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GameStop-Exclusive Demos and C64 on VC?

by Karl Castaneda - October 2, 2006, 10:19 pm EDT
Total comments: 24

Are we only going to see Wii kiosks at one location come November? Also, what’s this about Commodore 64 games on Nintendo’s retro service?

GameStop Corp., the largest gaming specialty store in the United States, recently held their annual sales conference where, according to The Dallas Morning News, a rather peculiar statement was made by CEO Steve Morgan. According to him, Wii demo kiosks will only be available at GameStops at the console’s launch this November.

Since Nintendo’s aiming at a much broader audience, specifically those outside of the hardcore circle, this seems like an odd choice. PGC contacted Nintendo of America, who declined to comment on the rumor, but I’m thinking we should all take this with a large grain of salt.

The only reason Nintendo would go with such a narrow field of demo penetration would be if they wanted a very specific experience to accompany the kiosk, such as an employee walking the player through a level, or someone keeping an eye on the station to make sure Wii remotes aren’t stolen.

Even so, it would be a huge mistake to forego including such massive retail chains like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target, who house the vast majority of the consumers Nintendo’s aiming for. Furthermore, if Nintendo truly wants to break the mold, they’ll have to get Wiis in the hands of as many people as possible, and if demo stations are limited to GameStops, that just isn’t going to happen at launch. I’d bet that this is a misunderstanding between two of the parties involved (Nintendo, GameStop, or the Dallas Morning News).

There are less than seven weeks left before Wii launches across North America, but we’re still in the dark concerning demo kiosks, pre-orders, and other retail details – keep your browser on Planet GameCube as more on this story is revealed.

In other Wii news, the Internet has been hissing about like Thundercats lately with the rumor that Commodore 64 titles are making their way to the Virtual Console. It all stems from the latest issue of Nintendo Power, which states that C64 software like Impossible Mission and California Games are coming to the DS, with Wii versions also in the works. The writer also makes the offhand comment that they’d possibly be coming to the Virtual Console as well, and that’s where the rumor stems from.

Epyx, the developer of the games that publisher System 3 is now releasing onto the DS and Wii in the future, was not directly linked to CBM (Commodore Business Machines), and as such, games released from said developer on Virtual Console, while proving that C64 emulation would exist on the VC, wouldn’t necessarily equate to the kind of support Sega and Hudson are providing.

At the end of the day, what appeared in Nintendo Power was speculation, and whether or not it’s based on inside information or a mere guess will be revealed as more on the Virtual Console is made public.


ShyGuyOctober 02, 2006

Don't tell me I'm going to have to buy a ticket to that wretched concert to play a Wii before I buy one....

KDR_11kOctober 02, 2006

Let's not forget that Walmart is notorious for retaliation when they feel left out (why this hasn't brought them an antitrust lawsuit I don't know). Telling them "We'Re not giving you any demo kiosks" might result in smaller Wii sections.

MaleficentOgreOctober 03, 2006

The way nintendo told it to us it sounded like they want to put their systems in other stores but can't for now. Some of it is logistics and other is the experiance. But as far as I know We're going to be the only store to have them for this holiday season. Wal-mart and them WILL get them next year.

ScummyOctober 03, 2006

Here's the actual deal. All stores are getting Wii kiosks. GameStop/EB Games however is the only store getting interactives. Yes, that does sound strange considering that Nintendo really wants to get the Wii controller into as many hands as possible, but there's a few good reasons behind this.

1. How do make an interactive with a wireless controller where you actually have to stand far away from the system to play it? You can't if you expect to keep the controllers. Companies have enough problems keep their DS Lites and PSPs which are bolted down. Imagine a controller on a teather. How long do you expect that thing to last? To my understanding the way the GameStop interactives will work is that the controllers won't be teathered to the system, but will be kept behind the counter. The Wii will play videos until a customer aproaches the counter to request a controller to use. In order to get a controller you will have to give a driver's liscence or a credit card which will be returned when the controller is returned. That kind of thing can't be pulled off at a big box retailer. How long do you usually wait in the video game section of Wal-mart for someone to show up and open that cabinet to sell you a game?

2. GameStop/EB is responsible for 25% of the game industry's new sales. It's where most gamers shop, and it's growing like crazy. Most people that currently shop there are PS2/360 fans. Nintendo wants that to change, so they seem to be treating the company a bit better than they used to.

EasyCureOctober 03, 2006

it makes sense but i dont see a lot of people going up to the counter to request to play a game. maybe its just the mall i work at, or the incompetence of the employees at the GameStop in that mall that makes anyone who goes there often weary of asking for anything from those clerks.

seriously, even with huge signs all around the kiosk itself saying "please ask for assistence" or something, i dont see any one (other than the people like us who will know about this before hand) going up to the counter and asking for a remote to play a demo. demos work when its sitting there in front of you, you see a controller, you pick it up and play. again, this might just be the gamestop in the mall i work at, but i dont see one of those associates keeping an eye on it and saying "hey kid, you wanna play that game?" especially on the busier shopping days (ie black friday - xmas).

besides, how will that work with younger crowds? what if some 15 year old or younger that doesnt atleast have a permit give for collateral to play the game?

