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New Nintendo eShop releases: More of the Samus, please

$10 for the Metroid Prime: Trilogy on Wii U with apparently faster load times? Om nom nom. While we're talking, Nintendo, any word on a new Metr-hello? Anyone there?

Oh well. So, check out this week's full list of new eShop releases below the break, as well as the last week of Nintendo's Throwback sale here. And a reminder: After 9AM PT/12PM ET on February 5, Metroid Prime Trilogy goes up to a regular price of $20. Get it while it's hot!

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Nintendo Creators Program shares ad revenue with YouTube users

Nintendo unveiled its new revenue-sharing affiliate program for YouTube users, offering up to 70 percent of ad revenue to video makers using Nintendo-copyrighted content. The House of Mario's christened it the Nintendo Creators Program, and users with both Google and Paypal accounts can take the open beta for a spin right now.

The beta is currently offering 60 percent of ad revenue for individual videos attached to the program, and 70 percent for channels. Nintendo will calculate revenue shares on a monthly basis before sending them out to video creators via Paypal. Furthermore, videos and channels have to be approved by Nintendo before the company begins doling out the cash, and the big N says that process can take up to three business days.

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1.84M New 3DS units shipped in 2014, Wii U up to 9.2M

The New 3DS is off to a "good start" according to Nintendo, after the enhanced handheld shipped 1.84 million units by the end of 2014. The company launched the New 3DS and its XL variant in Japan back in October, before bringing them to Australia the following month.

The New 3DS' arrival helped take the "3DS family" beyond the 50 million mark, and as of December 31, 2014, the 3DS total is 50.41 million units shipped worldwide. On the other hand, Nintendo says 3DS sales haven't grown sufficiently in North America and Europe this fiscal year; both regions are waiting for the New 3DS to launch there next month. Between April and December 2014, Nintendo shifted 7.08 million 3DS systems worldwide.

While the Wii U has gathered steam in recent months, it's still tracking a long way behind its handheld sibling. Nintendo shifted 1.91 million consoles worldwide during the busy holiday quarter of October to December 2014, taking its nine-month figures to 3.39 million, As of the end of 2014, its two-year lifetime total is 9.2 mllion systems and 52.87 million software units.

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Nintendo: Sales tracking below forecasts, weak yen drives profit

Nintendo reduced its annual sales forecast by 6.8 percent today, leading to a 50 percent drop in the projected operating profit for its core business. Nonetheless, the ever-weakening state of the yen is balancing that out by boosting the company's overseas earnings.

According to its revised forecast, Nintendo now expects to earn a net profit of ¥30 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015, which converts to around $255 million. That's up 50 percent from the company's previous projections, and a sharp contrast to the $229 million loss posted the previous fiscal year.

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Smash Bros. creator Sakurai also has trouble tracking down amiibo

If you've been unsuccessful in finding an amiibo of your favorite Super Smash Bros. character, you're not alone. Series creator Masahiro Sakurai recently vented similar frustrations on Twitter, noting that he went home empty-handed when he hit up local retailers in Japan in the hopes of tracking down Meta Knight, Sheik, Lucario, and Rosalina & Luma.

Nintendo of America announced last year that it would phase out many amiibo after an initial print run, leading to shortages and price hikes on secondary markets like eBay and Amazon. The Lucario figure also remains elusive in the weeks leading up to its release in North America, with exclusive distributor Toys R Us recently raising confusion over whether customer pre-orders are still valid.

First-wave amiibo figures Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, and Marth have not yet seen a second print run in North America, leading Nintendo fans to import cheaper equivalent figures from Japan. Amazon additionally sold out of its initial allotment of Sonic the Hedgehog figurines after opening pre-orders last week, hinting at another impending post-launch shortage.

Theatrhythm's new DLC Beat stars The World Ends with You

Theatrhythm Curtain Call continues to ignore its Final Fantasy prefix by adding The World Ends with You music as part of the latest DLC batch. "Twister," the 2007 JRPG's theme song , and "Calling" are two of six new tracks available now in the 3DS rhythm game.

