Nintendo of America has filed a lawsuit against HackYourConsole.com, a web site that - Nintendo claims in its complaint - promotes selling unauthorized copies of Nintendo titles and game copying devices such as the R4. The website does sell R4 devices, but on its Frequently Asked Questions page, it highlights the fact that using software with the R4 device is probably illegal:
According to GoNintendo, Nintendo has sold an impressive 654.12 million consoles and hand-helds worldwide over the last 30 years. On the home console front, Nintendo has sold 268.97 million systems - from collective sales of the NES (Famicom), SNES (Super Famicom), N64, GameCube, Wii, and Wii U. The rest of the number is made up of hand-held device sales. Nintendo has sold 385.15 million hand-helds to-date. That number comes from cumulative sales of the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, DS, and 3DS.
As part of its fiscal year earnings report, Nintendo revealed projections for DS software sales for the current fiscal year but offered no guidance on sales for the DS hardware. This would seem to indicate that it plans to halt production of its popular Nintendo DS hand-held system sometime in the current fiscal year.
Nintendo released its earnings report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013, revealing that it had taken a loss much like it did in the last fiscal year. Nintendo recorded a 36.4 billion yen operating loss ($366 million) for the fiscal year, with less than expected sales of the Wii U continue to have a "negative impact on Nintendo's profits." Thanks to a depreciation of the yen, Nintendo's net income was 7 billion yen ($71 million). Net sales for the year were forecast at 635.4 billion yen ($6.38 billion), down from the year before.
DS game funding on Kickstarter is a rarity, but Island Officials is giving it a shot after seeing the success of Jason Rohrer's Diamond Trust of London. The indie studio is seeking a pretty specific funding goal of $85,412 to fund the development of a DS game about a robot and his seven friends who enjoy having adventures and solving pattern block puzzles.
As with most holiday seasons, games and electronics are becoming hot in December.
The Chicago Tribune and mobile shopping app firm ShopSavvy are tracking the scans of the 10 million active subscribers of ShopSavvy, which allows people to scan barcodes, compare prices and make purchases from their smart phones.
According to Nintendo, its 3DS hand-held has managed to beat the first year sales of its predecessor, the Nintendo DS - and it managed to do this in the first eight-months of release. Of course, the top executives at Nintendo forget to mention that the Nintendo DS did not have a price cut in that first year of sales, nor did it cause investors in Nintendo to demand that the company do a course correction and consider releasing software on other competing platforms like iOS.
According to several sources, Nintendo of Europe will not be distributing Dead or Alive Dimensions in Sweden and possibly Norway and Denmark.
Why? Well, there’s no official word but rumor has it that the distributor is afraid the game may break a Swedish child pornography law.
“But wait!”, I hear you say. “How could the game be child porn when there’s no children or porn?”
That’s a very good question. There is a mode in the game that allows players to take pictures of the characters in canned poses. According to a post on NeoGAF, “the law says that if someone is picturing a girl under the age of eighteen, fictional or not, in a pornographic situation, that accounts for being child pornography.”
The latest update for Nintendo's DSi hand-held was supposed to stop the use of flashcards, but no less than a day after its release a workaround is already out in the wild. How frustrating for Nintendo.. Nintendo released the 1.4.2. update earlier this week hoping to block the use of flashcards made by companies such as R4iDSN. But seeing its products blocked, R4iDSN has already (allegedly) created a workaround - much to the chagrin of Nintendo.
The flashcard maker promises an update later this week. Expect Nintendo to release another update to once again block the use of these cards. In their eyes, flashcards are simply a way for DSi owners to play illegal software. To the homebrew community, the Nintendo update feels like a thumb in the eye. If all else fails, Nintendo will probably turn to the courts to apply some extra pressure on companies such as R4iDSN.
We will continue to follow this story as it develops.
Nintendo announced that the Nintendo DS family of portable video game systems has sold more than 47 million in the United States since the original model launched in November 2004. The company did not break down the number based on various SKU's of the device (DSi, DSi XL, etc.). Nintendo also said that the Wii enjoyed U.S. sales of "more than 7 million" and that its to date number in the U.S. hit 34 million.
These numbers are based on internal sales figures. Even using the loose figure of 7 million, Wii sales in the U.S. declined from 9.5 million in 2009 and 10 million units in 2008.
We expect to have more concrete numbers from NPD group at some point. Nintendo is set to release its new Nintendo 3DS hand-held system in the United States in March.
