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Super Smash Bros. Wii U update opens 15 new 8-player levels

Nintendo updated Super Smash Bros. for Wii U today, adding new levels to the game upon which fans can kick the crap out of their loved ones. The update gives players 15 new levels for free, each one for the game's eight-player Smash mode. Nintendo of Japan listed the new stages on its site:

Normal:
  • Mario Circuit (X)
  • Luigi's Mansion
  • Pyro Sphere
  • Norufea
  • Rye Rat Cruise
  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Village and Town
  • Suma Village
  • Wii Fit studio
Omega:
  • Mario Galaxy
  • Mario Circuit (X)
  • Cave Battle
  • Rye Rat Cruise
  • Pokemon Stadium 2
  • Village and Town
The publisher revealed its latest sales numbers this week, noting that the Wii U's lifetime sales reached 9.2 million consoles. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U sold 3.39 million copies by the end of 2014, topped only by Mario Kart 8's 4.77 million units as the system's best seller last year.

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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Hyrule Warriors ships a million, celebrates with wallpaper party

Hyrule Warriors shipped a million units worldwide since it launched last fall, which equates to many, many millions of enemies taken out in the army-mashing crossover. Famitsu reported the milestone today, which we've confirmed with a Koei Tecmo Europe representative.

Koei Tecmo is celebrating like cray by publishing a set of new wallpapers based on the Wii U brawler, and they're not bad desktop bling, it has to be said. Also, there's still plenty of steam in the game's DLC train; Majora's Mask content is due to arrive next week.

And yes, the DLC features Tingle. Like absolutely everything should.
[Image: Tecmo Koei]

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.

Adventures of Pip is modern cute plus classic challenge

I'm calling it now: the Kickstarted Adventures of Pip from developer TicToc Games is going to win cutest game of 2015. I don't care that we're not even to the end of January; Pip is so cute that I want him in a kids' TV show. He's so heart-meltingly precious that I want plush figures and a breakfast cereal themed after him.

Pip is so gawl-darned lovable and sweet that it makes me deeply, deeply angry.

The game's charming aesthetic masks a sinister beast. For despite the playful bounce of our square-shaped hero and the bright colors that surround him, this is a world looking to commit straight-up pixelated murder.

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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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Evo 2015 line-up announced, double helping of Smash

Super Smash Bros Wii U and Melee are two of the nine games already confirmed for this year's Evolution Championship Series. As revealed during last night's Twitch stream, the line-up for Las Vegas this July also includes returning games Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ultra Street Fighter 4 and Killer Instinct, The remaining four games are new for this year, and they are Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, Mortal Kombat X and Tekken 7.

Recent years have seen more games added closer to the event, though a roster of nine is already on the high end for an EVO championship. Whatever the full line-up proves to be, it's coming to the Bally's/Paris Las Vegas Casino, where the world's fighting game specialists will duke it out across July 17-19.

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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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Drive through this Project Cars trailer


Bandai Namco offered a new trailer for Project Cars today, the upcoming racing game from World of Speed and Need for Speed: Shift developer Slightly Mad Studios. In development for PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U, the game features both competitive and asynchronous online multiplayer as well as a "freeform career mode" in which players sign endorsements and complete historical challenges. It also supports Oculus Rift, the nVidia Shield and Sony's Project Morpheus on PC and PS4, respectively.

Project Cars was delayed in October to March 2015 following a number of changes to the game's destined platform choices. Its Wii U version was revealed in January 2012, then Project Cars' Xbox 360 and PS3 versions were scrapped in November 2013. The PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game are confirmed to launch on March 17 in North America and March 20 in Europe and Australasian regions, with the Wii U game set to arrive sometime this year.
[Image: Bandai Namco]

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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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First 4 Figures teases a Wind Waker Ganondorf statue

First 4 Figures, makers of highly detailed - and highly priced - video game collectibles, has set its eyes on the Triforce of Power wielder, Ganondorf. Specifically, the villainous version which originally appeared in 2003's The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Though maybe you prefer the 2013 HD remaster?

The company released a small teaser image to whet fans' appetites via their Facebook page this week, and those so tempted to make the evil-doer a part of their collection will be able to pre-order the figure starting on January 20. The figure's price has yet to be revealed.
[Image: First 4 Figures]

Oddworld: New 'n Tasty on Steam next month; Vita, console ports still underway

Just Add Water, developer of Oddworld: New 'n Tasty, is getting ready to distribute the remaining ports for its revisit of the series' origins, and Steam users are next in line. A cloud save-compatible version of New 'n Tasty will be offered on PC, Mac and Linux via Steam on February 25 for $20 (£15, €20). A 10 percent discount will also be available for those that place pre-purchases, though further details and recommended specs will be shared at a later date.

The related press release also notes that PS3 and Xbox One arrivals will follow sometime in early March, and a note from the Oddworld Staff states that the above versions will feature post-launch improvements that have been made to the existing PS4 version, including "old school" control settings.

Series creator Lorne Lanning assured fans the remaining ports were being "adamantly worked on" about two months ago. At that time, Lanning also spoke of problematic limitations concerning the Wii U hardware, but the post from Oddworld Staff explains that work "continues on the Wii U and PlayStation Vita versions," adding that "recent progress is encouraging."

If you're wondering whether all this waiting and extra development time is really worth it for a remake, consider Sam Prell's review of the PS4 version: "This HD remake is more than a simple reskin of nostalgia, and offers a compelling adventure with contemporary design that will satisfy most anyone's puzzle-platformer appetite."
[Image: Just Add Water]

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Rock Band survey hints at modern console sequel

Following the recent release of the series' first new DLC in nearly two years, it appears that Harmonix might be gearing up for a new entry in its Rock Band series, if an online survey is anything to go by.

"Hello friends! You should fill out this important Rock Band survey," reads a tweet from the official Rock Band Twitter account. "Sharing the link is encouraged. DO IT NOW!" The link attached to that message leads to a three-page survey regarding your history with the Rock Band series to date. It's pretty typical stuff - What Rock Band game did you play most?, Which console do you use to play Rock Band?, etc. - but the third page is where things get interesting.

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