Thursday, March 23, 2006

GDC iwata wrap up


Iwata's keynote was a slightly anticlimatic one for all those who had been expecting a full blowout of the Revolution, with new details, game footage, etc. etc.

However, it was a very interesting speech, with the following things announced or expanded upon:

1. Pepsi-Nintendo DS Co-operation

Pepsi have made an agreement with Nintendo to promote the upcoming Brain Age series in North America by putting ads for it on bottles of Pepsi soft drinks and bottled waters.

2. Brain Age Series

Iwata spoke extensively about Brain Age to begin with, talking about its origins. He says that the game's development was a result of people wanting more from games or being bored with the industry's current products.

Nintendo consulted with brain-professor-clever-guy Professor Kawashima during the development of the game. Development of the first game was finished in 90 days, showing how short the development time can be yet still with an interesting and innovative product.

3. Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection

Iwata talked about the Nintendo WFC's amazing 1 million unique users - on only 18 weeks. He states that it took competitors (i.e. Microsoft with Xbox LIVE) over a year to reach this level. 29 million gaming connections made so far.

He also stated how the intention of the service is to make online gaming like playing with friends at home - easy, simple, secure. He also states that whilst some people wish to play with strangers, friends are important too - the example of someone cutting all your trees down in Animal Crossing was given as an example. Nintendo WFC's internal codename during development was "Project Houseparty".

4. Developer Competitions

Bill [of Nintendo of America], the director of the GDC, a G4TV host and Will Wright played games of Brain Age and Metroid Prime Hunters on stage. Bill won at both games.

5. Zelda DS!

To be called The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, the title is to be released later this year and will have cel-shaded 3D graphics, action on the bottom screen, and maps on the top screen. It will have interactive puzzles that use the touch screen, which will also be used for map and menu navigation.

6. Virtual Console - Not Only Nintendo!

In what may be a counter to Sony's legacy PS1 & PS2 game download service on the PS3, Iwata announced that Nintendo is expanding the range of the planned Virtual Console service.

As previously rumoured, users will be able to download games from not only Nintendo's back catalogue, but also from a selection of 1000 Sega Genesis/MegaDrive games and games from NEC's TurboGrafx system.


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