8:12: We're inside the Kodak Theater, waiting to be let in - a Nintendo representative encouraged us to grab some food and, after a brief period spent searching, we informed her that there was in fact no food. None. Anywhere. Do they expect us to resort to cannibalism!?
8:40: And we're in!
8:47: Nintendo's presentation is a lot less flashy presentation than Microsoft's, pics seem a lot more community-focused than game-focused.
8:50: People seem to smell a bit less than at the Microsoft event. However, they promised us donuts and there isn't a single one in sight.
8:52: Side note: The very first image we were bombarded with upon entry was that of totally old people playing Wii. Confidence ... failing.
8:56: Notably absent from the slideshow: Anyone who looks anything at all like the bloggers and reporters in the audience.
8:59: From what we can see the stage behind the scrim is pretty spartan. A couple of stools and not to much else. Although there's a tall cylindrical booth on the left. Nintendo transporter? WiiTranslocate.
9:06: Here we go! Happy music, happy people, healthy people. The lights have dimmed and we're off. Is that the ending music from Top Chef? No, Project Runway.
9:10: I don't like a smile taken off my face for anything, and I really don't like giving up. So I decided as a snowboarder -- All I really needed was a little help from a friend. A talented friend. And today I found the perfect answer. Reveal on left, Shaun White. On a Wii Balance board. To the tune of Social Distortion. Ring of Fire.
9:11: Shaun White Snowboarding. Graphics pretty jaggy but have kind of a fun look. Ladies and gentlemen, the gold metalist in the men's halfpipe at Tourino, Mr. Shaun White.
9:13: I understand from the guys at Ubi that they designed this game from the ground up for the Balance Board.
Shaun: I had input on the game, how the mountain should look. Cammie: I heard anyone can just jump on the board. Says that board enhances the gameplay. He leans forward to go faster and that really works in the game. Shaun has apparently just grasped the balance board concept. She gets on a board next to Shaun.
Said Shaun: Let's do the halfpipe. "Just because you being me videogames." Cammie's now awkwardly calibrating her board as everyone in the audience pretends not to be extremely uncomfortable. Shaun: I should get some lessons from you! Cammie: Yeah, I didn't hurt my wrist! Shaun exits left. This game arrives exclusively for Wii by year-end.
9:15: But a different non-balance board version is coming to other systems. But they didn't tell us that. I think everyone is recognizing that a true paradigm shift has taken place in the global game market. Five years ago in May 2003. I addressed E3 for the first time as President of Nintendo. I still recall that day. Because I knew that everyone attending held a pessimistic view about Nintendo's future.
9:16: That year was not enjoyable, but I knew that people were just using a common sense view of the game market. Even Nintendo employees could not have imagined that five years later the market would respond so fast that we could be selling millions of bathroom scales around the world. Iwata is rocking the Fils-Amie semi turtleneck, we hope he cleared that look with Reggie, or things are about to get weird. Common sense doesn't seem to make much sense anymore. What has changed in the new paradigm? First, we are not selling game which can stay for a long period of time. In the past it was impossible to expect a game to sell for two or three years. But titles like Nintendogs and Brain age are doing that.
9:18: On the other hand it is also true that games with new concepts like Wii Sports and Wii Fits have received support from customers for entirely different reasons. Small teams with small budgets can capture wide audiences if they have a great idea. This is the challenge and opportunity of WiiWare. Mario and Zelda teams will bring new titles to Wii, which isn't particularly surprising. Although it would be a surprise if the system gets two headliners in the generation. Suddenly the user base has expanded. Look at this picture.
9:19: Iwata's extremely proud of a girl playing a game. We have learned that intuitive interfaces can help attract those who would never traditionally consider videogames. It has changed how gamers see themselves. Today game systems are more likely purchased for themselves at any time of the year.
9:20: So far, this feels suspiciously like the same back-patting we've been subjected to for the past few Nintendo pressers. Yes, you've expanded the market, we get it. People are buying 200K Wii a week as if every week was a holiday.
9:21: Here in American peopel have bought an avg of 700K Wii systems a month, numbers not normally seen outside of November and December. Last year I said we would like to destroy the barriers between gamers and non-gamers. Wii Sports and Wii Play made this possible, but weren't enough to prove this trend. Mario Kart and WiiFit continued this conversation. But the Wii version of Guitar Hero is outselling all others! Isn't it possible that the Wii version is outselling the others because ... well, the others had Rock Band?
9:22: At Nintendo we believe progress is being made to destroy this psychological barrier (between gamer and non-gamer). Sooner or later people will become tired of new forms of change. This happens when other people try to speed this up. For all of us in the videogame industry, there is danger in standing still. Common sense is not enough, but there are answers.