As per the Shibuya-infused DS game, Twister is a Battle Music Sequence in Curtain Call while background tune Calling is a Field Music Sequence. The three other new BMS tunes are "Liberi Fatali" from Final Fantasy 8, "Final Confrontation" from Romancing SaGa 3, and "World Revolution" from Chrono Trigger. The sixth song and second FMS is "Wind Scene," also from Chrono Trigger. All six DLC songs are priced 99 cents (£0.89/€0.99).

To remind yourself of TWEWY's J-pop music - your humble author would argue it's one of the best soundtracks you'll find on the DS - do the Twister again below the break. By the way, don't think the Curtain Call DLC train is stopping just yet. According to Square Enix, the game's next dollop of add-ons is planned to arrive on February 19.

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Half-price Punch-Out!!

You can grab a Little Mac takeaway right now, because Punch-Out!! is on the Wii U eShop with a $10 price tag. Like last week's Wii re-releases, the 2009 boxer is available at 50 percent off in its first week, but be warned: After 9AM PT/12PM ET on January 29 it goes up to $20.

That offer is part of Nintendo's Throwback Sale, which you can check out here along with the last week of the current Super Indie Collection Sale. Otherwise, you'll find the complete list of this week's new eShop releases by ducking and weaving below the break.

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Moon Chronicles DLC episodes touch down on 3DS February 5

After releasing its first episode last May, Renegade Kid's Moon Chronicles is finally ready to receive episodes two, three and four. Creator Jools Watsham revealed on Twitter that Nintendo has approved the episodes and "it's looking like" all three will hit the 3DS eShop on February 5. A "season pass" will be available for $9 to purchase every episode or, according to Nintendo's Moon Chronicles page, individual episodes can be had for $4.50 apiece. The first episode, which also includes special VR missions, remains $8.99.

For those who missed its debut last year, Moon Chronicles is a remake of Renegade Kid's DS first-person shooter, Moon, with improved visuals and 3D support. Also, as Watsham points out, the DLC arrives a week before the launch of the New 3DS, which should give players a reason to use that fancy C-stick.
[Image: Renegade Kid]

Club Nintendo closing, 'new loyalty program' on the way

'Club Nintendo is dead, long live the new loyalty program,' is the message from Nintendo this morning, after the company announced it's closing its current rewards service. Users in the US and Canada have until the end March to earn Club Nintendo Coins and until the close of June to redeem them, signalling when the service will finally hang up its brown boots.

"We thank all Club Nintendo members for their dedication to Nintendo games and their ongoing love for our systems and characters," said Nintendo of America executive VP Scott Moffit in the company's press release. "We want to make this time of transition as easy as possible for our loyal Club Nintendo members, so we are going to add dozens of new rewards and downloadable games to help members clear out their Coin balances."

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GTA 5 continues to hold off FIFA & CoD in this week's UK charts

And now for something completely similar: Right now you'd need a microscope to find the week-to-week changes in the UK charts. Nonetheless, it's interesting to see Grand Theft Auto 5 stay ahead of traditional front-runners FIFA and Call of Duty, especially since Rockstar's game is a re-release on current-gen. At this new release-less time of year, we'd normally be talking about a 28th consecutive No. 1 for FIFA [Insert Year Here].

The current top three are the same trio that sold the most in the UK last year, though FIFA 15 won out overall in 2014. Moreover, seven of this week's top ten are in the 2014 top ten, and most of those hit store shelves in the second half of the year.

Right, stop that UK charts analysis! It's silly. This week's full top ten can be found below the break, along with the customary music video that's a bit suspect.

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3D After Burner 2: M2's quest for port perfection

"Arcade-perfect" is a term that was bandied about in the '80s and '90s as developers struggled to port state-of-the-art arcade games to significantly less powerful console hardware. Compromises were made, features were removed, and many ports that were billed as "arcade-perfect" still needed to be scaled back quite a bit compared to their cabinet counterparts.

These days, consoles boast enough horsepower to emulate classic games at a software level - virtually recreating arcade hardware in order to run original programming code, rather than porting graphics, sound, and gameplay components from scratch. Purists argue, however, that straightforward emulation lacks a certain appeal specific to original hardware. Playing the classic racer Daytona USA using an Xbox 360 controller, for instance, is a vastly different experience compared to sitting in the cockpit of the original arcade cabinet and gripping a force feedback-equipped steering wheel that fights you at every turn.