Sales of video games rose 8 percent in November to $2.99 billion, according to data from research firm NPD Group. November's numbers were driven by Kinect, and sales from Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops. Year-to-date sales were still down 5 percent to $14.06 billion, despite a good November.
Accessory sales were up 69 percent to $413 million thanks to Kinect - and Sony's Move to some degree, while hardware sales rose 2 percent to $1.08 billion, and software rose 4 percent to $1.46 billion.
Call of Duty: Black Ops was the top-selling game in November, with 8.4 million units sold.
The Nintendo DS remained the top-selling gaming device (over 1.5 million sold in November), but the Xbox 360 saw a 68 percent sales increase of 1.37 million consoles. Some of that came from bundles that included the Kinect and games.
iOS and Android-based devices are chipping away at sales of DS and PSP systems, according to a new report by research firm Interpret. The report found that mobile phones (44 percent) are the handheld device of choice for gaming (up 53 percent from last year), while DS and PSP usage declined by 13 percent during the same time period. The data comes from a report called "The Phone Gaming Revolution: Do the DS and PSP Stand a Chance?."
Approximately 27 percent of consumers who indicated that they play games on their phones only also own a DS or PSP, but do not actively use the devices.
An interesting anti-piracy mechanism is in place for Michael Jackson: The Experience for DS. If you use a pirated copy of the game, a defense mechanism kicks in that assails you with taunts and tortures you with the irritating sounds of the vuvuzelas.
"The development team worked this feature in as a creative way to discourage any tampering with the retail version of the game," a representative of Ubisoft told Wired.com in an e-mail Friday.
YouTube user ctkxtreme posted a video (seen to the left) documenting exactly what happens, offering the following comments: "This is Ubisoft’s attempt at anti-piracy to the game. The game is an [Elite Beat Agents] clone, and there’s no notes playing, it freezes when it’s paused, and fucking vuvuzela noises over the music."
Source: Game | Life
Videogame console thefts have risen dramatically over the years, according to data released by the FBI.
A USA Today story indicates that reported cases have risen 285% over three years, to a number of 42,615 such incidents in 2009. That number is even more astounding when factoring in that overall property crime numbers, which include theft of electronics, dropped from 10.0 million in 2006 to 9.8 million in 2008.
The FBI produced the numbers at the behest of Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who wanted to see the data after complaints from constituents about electronic thefts.
Weiner’s take on the growing problem, “It's the omnipresent, miniature electronics crime paradox: Even as crime goes down, when you have more electronics, you have more theft.”
Laptop computer thefts grew from 96,834 in 2007 to 128,280 in 2009, a gain of 32%. Cellphone snatches were down over the same period however, dropping 5% to over 106,000 stolen in 2009.
University of Massachusetts-Lowell Criminologist Larry Siegel added, “Criminals are rational. They steal things that have high value, are easily transportable and easily sold.”
A wanted fugitive in Lee County, Florida, was having problems supporting his drug habit. So he hit his local Wal-Mart and tried to leave the store with a bunch of Nintendo DS games that he hoped to sell for some heroin, according to a news report.
A News-Press story said Daniel Larson, 32, tried to leave the Cape Coral store with about $120 in games stuffed in his pants and shoes. He pushed a loss prevention officer who confronted him, but was subdued. The little shopping jaunt brought charges of violating pretrial supervision, larceny, resisting a property recovery retail merchant, using a false identification that adversely affects others, forgery of a public record certificate and violating parole.
Apparently the theft was one of his milder crimes, as his rap sheet included armed robbery and kidnapping. He had gotten out of an arrest on Sept. 5 using a fake ID.
The story goes into a few details on Lee County's booking procedures and Wilma Flintstone is mentioned. Gotta love some of today's legal procedures.
Is your handheld game system making you lonely?
Rika Kayama, a Japanese psychiatrist, thinks that it may be.
In an op-ed penned for a Japanese newspaper, Kayama claims that Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP are partially to blame for a sense of isolation experienced by some of her youthful patients. On that score, Kayama writes:
Today’s youth immerse themselves in worlds of their own right before our eyes, where they can live secluded from the rest of us. Feeding into these one person worlds, personal devices such as mobile phones and handheld game systems like the Sony PSP and Nintendo DS come on to the market one after another.
