easy for casual players, as you'd expect.
9:13: This demonstration would have been HILARIOUS if she fell off the Wii Fit board and hurt her wrist.
9:13: Satoru Iwata, the KING of Nintendo, is coming on stage.
9:14: He's talking about 2003, the first year that he addressed E3. He seems kind of bitter about the "pessimistic view" people had of Nintendo back then. He asks who knew that the market could have shifted so much that they could have sold millions of bathroom scales.
9:15: Iwata wants to discuss what has really changed in this new gaming paradigm. First apparently is the long tail, software that sells for years at a time. Examples: Brain Age, Nintendogs, Mario Kart DS and Super Mario Bros. DS. Basically, simpler games whose graphics don't age as badly.
9:16: He says not everyone searches for better graphics and more deep content. But, Nintendo recognizes that some people do look for that.
9:18: "The marketplace has expanded. Take a look at this picture. And this one." He then proceeds to show a picture of two old ladies and then a young woman at a stylist. So...female players are new?
9:19: Iwata claims that in Europe, people are buying 200,000 units a week, as if every week was a holiday. Yes, to Nintendo execs, every week is Christmas.
9:20: Guitar Hero III on Wii is outselling all other console versions, apparently. Iwata is using this as the main evidence that the gaming paradigm has shifted.
9:21: "We must find more ways for players to feel engaged. Different ways for them to be enriched."
9:22: Mark predicts: Nintendo Eee PC!
9:23: Nintendo's announcing Animal Crossing City Folk. It's similar to the Sims, but more Animal Crossing-like. When you're not playing the game, the world inside the game still keeps going.
9:25: Yup, definitely like The Sims.
9:26: There's a new accessory called WiiSpeak, a group microphone attachment that lets people in one room talk with people in other rooms.
9:27: It's not a one-to-one microphone headset like the Xbox 360, but more like a group chat.
9:28: Reggie is now on stage. The WiiSpeak is going to be bundled with Animal Crossing later this year.
9:28: The Wii has sold 10 million systems and the DS has sold 20 million. These together make up $5 billion in sales.
9:30: Nintendo predicts that there will be 100 million DS units after 2008.
9:31: Lifetime sales of Pokemon titles top 180 million units.
9:31: Reggie says that according to NPD sales data, the DS has overtaken the Wii this year. They spin it as the DS having more "evergreen" titles, but it could also be taken as the Wii not having very many must-have titles.
9:33: "No system has sold more games in its first 19 months of availability."
9:34: Nintendo is going to show off three new games today. First, Star Wars the Clone Wars. Wii Lightsaber duels with your Wiimote. It doesn't seem like it's 1:1 lightsaber action.
9:37: Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party is a party game (obviously) with various incarnations already on systems now.
9:37: Call of Duty World At War is the third. It's got simultaneous co-op mode, which looks like two players using the same FPS screen with two crosshairs on screen at once. Similar to gun games like Time Crisis.
9:39: They're showing a chart of DS "recipients" comparing females to males, and in 2007, females were up to 48%. So, female gaming is pretty big for Nintendo.
9:40: Nintendo DS is also getting a Guitar Hero On Tour Decades that follows the original On Tour game. You'll be able to "song share" between different versions of the game.
9:42: DS is also getting Spore Creatures. Those monsters still look pretty gross, but are slightly cuter on this version. Not the bulbous abominations of nature that we saw on the PC.
9:43: Pokemon Ranger Shadows of Almia (Nov 10) is the new Pokemon Ranger game. It's that game where you have to draw circles around your Pokemon.
9:43: Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars is coming to DS. No screenshots yet, however. It's set in Liberty City, like GTA IV.
9:44: DS and Air Travel. Why can't they connect together? (I don't know, why can't they?!) Nintendo is currently testing connectivity with airports to get travel information like luggage claim and local restaurants when you deboard.
9:45: Cooking Navi, a cookbook "game", is also coming some time this year for the DS.
9:46: Now Reggie is back on stage showing off the Nintendo WiiMotion Plus. It makes the Wiimote "more precise," he claims.
9:47: It "renders every slight shift of your wrist or arm."
9:47: It's a "worthy successor" to Wii Sports and comes with "Wii Sports Resort." (Mark called it.) It also comes with an extended Wii Jacket.
9:48: The demo in Wii Motion plus is showing off a frisbee game where you chuck one to a dog. The new WiiMote knows exactly where your WiiMote is in space. It still requires you to point the WiiMote at the screen, it seems.
9:50: Reggie is demoing a Wave Race type water racing game with the new add-on.
9:51: Sword Fighting! Hold the Wiimote with both hands and cut at things with your on-screen sword.
9:52: "How often do you get to do this with your boss?" Well, I don't know, I 'swordfight' with people at Giz all the time.
9:52: Reggie is taunting the poor woman with a broken wrist.
9:53: Other "resort" games will show up in the title as well.
9:54: Launch date is next Spring.
9:54: From what Reggie is saying, you can't play the new Wii Sports game with your current Wiimotes.
9:55: Some guy is on stage showing off a game that includes a drum-simulator that works with the Wiimote, Nunchuck and Wii Fit Balance Board.
9:56: Miyamoto is on stage, with a sax sim played with the WiiMote. It looks kind of silly, but you play it with the face buttons.
9:57: The game is called Wii Music.
9:58: They were designing this game alongside Wii Sports, Wii Play and Wii Fit.
9:58: Miyamoto is saying that most music games make you press buttons in time with the music, but Wii Music lets you free-form your music depending on whatever you want. Just move the WiiMote around as if you were playing the instrument, and the game translate that into "music".
10:00: Fifty different musical instruments total. Piano, violin and guitar.
10:02: The drums are a separate mode that includes the Wii Fit board.
10:03: You can play with up to four players simultaneously.
10:05: Now all four people on stage are playing the Super Mario theme, with Miyamoto on cowbell. That's certainly an interesting interpretation of the theme. With Cowbell.
10:06: From what it seems like, you just have to shake the WiiMote in kind of the same way as you play the instrument and music comes out. So it's like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, except even easier because you don't have to play it in time.
10:07: They're wrapping up the announcements today.
10:08: Praphrased: "You guys called the DS a fad? It's not a fad. Consumers are saying it's not a fad."
10:09: That's it. The thing we can take away from this is that Nintendo is stressing that their games are not fads. NOT FADS!!
10:10: Thanks for reading! See you guys soon at Sony's press conference.