E3 2007: Nintendo's E3 Announcements

SuperMarioGalaxy

Ryan and I just returned from the Nintendo Press Conference. The company had a hard road to hoe catching up to last year’s presentations but President and Chief Operating Officer Reggie Fils-Aime kicked everything off with a nice overview of Nintendo’s changing impact on game demographics.

Statistics he cited showed an amazing growth in the non-traditional markets of men and women 25 and over as well as the septuagenarians (old folks) in the audience. This was nothing surprising to anyone that has been following the Wii’s explosion in the market.

Nintendo did move on from the numbers to introduce a new Wii accessory – the Wii Zapper. The Zapper is a cradle for the Wiimote and nunchuk controller that turns it into a light gun setup. The company emphasized its interest in making the Wii a premiere platform for FPS games and used EA’s Custom Medal of Honor Wii, Capcom’s RE: Umbrella Chronicles and SEGA’s Ghost Squad. The accessory will launch later this year with a Nintendo designed game (Duck Hunt Wii anyone?) for $19.99.

NintendoZapper

Next we got to see updated impressions of Legend of Zelda on the DS, Metroid Prime 3, and Super Smash Bros Brawl. All look good and the news that Super Mario Galaxy would hit shelves December 3rd 2007 seemed a bit disappointing since it falls late in the Christmas buying season.

Mario Cart Wii and a Wiimote racing wheel will be bundled and Nintendo claimed to be doing online play but we all failed to notice. I’m not sure Reggie and I have the same definition of online play. There is a new channel launching- Check Mii Out, meant for sharing, searching and rating Miis from around the world.

The previous news is all fine but the big push of the entire event was on expanding the Wii into a new space with Wii Fit. This exercise and wellness program is bundled with a two step weight pad that gamers will stand on to perform exercises like Yoga moves and mini-games like soccer ball blocking and a half-baked DDR clone.

Nintendo has had a great year so far and the titles they showed in their event were interesting but the move to become a holistic device attractive to all comers may in many cases put off the long time fans. As more and more Brain Age type titles and Wii Fit products hit the market gamers might become concerned that Nintendo doesn’t care about them as much and is looking to pander to the “normals”- despite the fact they very well could be doing what the industry needs to move forward.

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