The ‘make your own world anywhere’ idea has gone too far, to the point that even on the train one sees people shamelessly putting on makeup or eating cups of instant noodles as though the train carriage was their own room. …
I feel that an increasing number of people are coming to my office saying, ‘Even when I’m in a crowd I’m lonely.’ Even when they are at a popular singer’s concert or when reading a best-selling novel, these patients can’t feel any solidarity for those next to them or those reading the same book.
GP: Is Kayama onto something, or is she simply rehashing the old school notion that games are inherently isolating?
Via: What They Play
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars has been tagged with a "Z" rating (adults only) for the Japanese market, reports Siliconera:
All of the Grand Theft Auto games have been rated CERO Z so this isn’t really a shocker. However, Chinatown Wars will be the first Nintendo DS game with the rating and the second CERO Z game on a Nintendo platform. Killer 7 from Capcom is the other CERO Z rated game on Nintendo hardware.
CERO is the Japanese equivalent of the ESRB.
A leading copyright enforcement official in Japan has likened individuals who pirate Nintendo DS games to terrorists.
tech.radar reports that Yutaka Kubota (left), who heads Japan's Association of Copyright for Computer Software, made the comment to Famitsu magazine:
This is an issue that affects our national interests and, personally, I see it as a form of information terrorism that is crushing Japan's industry.
tech.radar also notes that Kubota's organization has close ties to Nintendo. The DS manufacturer claims that 120 million bootleg copies of DS games were downloaded through the end of 2007. Such activity is not illegal in Japan, but pending legislation would make such downloading a crime.
Sales of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars have been a major disappointment, according to Silicon Alley Insider.
Citing data released yesterday by NPD group, SAI reports that only 88,704 units of the critically-acclaimed DS game were purchased in March. Published estimates by video game industry analysts had suggested that GTA: Chinatown Wars would sell in the 200,000 - 450,000 range:
So how did Take-Two flub a sure thing? Chinatown Wars was built for the wrong console. The title -- whose gameplay centers around drug dealing, cold-blooded murder, and sex -- is only available on the Nintendo DS, who's primary audience is children. Parents refused to let their kids play, and the adult DS audience just isn't that big...
Chinatown Wars may yet find life down the road, but all in all a rare misstep from Take-Two. And the winner here might actually be Sony (SNE): The Chinatown Wars disaster will likely scare other publishers away from making new adult-themed games for the Nintendo DS. Some may redirect efforts towards Sony's PSP, which targets a somewhat older crowd.
Reacting to the poor numbers put up by GTA:CW, Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz reduced earnings estimates for Publisher Take-Two Interactive:
What Happened? Take-Two exported their most valuable IP onto the most widely distributed gaming platform, and created the most highly-rated title in the history of that platform...
The disappointing first month sales reinforce our view that achieving meaningful success on Nintendo platforms remains a very difficult proposition for third party publishers.
Issues such as the recession, healthcare and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are likely to keep President Barack Obama's attention away from video games, said Reggie Fils-Aime (left).
The Nintendo of America chief also believes that the video game industry is in a better position politically than it has been in the past.
Fils-Aime made his comments during a wide-ranging interview with GameDaily:
We have the first sitting president with a multiple gaming household, between the Wii and the DS. I believe that our president has more pressing issues to deal with, from the economy to the military conflicts.
Certainly, as an industry, we've met with representatives of Congress and other parts of our government. What they see is an industry that is mainstream, is creating jobs and is creating vibrant forms of entertainment. Those are all positive things for this country. So we are in a more favorable legislative environment compared to five or six years ago.
In the aftermath of this month's horrific Winnenden school shooting, criticism of violent video games in Germany has hit a fever pitch.
Although there are no details on the origin of this photo, it appears to show an extra age warning label slapped onto Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. Germany's official USK label can be seen at lower left.
Are German retailers doubling up on age warnings?
Thanks to: Sharp-eyed GamePolitics correspondent Andrew Eisen...
The release of GTA Chinatown Wars for the Nintendo DS is a defining moment for video games, writes Seth Schiesel of the New York Times.
While video games have been incorporating more mature themes for at least a decade, the NYT's game critic views the arrival of Grand Theft Auto on the generally kid-centric handheld as a definitive statement that the medium is no longer for children only.
What makes [GTA Chinatown Wars] so significant is the system it has been made for, Nintendo’s hand-held DS... [so far] the DS has found its most fervent customers among children.
