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Nintendo E3 2005 Press Conference Summary

by Daniel Bloodworth - May 17, 2005, 8:38 pm PDT
Total comments: 7

New revelations and pulled punches left fans wondering how to react.

Nintendo’s E3 Press Conference is always where the kid at heart gets to come out and play for a while, where that sense of wonder can be quickly rekindled, or extinguished for another year. Which kind of year would 2005 be?

There was a bit of delay before the conference started. In recent Nintendo fashion, a seizure warning was given over the sound system, due to the flashing strobes that would go off later in the presentation. There was also a lot of strife from the fire marshals, who weren’t exactly pleased at the crowds of excess people standing around the room.

Satoru Iwata opened the show talking about how he has made games, and played games, but now he’s going to ask some questions, starting with “Who’s your daddy?” as he bragged about how badly he can beat Reggie in Super Smash Bros. It’s interesting to see a clearly playful side of Iwata, which would sneak out several times over the course of the press conference.

Reggie Fils-Aime came out and proceeded to take some names, mostly that of arch-rival Sony. He talked about the numbers everyone has been hearing, 360, 128-bit, but that he had only one number for us to remember. Two … as in billion, which is the number of games Nintendo has sold since they entered the business in 1985.

He talked about how Nintendo as sold 28 million Game Boy Advance units in the US, roughly the same as the number of PS2 units sold. The Nintendo DS has sold over five million units worldwide, double that of the PSP. He was quick to point out that PSP has yet to launch in Europe, but he said that was because Sony couldn’t deliver, and that isn’t his problem. The tie ratio (software units sold per hardware unit sold) for the DS is 4:1, again doubling that of the PSP. The final slide was not at all a surprise, as Nintendo touted that with the GBA and the DS, Nintendo controls 94% of the handheld market. So much for there being “three pillars.”

Reggie talked about how Nintendo was turning the DS into a tool to allow people to create, and showcased the quirky “Electroplankton”. He introduced David Hollands, a New York DJ who came out and played an original composition with two DS units, both running Electroplankton (with an assist from a heavy bass track).

The conference continued, with talk about Nintendo’s WiFi plans and their partnership with IGN/GameSpy, confirming that online would be free with participating hotspots (and at home with your own wireless router), that Nintendo would not charge to play first party titles online (leaving the door open for third parties). He set high goals for the service, saying that they can “see no reason why the participation rate can’t reach as high as ninety percent” of DS owners. He also confirmed online versions of Mario Kart and Animal Crossing, as well as a Tony Hawk game.

The topic of conversation then turned to the game taking Japan by storm: Nintendogs. It’s sold over 400,000 units in the first month alone, and DS sales have tripled that of the PSP since Nintendogs was released. Tina Wood, from G4 came out to showcase her Pug named “Mia”, and she showed the tricks she’s taught Mia how to do. She then brought out a mini Mario Kart RC car which Mia seemed reluctant to play with. Finally, she demonstrated “bark mode” which is where the DS is put to sleep, but still listening for other Nintendogs to play with. When your DS barks, a puppy has come to visit, sometimes bearing gifts! A few seconds later, her DS barked, and Bill Trinen’s dog “Mario” came to play, wearing a little red Mario hat, but it turned out that it was Shigeru Miyamoto himself with a blue DS unit in tow. While Miyamoto and Tina talked, the press conference turned abruptly R-rated as Mario proceeded to “mount” Mia, much to Tina’s dismay. Shortly, the puppies proceeded to fall asleep, with Mario resting his head on Mia’s back … a cuddly little puppy pile. Miyamoto then escorted Tina backstage to “show her a few more tricks”.

That was not all of the fun in store, as Fils-Aime proceeded to whip out what can only be described as the smallest Game Boy Advance ever … the Game Boy Micro. 4 inches wide, and sporting a 2-inch diagonal screen. It’ll have custom faceplates (take that, Microsoft), but little else was discussed, save for a Fall release.

Finally, it was time to get some of the details on Revolution, which Iwata produced, easily holding the device in his hand. He set the console down in a gray stand which displayed the Revolution at an angle (the stand will be packed-in), and said that the prototype unit displayed (and in pictures) was larger than the final unit will be. Up in the air as well are final colors, with Nintendo showing five different colors, asking the press and their readers for feedback on what they’d like to see in the market.