Arcade-perfect ports still elude many publishers. Japanese porting studio M2, however, sets its sights higher than mere perfection.

M2's 3D After Burner 2, released in the Nintendo 3DS eShop in North America this week, is more than an arcade-perfect port. Not only does it make great strides toward simulating the look and feel of a classic arcade game, but it also improves on the game's original design in ways that its creators planned but never fully achieved. The result is perhaps the first "complete" look at After Burner 2 as it was originally envisioned, and it's a rare treat for classic gaming enthusiasts.

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Nintendo Direct Japan: New Rhythm Heaven, Style Savvy games announced

Nintendo fans in Japan saw a slightly different Nintendo Direct presentation earlier this week than their compatriots in North America and Europe, as the company revealed a handful of upcoming Japanese games that are unlikely to see release elsewhere in the world.

First up is a 3DS Rhythm Heaven compilation that collects a large number of music-driven minigames featured in previous series entries. The collection will feature 30 new minigames in addition to 70 graphically updated stages previously seen in Rhythm Heaven, Rhythm Heaven Fever, and the Japan-only Game Boy Advance series debut Rhythm Tengoku.

A new Style Savvy sequel is also in the works, following up on predecessor games released stateside on the DS and 3DS. Girls Mode 3, as it's called in Japan, will offer fashion-focused gameplay that challenges players to manage their own boutique and create ensemble outfits for picky customers.

Other games featured exclusively in Japan's Nintendo Direct presentation include the HAL Labs-developed 3DS puzzle-platformer Hako Boy (Box Boy), 3DS RPG The Legend of Legacy, cross-platform online mahjong sim Yakuman Houou, and Rodea: The Sky Soldier, a 3DS and Wii U aerial action game created by Yuji Naka's studio Prope.

Games omitted from the North American and European Nintendo Direct presentations are not currently scheduled for release in either region.

[Video: Nintendo / NintenDaan]

Nintendo: Amiibo sales outpace Smash Bros. Wii U

Mario Kart 8 sold 1.7 million copies in 2014 both digitally and at retail in the United States according to the NPD Group, Nintendo revealed in a press release. The publisher also noted that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U sold 1.3 million copies during the year, though sales of the company's amiibo figurines were "nearly twice" that of Nintendo's Mario brawler on Wii U. Nintendo said that total hardware and software sales increased "by more than 29 percent and more than 75 percent, respectively, over sales in 2013." As of December, the publisher said that amiibo sales were "approximately equal" to that of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

On the handheld side of Nintendo's lineup, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS eclipsed 2 million copies sold since the game launched this past fall. Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby also combined to sell 2.6 million copies in the remastered games' first six weeks. Nintendo recently offered a worldwide launch date for the company's new 3DS system during this week's Nintendo Direct presentation; the C-Stick-sporting console will arrive on February 13 for $200. The improved console will be accompanied by The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate along with each game's respective special edition 3DS systems.

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Barring Smash, Code Name: STEAM gets the best Amiibo support so far

Outside of Super Smash Bros, the physical incarnations of Mario, Pikachu and other Nintendo icons don't have much to do on their plastic pedestals. While they transform into teachable, collectible opponents in Nintendo's flagship brawler, tapping an Amiibo toy into Mario Kart 8 or Hyrule Warriors is a one-step process to unlock a minor in-game item.

Nintendo has created a more substantial cameo – bordering on reverent – for the Amiibo line in Code Name: S.T.E.A.M, the oddball 3DS strategy game from developer Intelligent Systems. If you happen to own a Fire Emblem Amiibo and tap it in, warriors Marth, Ike, Robin and Lucina are summoned into Code Name's steam-powered war against aliens. They each have unique attacks, animations and can be an integral part of your strategy.

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Guacamelee, Runner, Teslagrad and more join Nintendo eShop sale

Nintendo's Super Indie Connection Sale #2 is so on. Own or buy any participating 3DS or Wii U game and get all other games in the sale for 60 percent off. Games included in the sale are Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition ($6), Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien ($6), Swords & Soldiers ($1.20), SteamWorld Dig ($4), Chasing Aurora ($4.80) and Teslagrad ($6).

The Super Indie Connection Sale #2 is live now through January 29.
[Image: Nintendo]

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