Shippin’ Out: December 11-15: Zelda GC, lots of Wii

The GameCube receives perhaps its last notable title as Nintendo’s new system ramps up with new releases.
In March of 2004, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker director Eiji Aonuma referenced a “Wind Waker 2” in a presentation at the Game Developers Conference. That project eventually became The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and helped launch Nintendo’s Wii last month. The original GameCube version sees release this week and appears ready to go down as the last notable title for Nintendo’s aging system.

As Nintendo’s previous system goes the way of the dodo, the Wii is entrenching itself at retailers around the country with a slew of new releases. In addition to a quartet of Virtual Console games–Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine, Gunstar Heroes, Ice Hockey, and Alien Crush– the Wii sees a handful of titles for all age levels refreshing store shelves.

Konami’s first-person hide-and-seek game Elebits offers a bit of E for Everyone-rated entertainment, while the E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older crowd can kick back with new games like Super Swing Golf and Chicken Little: Ace in Action. The cartoonish military shooter Metal Slug Anthology and World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions have been given T for Teen ratings, while older gamers might enjoy the first-person shooter Far Cry Vengeance, rated M for Mature.

Things are mostly quiet on the Sony front. The PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3 get one title each in the form of College Hoops 2K7 and Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII, respectively. The PlayStation Portable is slightly busier, playing host to Blitz: Overtime and Shrek Smash and Crash. The Xbox 360 new-release section is similarly quiet this week, with only Rapala Trophies, Star Trek: Legacy, and the Xbox Live Arcade game Assault Heroes to call its own.

This week’s new releases are listed below (list taken from retailer information–actual dates may vary).

DECEMBER 11, 2006
College Hoops 2K7 (PS2)
Rayman Raving Rabbids (PC)
Alien Crush (Wii)
Gunstar Heroes (Wii)
Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine (Wii)
Ice Hockey (Wii)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (GC)

DECEMBER 12, 2006
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII (PS3)
Blitz: Overtime (PSP)
Disney’s Chicken Little: Ace in Action (Wii)
DMZ: North Korea (PC)
Elebits (Wii)
Far Cry Vengeance (Wii)
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas (PC)
Star Wars: Lethal Alliance (DS)
Shrek Smash and Crash (PSP)
Super Swing Golf (Wii)
World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions (Wii)
Lionel Trains On Track (DS)

DECEMBER 13, 2006
Assault Heroes (Xbox 360)

DECEMBER 14, 2006
Metal Slug Anthology (Wii)
Rapala Trophies (Xbox 360)
Star Trek: Legacy (Xbox 360)

DECEMBER 15, 2006
Alexey’s Dwice (PC)
Football Mogul 2007 (PC)

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Paris Hilton-Designed DS on eBay

Pinklite

I’m not sure how I missed the original story, but late last month Nintendo UK released a super-limited-edition DS Lite encrusted with Swarovski crystals and designed by Paris Hilton (of course!) for rich women and crazy people.

Kotaku reports today that one of them is now up for sale on eBay with a Buy It Now of 750 pounds — about $1465. The auction description says that it was used solely for press shots, which means that it’s likely that exact model featured above.

Pink Nintendo DS Lite – Paris Hilton Swarovski Edition
[eBay]

DS: “I Want To Be Like Wii!”

If you’ve been wishing your Nintendo DS was more like the Nintendo Wii, the DS motion card may be something to look into. The motion card plugs into the DS card slot and features a 3-axis accelerometer and single-axis gyroscope, turning your DS into a motion-sensing ‘Tenda. At the moment, there are only a few apps that support the motion-sensing card (DSaSketch, Sprout and Water Drops Tilt), but we’ll definitely see more as soon as the card releases. Not only is the DS motion card pretty darn revolutionary, it also opens up new doors for handheld game developers. Who knows, maybe the motion card will get popular enough to get picked up by Nintendo and become an official DS accessory. It may be wishful thinking, but it would really take handheld gaming to the next level.

DS: “I Want To Be Like Wii!” [ds fanboy]

Nintendo lets you turn your DS into an MP3 player

nitendomp3.jpg

If you somehow haven’t gotten a portable MP3 player yet but managed to snag a Nintendo DS lite, don’t run out and buy an iPod. Nintendo is releasing their MP3 player, a little device in the shape of a Game Boy Advance game that pops into the bottom game slot of their super-popular handheld game console. It has an SD slot, allowing you to load it up with tunes and turn your DS into a portable music player in addition to your Mario-game-player of choice. It comes with a 512 MB card, but you’re free to get any size you’d like to upgrade that size. Unfortunately it doesn’t do video or anything, but if you really cared about that you probably would have picked up a different device by now. The Nintendo MP3 player comes out in the U.K. for about $38 on December 8, the same day the Wii is released there.

Trusted Reviews, via Ubergizmo

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Disney Dedicates Studio To Nintendo Wii, DS

Fall Line Studio for Wii and DSDisney loves Nintendo Wii and DS so darn much, they’ve decided to create Fall Line Studio for the sole purpose of creating games specifically for the Big N.