AnyoneEBOctober 03, 2006

Uh, why wouldn't they just have the controllers teathered with braided steel cabling (the stuff used in laptop locks)? It's pretty flexiable and very difficult to cut quickly.

LouieturkeyOctober 03, 2006

It would have to be really long braded steel for people to have enough room to play. Remember, you need to be a bit farther away from the screen than with a gamecube kiosk.

Also, what happens when I give them my DL and I start to play and some jerk kid comes up and grabs the controller from me and gets out of the store before I or anyone else can stop him? I am responsible for the controller and I get dinged for it. I don't like that.

There is also the possibility of infighting. Someone has the controller and another person sees them playing and wants to play and asks to play. The person playing says no and they get into a fight. Will the EB/GS employees referee and try to break up the fight? Is that in their contracts as employees?

With regards to the younger crowds, they can bring in a parent or guardian or a friend who has a DL and play it using them. If they can convince the person to give the DL to the EB/GS clerk, the controller becomes their responsibility and they can let whoever they want play with it.

Ah, I see, it's starting to make a little more sense now. It's all about the logistics of playing the Wii, and the logistics of guarding the controller.

~Carmine M. Red

Who says the steel tethers would have to attach to the kiosk? They could be anchored to something on the other side of the store, giving players plenty of room away from the kiosk to play properly.

If this is all true, that interactives will be limited to GameStop and require collateral, all I can say is: HUGE MISTAKE!

Ian SaneOctober 03, 2006

The whole plan for the Wii is that non-gamers will buy it once they try it. But if it's only in game specific stores they aren't going to try it unless a gamer specifically gets them to. The goal is for people to walk by, see the Wii and think "hey I want to try that". They're not going to be in a Gamestop or EB store in the first place unless they're already interested in games. There's no walk by and thus no desire to try it. Plus having to put down collateral is going to ensure that only people already interested in the Wii will try it. Unless they can try it immediately I don't see a non-gamer seeking out a clerk. Plus with controllers behind the counter non-gamers can't see the controller and thus won't associate the Wii as anything different than the PS3 or Xbox 360. Hide the controller and the Wii just looks very ordinary. They might not even think it's a videogame system. They might just think it's a TV playing videos.

This seems very much like Nintendo's bungling of the Cube's marketing. They're assuming people already know about their product.

It's not like Nintendo intentionally set out to make Kiosks that would scare away Walmart. Geez guys.

I agree that these issues are crazy tough and that Nintendo really needs to try to come up with a solution as soon as possible. but this is just an unexpected side effect of the Wii's new technology that couldn't be avoided for now. It's not about marketting decisions, it's about finding a feasible way to get Wiimotes in the hands of consumers in a store environment: this is the only solution they've come up with so far.

~Carmine M. Red

CericOctober 03, 2006

Now we are back to word of mouth. Nintendo probably realized that they designed the WiiMote with people playing the console in mind and totally forgot about Demo Kiosk at the time. It's now back to bite them. There is not a way to secure it without making a special controller. A metal chain, while strong, is only as strong as what it is attached to which in this case is probably plastic. To compound the problem you need space to play the Wii. Smaller stores have the attention but larger stores have the space. So this whole thing sort of breaks down for them.

In the end, it will have to be a campaign much like the PSP where you can't actually play it. Being creative its doable. Nintendo is going to have to step up there tours, have a tour squad going to Sears, Best Buys, Fairs, Zoos, Walmarts, about any place with a variety of non-gamers and space. This also means that Nintendo will have to really get its game on when it comes to online demos. The Wiimote and Nunchucku are going to have to get a price drop but the Wiimote was the most problematic piece of hardware for them for what I can gather. Hence they've had to spend more money on it and aren't getting as big of yields as possible. After the initial launch window they should have it ironned out so I think we'll see a price drop then.

Also on the tours, Nintendo would do well to find some one to make an Iconic vehicle for the tour. Much like the Wienermobile. When people see that sitting out there they get excited and go and see it. When they see it on the interstate they check there local paper to see where it was or will be and they call there friends to say they saw the Wienermobile. Good way to keep Nintendo on peoples minds.

The Wiimobile?

Anyways, there's one magic bullet for anything marketting related... Oprah.

~Carmine M. Red

PlugabugzOctober 03, 2006

It's likely that it will start out initially in gamestops, and that other demo kiosk contracts for wii (i dont call it the wii anymore) will be finalised later on.

This dont matter to me coz i'm in the UK..... WAYHEY TURKEY SUPER BANZA.

KDR_11kOctober 03, 2006

Johnny: That still leaves the problem of where to attach the controller. From what I've seen of GameStop their stores don't leave any part of the wall unused so you can't attach the controller to the walls and I don't think you can attach it to a shelf either (never mind that the tether would get into the way of customers). You'd have to put some heavy object into the room which the remote can be attached to. You'd also have to prevent people from walking in between the player and the TV and IR bar. That takes a lot of space. Those stores are cramped enough already.