9:23: Personally, I believe we must find new ways for players to feel engaged. Ooh, a mega burn on other companies aping Nintendo's changes. Hint hint, MS Avatars, hint hint. To feel engaged, enriched, even in interactions we wouldn't normally call games. The overall experience must be improved via enthusiasm. This is of course easier to say than do. We at Nintendo always change ourselves to change paradigms.
9:24: We seek fresh surprises, and I hope you will enjoy the ones we have for you today. The first one fits with a larger social trend of consumers acting as creators. We believe Nintendo can add something to engage players in new ways. Please consider this key Holiday release. Katsuya Eguchi is talking on the screen about Animal Crossing. Talking about how he came up with the idea. I wanted people to feel like they were playing together, even if at different times.
9:26: The city is a brand-new place to explore in the Wii version of Animal Crossing. You can put items up for sale. City is a more 3D environment. An academy to keep tabs on other player There is an academy, fashion designers, stores, beauty salon. You can put on a mask to look like your Mii.
People doing fishing competition, talking trash. It allows rooms of people to talk to other rooms of people, a much more community focused app than an insular headset.
9:28: You can get a sense of the personality of a player. See how they decorate their room, if it is neat or messy. It is also fun to see how they set up their town, as it tells you what kind of person they are, and I think that's really fun. Most of the options are the one's you're used to. Seeing how people set up their towns, etc. Looking ahead, I want players to continue to be able to create their own worlds, to continue to communicate with others in a variety of ways, and to have a place where players can connect with each other.
9:30: Introducing President and COO: Reggie Fils Amie. Looks like writing letters with WiiMote is going to be a lot easier than with controller. Says Reggie: "Good morning. When I last talked to you from an E3 stage, I said we were pleased, but not close to being satisfied. With Animal Crossing by end of this year with WiiSpeak option, of course we're pleased." My god he's an imposing figure of a man.
9:32: We're even more pleased with our marketplace momentum. After all, in May, according to NPD, Wii sales hit 10 million systems. DS hit 20 million systems. He's looking fit. No, you know what, he's lookin' WiiFit. This combines to more than $5b at retail. But we're not satisfied. That's because there are tens of millions of people still not on, and millions of gamers who are hungry for what's next. We want to fulfil both those needs. Uh oh, we've got a bar graph. Shows lifetime global hardware unit sales chart.
9:33: Largest bar belongs to Nintendo DS. We expect that total DS worldwide sales will grow to almost 100M systems. Now some people still claim 2007 was the peak year for DS. Still 12% ahead of last year's record! Of course, these sales are led by key franchises, and this year that franchise was Pokemon Mystery Dungeon.
This grossed all Pokemon Sales for handhelds to over $180M. Pokemon is driving DS sales. That's right, that Pikachu is yellow because he's COVERED IN GOLD. DS software sales are 29% ahead of last year.
9:34: We believe the next NPD numbers will show a shift back to DS. Of course, that's because of those evergreen titles Mr. Iwata mentioned. Reggie is pitting DS and Wii against eachother as bitter rivals fighting for the top slot. It's funny. There seems to be an unlimited number of people looking for a way to get into our game. For Wii the sales trajectory is climbing even steeper. (Shows chart) First year vs. second 19 months - "Our historic sales pace is actually increasing." When those NPD numbers are released on Thursday, we will not be surprised if it shows that Wii is the best selling console of this generation in America as it is in the world. We're convinced Nintendo's highest paid employee is the guy that makes charts to look as embarrassing as possible for PS3 and 360.
9:35: No system has ever sold more games in its first 19 months of availability. Joshua F.The sales advantage after year one continues to grow. Wii's biggest software sales competitor? Why, the PS2 of course. One one hand, we make sure we leveraged our stable of stars early in the generation to satisfy gamers. And now with new titles like Wii Sports and Wii Play, we confirmed that non-gamers took notice. But now a new dynamic is emerging:
Our creative third-party partners are finding success with Wii.
9:36: 19 Third Party games have exceeded sales of 400K units in America alone. Those titles come from 11 different publishers. Acti, Ubi, LucasArts, Sega, Midway, Disney, EA, Take Two, Konami, Capcom, Majesco have all had 400,000+ sellers on the console. Is this the platform that will be dominated by casual games, or where people can freshed up legendary IP, or a place for new franchises? Well, the correct answer is all of the above.
9:37: The Wii console library continues to grow faster than other consoles. There's no way we could give you even a quick glimpse at what's on its way. That's why we're only looking at 3 games that take advantage of the interface options available on Wii. Wii's library size is crushing others, we decide not to remind him that the bulk of those are awful. Star Wars The Clone Wars: First game focused on is The Close Wars. Trailer being shown. Gameplay looks a bit like Wii Boxing. Comes Holiday 2008. Yeah, there's lightsaber dueling, but ... wow, we would have shown these graphics on a slightly smaller screen, if you know what we mean.