The press release from BVG follows:

Buena Vista Games, Inc., the interactive entertainment affiliate of The Walt Disney Company, today announced the formation of a new video game development studio dedicated to creating innovative games for Nintendo platforms. Based in Salt Lake City, Fall Line Studio’s focus is to develop games based on Disney’s characters, television shows and entertainment franchises as well as creating new intellectual property for the Nintendo DS and Wii game systems.
Built around a core of industry veterans, the studio will focus on small-team, creative projects that leverage the Disney brand in new and innovative ways. Fall Line Studio will operate as a sister studio to Buena Vista Games’ award-winning Avalanche Software studio, also in Salt Lake City, giving the company an advantage in reaching the strong pool of creative talent in the region.

Industry veteran Scott Novis will serve as vice president and general manager for Fall Line Studio. Prior to this position, Novis served as general manager of Rainbow Studios where he grew the staff from 30 to more than 200 employees. His experience in the video game business and knowledge of the industry will allow Fall Line Studio to capitalize on the power of the Disney brand and deliver innovative games for the mass market.

“This studio will be one of our centers of creative excellence and it gives us the ability to fully capitalize on our properties and expand our market share on Nintendo platforms,” said Graham Hopper, senior vice president and general manager of Buena Vista Games. “Scott Novis brings the perfect mix of team building and relevant business experience to the position of studio head for Fall Line Studio.”

“The opportunity to grow a new studio for Buena Vista Games after success with Rainbow is right in line with my goal to create great games for the mainstream,” said Scott Novis, vice president and general manager of Fall Line Studio. “BVG has an excellent management team, a can-do corporate culture and a treasure trove of great intellectual properties that make it exciting for us to start something new.”

BVG has a strong reputation for creating games for Nintendo platforms and is the No. 3 publisher of Game Boy Advance titles in North America. The strength of the company’s famous characters, Disney Channel properties and entertainment intellectual properties provide Buena Vista Games with an unparalleled deep catalog of content.

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Nintendo DS leads video game industry growth – Nintendo Press Release

Nintendo DS Nintendo’s Latest Press Release:

NINTENDO DS LEADS VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY GROWTH
Touch Generations Titles are Expanding Audience to Female and Older Players

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 13, 2006 – As both an entertainment and a business, Nintendo DS™ today is the powerhouse of the U.S. video game industry, driving nearly all industry revenue growth so far this year. Without this portable system, the video game industry growth overall would be nearly flat when compared with 2005, according to independent sales figures from the NPD Group of Port Washington, N.Y.

Through September’s end, the U.S. industry overall shows revenue growth of 11 percent when compared with the same period in 2005. Nearly all of the growth comes from the portable DS – without it, the industry would report a mere 1.6 percent growth over the past nine months. DS hardware and software units posted a robust gain of 203 percent when compared to the same period in 2005. The news is the same globally: Nintendo recently announced estimated full-year shipments for DS hardware will grow to 20 million units from 17 million units worldwide, while estimated DS software shipments increased to 82 million units from 75 million.

“Numbers dramatically show the value of reaching out to the masses with products that are compelling and comfortable,” says Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. “And this perfectly sets the stage for our breakthrough Wii console, which appeals to both core players and current non-players with an intuitive control system and a price everyone can afford.”

The NPD numbers also indicate that during September, Nintendo DS lifetime U.S. sales surpassed more than 6.2 million units. That total includes more than 1.4 million units of the new Nintendo DS Lite systems, which launched just 16 weeks ago on June 11. It’s important to note these numbers represent Nintendo DS systems actually purchased by customers, not ones shipped only to stores.

“During a home console generation upgrade, consumer interest in existing consoles tends to drop as anticipation for new consoles increases. Hand-held game hardware and software revenues have kept the industry afloat,” says Billy Pidgeon, Program Manager, Consumer Markets: Gaming at IDC. “Hand-held gaming has spurred real industry growth, and Nintendo’s longstanding leadership in this space continues to drive this market.”

This summer, Nintendo launched its Touch Generations brand to help newcomers to video games identify which nontraditional and pick-up-and-play titles are appropriate for them. The response from consumers has been enthusiastic, as four of the top 10 best-selling Nintendo DS games are Touch Generations titles. Touch Generations games include Brain Age™: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day and the three versions of Nintendogs™. And at the same time, avid players also are fueling growth: the New Super Mario Bros.® title, exclusively for Nintendo DS, is the third best-seller among all video games this year, including console games.

Nintendo’s internal statistics show the Touch Generations brand continues to reach more women and older gamers. Nintendo statistics show a significant percentage of all Touch Generations software buyers are female and are age 25 or older, demonstrating the broad appeal of Nintendo titles like Brain Age and Big Brain Academy™, which provide engaging and entertaining content for baby boomers and seniors alike.

For more information about Nintendo DS, visit www.nintendods.com. For more information about Nintendo’s Touch Generations brand, visit www.touchgenerations.com.

The worldwide innovator in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Nintendo DS™, Game Boy® Advance and Nintendo GameCube™ systems, and upcoming Wii™ console. Since 1983, Nintendo has sold nearly 2.2 billion video games and more than 375 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 www.nintendo.com.

Source: Nintendo

As this sales chart shows, Nintendo continues to dominate…

1. Nintendo DS Lite – 403.435 – (6.246.000)
2. PlayStation 2 – 306.517 – (34.612.000)
3. Xbox 360 – 259.458 – (2.672.000)
4. Game Boy Advance – 177.145 – (31.876.000)
5. PlayStation Portable – 153.353 – (5.175.000)
6. GameCube – 42.286 – (11.165.000)
7. Xbox – 6.495 – (14.302.000)

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