AcefonduOctober 03, 2006

I got to play Wii here in Detroit last Friday, w00t! Did I just w00t? Anyway, the music stunk but the games were amazing! Beat Ridley on the first go too. Got in for free with a press pass. Everyone watch Start Button News for inside info on Detroit's Nintendo Fusion Tour. With any luck the footage will be posted on youtube and google before the month is out! Just search Start Button News! That name again is Start Button News!

TrueNerdOctober 03, 2006

When you couple this with the pricing of the system and the launch window line-up, I believe it is more then obvious that Nintendo, despite all the chest pounding over the last two years, is not going after non-gamers. Initially, anyways. And they don't have to. Nintendo knows it can make the most money in the next six months by extorting people who are already Nintendo fans, the people who will buy it without trying it and will pay whatever price is asked.

It took the DS 9 months after its launch to make any attempt to appeal to non-gamers with the release of Nintendogs. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Wii takes a very similar approach. Consider Wii Sports nothing more then a headstart in this regard.

SixthAngelOctober 03, 2006

I don't see the big deal. This is some kind of temporary exclusivity and the other stores will get them when the implementation is perfected and the consoles become more readily available.

Nongamers frankly don't matter at launch or this Holiday season. They are not going to be waiting in line at midnight on launch day or scouring random stores until they finally find one. It will take more time to get these people interested.

While I personally wish all the stores had kiosks this could have a positive turn. In the best case scenario this exclusivity and having to give up an ID to play could garner a lot of attention. The measures put in place make it seem like playing Wii is special and a priviledge, not like the other consoles that are just thrown on the floor for anyone to touch. It could become an event and something that becomes that thing you have to do at the mall. If advertised well some of these places could gather lines and crowds to play Wii.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 03, 2006

Sixth is right, this is not a huge deal because Wii is going to sell out regardless, so might as well wait a bit for other stores to get Wiis when they actually have consoles to buy.

SvevanEvan Burchfield, Staff AlumnusOctober 03, 2006

The best way for Nintendo to get Wii into the hands of non-gamers is for all of us to show it to our families on Thanksgiving Day.

wanderingOctober 03, 2006

I know that's what I'm planning.

edit: while this isn't great news, I don't think need demo units in order to sell, at least not this year. I can't try out an ipod at walmart, and they still sell. Besides that, I'm sure the non-interactive kiosks will be pretty good advertising tools, and I'm interested in seeing them. A giant touch-screen with a bunch Wii videos would be nice....

CericOctober 03, 2006


Originally posted by: wandering
I know that's what I'm planning.

edit: while this isn't great news, I don't think need demo units in order to sell, at least not this year. I can't try out an ipod at walmart, and they still sell. Besides that, I'm sure the non-interactive kiosks will be pretty good advertising tools, and I'm interested in seeing them. A giant touch-screen with a bunch Wii videos would be nice....

...Setup up so it looks the same as the Channel interface and you touch the one you want to bring up.

ScummyOctober 03, 2006

Ok, a reply to various posts.


You have no idea how many people come up and ask why the 360's not working (broken), or if they can change the game in whatever system. People will ask.


I'm not sure that collateral will be used. That's just what I heard but it makes sense to me. In that scenario, if the 15 year old wants to play it, he better get someone older to help. Probably whomever drove him to the store.


You could walk into a Best Buy on Black Friday and walk out with a big screen TV and you wouldn't get caught. Don't try that by the way. Thing is that there are some really big a-holes out there that ruin it for everyone. Theft is something that people can't get around, especially with video games where people can steal from one store and trade it in for cash at the other store down the block.

Plus imagine a 3 foot steel cable going from someone's flailing arms to the system and someone trying to walk in between them. Sounds like a lawsuit to me. I'm concerned with people smacking eachother by accident as is.


Too bad. It's like taking out a library book. You can take it out for free, but if someone breaks into your car and steals it, you have to pay.


If someone starts fighting with you over the controller you act like a human being and explain how to get one. If he tries to grab it, just return it to the counter. Easy.


That whole statement is wrong. Non gamers are in game store constantly. It's called gift shopping. Also don't forget all the malls. The interactives will be in the window. A few years back I ran a DDR tourney with metal pads in my store right at the entrance. There was also some kind of show going on down the hall. My store had a bigger crowd of curious people than the show in the middle of the mall did.

Trust me on this guys. It's the best decision they could have made.

If you guys think Wii will sell out a million units in North America before the next shipment comes in, I think you're in for a surprise. Not to say that it won't be a big seller, but one million units on launch day is much more than normal, and remember that Nintendo has promised to keep major shipments coming throughout the rest of the year. I don't think Wii is going to sell out...but it will still far outsell PS3 and maybe even 360. The sell out is overemphasized in this industry. GTA games don't sell out because Rockstar is smart enough to make sure there are plenty of copies. That makes it no less of a blockbuster.

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