9:38: Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party. Uses balance board to "surf the skies" Uses balance board along with controllers to simulate snow rides. As if to illustrate the point, R3: TVP looks markedly better.You've gotta know how to use the Wii.
9:39: Call of Duty World At War. FPS. Using Zapper. Co-op Mode confirmed for COD. "Coming Soon"
9:40: Cammie comes back on stage. As you can see, Wii creativity is mushrooming, but that's only half our story. We're seeing World of War. While is looks a little less impressive than others, there's a solid draw distance and a lot going on the screen. PS, watching people play it with the blaster is downright disturbing. But what about games that travel with you? Portable games taker a bigger bite of the software pie -- what's driving this? New players. Here's a giant clue as to why: In 2005 30 percent of portable recipients were female. By 2006, that jumped to 46%.
9:41: Last year, that has reached parity with males. The DS is universal appeal. It's weird. You've got a 16 percent jump in female usage from 05 to 06, but that dropped to 02 next year. Activision reports that Guitar Hero: On Tour sold more than 350K copies. On Tour Decades is on the way to DS. On Tour Decades allows for song sharing. Share your decades songs with someone with regular On Tour. They mention the microsphone, making us think decades will feature some of that functionality.
9:42: The DS is also the only dedicated platform where you will find Will Wright's Spore this year. Now DS trailers being shown. Next up will be Spore, CC, ready a post.Spore Creatures. It's all about evolving your creature. With the DS, it's focused on the creature creator. Player creativity and sharing.
9:43: Takes advantage of stylus to add to creature, and the ability to share creations. (end of trailers) Cammie: Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia will hit on November 10. It's hard to say, but it looks like graphics seem a bit less stylized than what we originally saw on DS. Perhaps trying to cash in on the PC version's success?
9:44: The appeal of DS also extends to the core: GTA: Chinatown Wars arrives on DS this winter! (applause) new game engine, characters, and the same free-range gameplay people have come to expect. Cammie mentions free-ranging gameplay in GTA: CTW. We think she may be a little confused. People have been using the DS to redefine gaming.
9:45: That spirit of invention and reinvention applies to the DS. Here's what I mean: I'm sure many of you spend too much time in airports. So what if DS and air travel came together in a different way: Why can't my DS provide info on where I can get my luggage, or my gate? What about the nearest ATM or Mexican Restaurant?
this is all being tested. Showing a DS app that will tell you information about your flight, luggage, but it's just being tested ATM.
9:46: Sports: People at Safeco field are already using their DS to look up box scores and ordering the Ichi-roll! Could the DS earn a spot in your kitchen? Cooking Nanny in Japan has turned it into an electronic cookbook, and an English version is coming in November. (cracks joke about being as bad at cooking as she is at snowboarding)
Reggie is back on stage.
9:47: Let me build on the DS idea. You all know what this is: The Wii Remote. Shows off a little accessory that plugs in and turns Wii Remote into a more responsive and intense controller. He's showing off the Wii MotionPlus
9:48: We're going to show you how this worthy successor to the remote comes to life. Wii Sports Resort
literally "a day at the beach." combines fun in the sun with a variety of activities. Cammie and Bill Trinnen come out to display. One Motion Plus packaged with every Wii Sports Resort. There's also going to be an extended jacket packed in. Showing frisbee, Cammie moving wrist, being reflected on screen. Okay Cammie, just swing your arm to throw the disc.
9:50: It's hard to say without actually playing it but it does look really good, even though Cammie totally borks her toss. Cammie: It's so precise it's picking up my bad wrist action. Reggie points out that her wrist may still be janked up. Bill: Is that the bad wrist or the good wrist? Reggie: I want to show something that's a little more my speed.
9:51: Jet skiing. We had hope the Reg was about to show off an ass kicking game. (Using wii remote and nunchuck to simulated jet skiing handlebars)
9:52: Bill jokes that the game really is more Reggie's speed. They move on to a sword dueling game, which is definitely what we think of when we think of beach sports. Maybe the sword-fighting in the next Red Steel won't suck as much? Reggie takes on Cammie and Cammie goes down!
9:55: (Reggie knocks Cammie off the platform) Reggie: That's why they call me the Reginator! Cammie: Bring it on, baby. (Cammie takes out Reggie ... They high-five) Reggie: Looks like with one match each we have a draw. We may have just seen the birth of the Caminator! We totally think Reggie let her win. Oh, and the games are going to be available on the show floor. (Mild laughter) Reggie back on alone. When you think of Summer Vacation, some things come to mind, and Wii Sports Resort covers those. Right, like sword fighting. But with Wii MotionPlus, many developers are already contemplated what they can do with it. We started with similing faces, and believe there will be more when we release Wii Sports Resort next Spring. But before we go
9:57: (Keith Moon moment of chaos) Shigeru Miyamoto on stage The guy keeps stopping for applause breaks like he's not just a dude waving his arms around. "Blowing" on wii remote to simulate a sax, drummer guy is joining is (Playing jazz with the drummer) Oh, this is WiiMusic by the way. Miis on screen in a groovy jazz atmosphere (Shiggy is grooving)
9:58: (Shiggy getting jiggy? Sorry...) The music they're making is really, really awful. But we're hoping they're just nervous. It's not baby-making music, lets put it that way. (Warm applause). Are they for real with this? Shigeru: I would like to introduce you to Wii Music. (speaking in Japanese with translator) This game is one that we began designing along with Wii Play when we were first finalizing plans for Wii.