Revolution will be backwards compatible with GameCube titles, using the same self-loading disc slot, and in a surprise announcement, Nintendo 64, Super Nintendo, and NES titles through a download service, making Revolution capable of playing Nintendo’s entire back-catalog of games. DVD movie playback will be possible through a special, internal accessory, and contain 512MB of flash memory, as well as an SD slot to expand that memory. In one picture, GameCube controller ports and a Memory Card slot could be seen, likely hidden under a plastic cover on the top (side) of the unit. All controllers will be wireless, and WiFi is built into the box. Then Iwata said that he’s pressing the team responsible for Smash Bros. to have a wireless Internet version ready for launch, so that he can always beat Reggie, wherever he is. He stressed that Nintendo is working on something brand new for Revolution, but wasn’t forgetting their proven franchises, and that Mario and Zelda would both see Revolution action, and rolled a quick sneak-peek (seconds worth) of Metroid Prime 3. Square Enix is working on a WiFi Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles game for Revolution as well. Nintendo is also aiming more directly at developers with the Revolution, saying that the hardware will be easier and less expensive to develop for, encouraging big ideas over big budgets.

George Harrison then came on stage to discuss the GameCube line-up for the year, which consists of sixty new titles, including a new Pokemon RPG, DDR Mario Mix, and two new Mario sports titles. After a montage of game clips, Nintendo pulled the veil even further back on the new Zelda title, now called Twilight Princess. The stunning video, which you can now access through our torrent showed rumored features such as Link transforming into a wolf. There are also a number of bizarre creatures that seem to drop through portals in the sky and a character who rides Link while he’s in his Wolf form, and has some strange and unique attacks of her own. The music for the video is breathtaking, and if it’s indicative of what will be in the final game, it will truly set a new standard for the series. The conference ended with Zelda’s director, Eiji Aonuma, taking the stage, offering a gift for the audience, and pulling out a Nintendo DS card with Zelda clearly printed on it to reveal --- that it was a video of the trailer that we could watch on our DS systems. It’s a nice touch, but also clearly a tease, hinting toward the next handheld Zelda title.

In all, despite Nintendo making strides to change their image, both in terms of design and presentation, their repeated reluctance to blow the lid off the new home console largely defused the crowd’s excitement.

Rick Powers co-wrote this article.

Nintendo E3 Preview Release

Details of the consoles and games at Nintendo's Booth from tomorrow.

AT E3, NINTENDO SHOWS PRODUCTS THAT EXPAND

APPEAL OF VIDEO GAMES TO NEW AUDIENCES

Nintendo’s Next Console, Game Boy Micro, Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection for DS

Represent New Directions for the Industry

LOS ANGELES, May 17, 2005 – Nintendo continues to lead the video game industry in innovation. No matter the hardware system, no matter the software title, Nintendo remains on the cutting edge of what’s possible. At the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, Nintendo demonstrates how it will open the video game experience to new audiences. Nintendo announced a variety of new initiatives, including details about its next console, the slick new Game Boy® Micro, the Nintendo® Wi-Fi Connection wireless service for Nintendo DS™ and surprising information about the new Legend of Zelda® adventure.

“No company has a stronger history or a brighter future,” says Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales & marketing. “We want everyone to join us in that future, which is why we’re expanding our products to new audiences and investing in the concept of All-Access Gaming.”

Here are some of the Nintendo highlights that people will be talking about during E3 and beyond:

Nintendo’s next console turns the world of video games on its side: Due in 2006, the new console will be backward compatible with Nintendo GameCube™. The console also will have downloadable access to 20 years of fan-favorite titles originally released for Nintendo® 64, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System® (SNES) and even the Nintendo Entertainment System® (NES). Players also can buy and add new levels and characters to games made specifically for the new console. The new console has 512 megabytes of on-board flash memory. A bay for an SD memory card will let players

expand the internal flash memory.

The console’s stylish look houses a single, self-loading media bay for both 12-centimeter optical discs for new games as well as Nintendo GameCube discs. It will have wireless controllers, two USB 2.0 ports and built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. A number of Wi-Fi-enabled games will be ready at launch, and the new console will build on – and add to – Nintendo’s rich stable of star franchises. A new development architecture will accommodate both big-budget games as well as artistic, indie offerings designed to make sure that everyone from video game experts to newcomers find ways to share and enjoy the gaming experience.

Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection extends Nintendo DS’ range from your hands to the world: By the end of the year, owners of the dual-screened Nintendo DS will be playing Mario Kart® DS, Animal Crossing® DS and a new Tony Hawk title from Activision wirelessly with their friends worldwide. The new Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection portable, wireless video game service debuts later this year and lets players join in for no added Nintendo subscription charges. IGN Entertainment will manage the architecture and navigation of the service. DS players will connect at any Wi-Fi hub, whether in their home, at a coffee shop or elsewhere. The service will let friends join together as easily as if they were playing in the same room and instantly broadens the gaming experience to players worldwide.

With more than 60 licensee titles due this year, Nintendo also seeks to expand the idea of what constitutes a video game. New software titles like Nintendogs™ and Electroplankton™ for Nintendo DS provide unique experiences beyond traditional definitions. Nintendogs lets users choose an extremely realistic puppy and form emotional bonds with it, while Electroplankton lets users create their own ethereal or pulsing rhythms using the touch screen.

New Game Boy Micro projects a dynamic image: The best-selling system, Game Boy Advance, gets an extreme makeover for image-conscious people who like to play games. A slick, polished new look called Game Boy Micro shrinks Game Boy Advance technology into a stylish silver casing. It boasts a super-clear screen but weighs just 2.8 ounces, about the weight of 80 paper clips. A removable face plate gives owners the option to buy replacements to customize the look of their systems again and again with new colors and designs. It’s a cool new look, but not a successor to any existing

product line. The Game Boy Advance line has sold more than 28 million units worldwide.

Fans howl for new Zelda game on Nintendo GameCube: The Legend of Zelda®: Twilight Princess remains the most anticipated game on any console this year. Players control Link as he travels on foot, battles on horseback or roams the vast countryside – as a wolf. With lush graphics and a deep storyline, the gritty, sweeping adventure demonstrates the awesome power and versatility of Nintendo GameCube. More than 60 new titles are expected for Nintendo GameCube this year, from kid-friendly games to Mature-rated titles. Four Mario titles are set to debut at E3, including Dance Dance Revolution®: Mario Mix, Mario Baseball™, Super Mario® Strikers and Mario Party® 7.

Talkback

miedoMay 17, 2005

Few seconds worth of Metroid Prime 3? Did they show anything worthwile or was it short enough to be just for kicks?

Oddly, I feel underwhelmed, especially against last years presentation. Everything last year hit me like crazy, and this year it just seems like, "Oh, Link can turn into a wolf." Maybe because last year Legend of Zelda was actually revealed, but who knows. More will come in the following days.

EcrofirtMay 17, 2005

The show this year was terrible.

Terrible, terrible, terrible.

LoknoMay 17, 2005

Just like Miedo said, Nintendo didn't have a lot of groundbreaking information to deliver this year (Save maybe Smash Brothers Online, and downloadable Nintendo games), so I wouldn't blame them for not whipping up the crowd (Not to mention the Revolution's look was circling the web before the show, so that probably stole some of their thunder). It's not like people were jumping up and down in their seats at Sony's conference. I, for one, liked what I saw, and I can't wait for Zelda and Nintendo online services.

steveyMay 18, 2005

"prototype unit displayed (and in pictures) was larger than the final unit will be"
so it not done yet and will be more powerful in a year, so 2-3 now mean 20-30 later face-icon-small-cool.gif

ArbokMay 18, 2005

Quote

Originally posted by: stevey
"prototype unit displayed (and in pictures) was larger than the final unit will be"
so it not done yet and will be more powerful in a year, so 2-3 now mean 20-30 later face-icon-small-cool.gif


One can hope...

DjunknownMay 18, 2005

Quote

While Miyamoto and Tina talked, the press conference turned abruptly R-rated as Mario proceeded to “mount” Mia, much to Tina’s dismay.


YES! Its a shame that the puppies can't breed, but I guess its for the greater good. I know I'd have my male puppy hump everything in sight spreading the love... devil.gif

Anyways, I hope they can get third parties on board with the service...

TMWMay 18, 2005

Quote

Originally posted by: Djunknown
Quote

While Miyamoto and Tina talked, the press conference turned abruptly R-rated as Mario proceeded to “mount” Mia, much to Tina’s dismay.


YES! Its a shame that the puppies can't breed, but I guess its for the greater good. I know I'd have my male puppy hump everything in sight spreading the love... devil.gif

Anyways, I hope they can get third parties on board with the service...


Puppy breeding? =P

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