10:00: If you want something that everyone in the family can enjoy regardless of age or gender, music is a must. But Wii Music is a slightly different play experience than you've seen with other music games. Now most music games require you to press buttons with precise timing to symbols on screen. But we've designed Wii Music to allow everyone, inclusing those who can't read music to enjoy the experience of playing music. The experience is going to be less "rhythm based" we get the sense Now there's no need to closely follow any notes to play these songs. All that you have to do is hold the Wii Remote and moves your hands and body like you would a real instrument, and Wii Music recognizes that and plays the song.
10:01: So iI was just holding the Wii Remote pretending I was playing the sax. Shiggy is explaining that he wasn't actually playing, but rather was PRETENDING to play. For those of you who are familiar, this song is from an F-Zero song. We're grateful to him for clearing that up. In Wii music, you'll be able to play over 50 different instruments. Just like that. For example, the piano. The violin is a slightly more unique instrument. Wow, 50 instruments? Is Nintendo going to beat everyone to the Keytar punch? You hold the strings with left and, and motion of your right hand adjusts the volume. Just like this. Of course guitar you play like you would a real guitar.
10:02: There's a variety of percussion instruments. And of course behind me we have a professional drummer. His name is Robbie Drums. What he's playing a separate mode that uses the Balance Board to create a complete drum simulator. You know those digital pianos that you can program so that whatever note you hit it plays the next correct note in the song, and all you have to do is worry about the timing? That's what we're being reminded of.
10:03: Oh, it actually features drum lessons that can teach you to play "in just a couple of weeks." In fact, Robbie only started practicing yesterday and as you can see he's already gotten quite good. "As some of you in the audience will remember, I conducted an orchestra. Many of you on the Internet said I was quite bad. So we included in Wii Music this orchestra game and some note-matching games as well. And like I said earlier, Wii Music won't really evaluate your performance, but will record video of your performance. Each player can create their own unique video. But since we have everyone here today, I thought it might be nice if we play a song for you."
10:05: For our special presentation this morning, Robbie will join us on the drums. Joining us on Marimba is Denise Keigler, along with our all-star horn section. (Five people on stage getting ready to play a song) Looks like all that's left for me is the cowbell! Alright. Bring the house down, guys!
10:07: They're doing the mario theme. They're all pretending to have so much fun as they create their off-beat racket that the chills have literally elevated off out skin, grown wings and flown to heaven. off our skin. (Mild applause) Tone down chills. Reggie and Cammie back on stage. Reggie; What we've tried to do today is look for a place where gamers are more engaged, more enriched, and more enthused. We'd like to suggest an alternate title: "If You Kids Don't Stop Playing that Game I'm Going to Move Out"
10:09: Cammie: Consider snowboarding where you don't hurt yourself. Using WiiSpeak to talk to your friends in Animal Crossing. Even using the new Wii MotionPlus as a sword to help your boss feel better about himself. There is no question that games can make us feel better in new and compelling games. And there is only one place all these games (lists all games shown) right along side unique franchises like Pokemon, WiiSportsResort, and WiiMusic. Nintendo simply brings more smiles to more faces.
10:10: As it wraps, we have to say that Nintendo did a pretty good job of trying to show that they still care about non-grandma players. What was surprising was the lack of real fan service. To whit: No real Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Kid Icarus, etc.
10:11: Reggie: To conclude, form the moment Wii went on sale, we all heard the same word; 'Fad.' I'm here to tell you today that 'fad' is no longer operable. The paradigm shift is right around the corner. The only way to keep the advantage is to create new advantages. Consumers are saying "yeah, i like that!" The fact is that Mr. Iwata and Mr. Miyamoto have created a company that looks for the next thing. Not just the evolution in look, but the revolution in feel. Nintendo will create the next advantage to keep you smiling. Thank you for coming, and we look forward to seeing you in the next couple days. (Lights up!) Oh, the final presentation is a bunch of pics of the audience (More smiles on screen from Cammie!) Now we can't leave until we see if we're in it. Curses.
And that's it! Thanks for joining us, stay tuned for the Sony liveblog next.
Additional reporting by Justin McElroy.