Yet like “Scarface,” “Goodfellas” and other gangster movies, Chinatown Wars is definitely not for children. Recent Grand Theft Auto games go quite a bit further in their references to hedonism (some might call it depravity) than almost anything coming out of Hollywood...
With Rockstar making Chinatown Wars exclusively for the DS, and with Nintendo approving the game for its system, the two companies are making a bold and vital statement to the public. Chinatown Wars is likely to force many to realize that just because something is called a video game does not mean it is appropriate for children...
This is a crucial moment in the maturation of both the game industry and in the mass public conception of what a game is and can be. In just the last few years games have gone from the whipping boy of politicians to a somewhat grudgingly accepted element of popular culture. But there is still a long way to go...
On Monday we reported on the story of a five-year-old French lad who allegedly stabbed his 10-year-old sister over a Nintendo DS.
We've now learned that the initial media reports were false and that it was the children's mother who actually stabbed her daughter. Long-time GamePolitics reader Soldat Louis offers the update:
In fact, the 10-year-old girl was stabbed, but NOT by her 5-years-old brother. She was stabbed by her mother ! And, of course, it wasn't because of a Nintendo DS.
According to what I read, the daughter was examined by a surgeon, who said that it was impossible that such a young boy could hurt someone so deeply. Then, the investigators talked to the children, and the daughter told them that she was stabbed by her mother, who finally confessed that she did it. She was apparently upset by the noise made by her children.
Soldat Louis reports that the best (French language) coverage of the incident comes from AFP.
We haven't seen any English language coverage of this yet, but always-reliable European reader Soldat Louis has forwarded us this report of an incident which apparently occurred yesterday in the small French village of Uckange:
A 5-year-old boy stabbed his 10-year-old sister because she didn't want to give him her Nintendo DS. Her mother, who has sole custody of the children, was sleeping at the time and was alerted by her daughter's screams.
The girl is still at the hospital, but she's not in mortal danger. The boy is aware of what he's done. He said to the police that his sister didn't want to give hime her Nintendo DS, and that he thought the knife was a toy. I've also read that he apparently likes the game "Power Rangers", in which the characters (alledgely) throw knives.
The mother of the 2 children has been raising them since the father abandoned them and fled to Albania. According to her, he was violent to the point of hitting her. She works at night to raise her children, and while she's at work, her brother and her niece babysit them.
Bowing to a request from Nintendo, the government of Japan has outlawed sales of the R4 flash cart, reports PocketGamer:
Among other uses - some of which are legitimate - the R4 allows the playing of pirated games on the Nintendo DS handheld:
To be fair to Nintendo, one of the most prominent uses of DS flash carts is indeed piracy, though such a ham-fisted pursuit of a device that's also used to unlock the console's potential won't do it any favours in the technophile arena.
And right now, cutting off a passionate hardware customer base (on the dawn of a new system release) isn't a particularly wise move for a games system that, it has to be said, is wilting in the sun of a changing industry.
We'll have to wait and see how this Japanese ruling affects the rest of the world, but for the time being Japanese DS gamers are going to have to look elsewhere for their homebrew DS apps.
At least two public officials are under scrutiny after purchases of video game products with tax dollars.
In Louisiana, Monroe City Schools Superintendent James Dupree (left) has been called on to explain using his business credit card to purchase a Nintendo DS and two games for $195 at a local GameStop last November.
The News-Star reports that, along with the DS, Dupree bought copies of SAT/ACT Coach and Brain Age Training. In a response to the newspaper's request for records, Dupree wrote:
All items were purchased to pilot their usability for SAT/ACT prep and recall skill building in relation to performance target objective No. 1.
Dupree said yesterday that the DS and games are sitting in his office as he has not yet found the time to use them. After checking them out himself, he plans to pass them along to a student.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Michael Gobb, former executive director of the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky, has resigned following a spending probe. The state Auditor General's office found more than $500,000 in questionable expenditures by airport execs, including a $4,400 tab at a strip club as well as multiple Nintendo Wii bundles.
Earlier this week GamePolitics reported on an Indiana mother's complaint that her daughter's Baby Pals game for the Nintendo DS uttered the phrase "Islam is the light."
We asked Crave Entertainment, which publishes Baby Pals, to comment on the claims, which mirror a similar controversy involving a Fisher-Price doll last autumn.
We've just received a response from Crave's Marketing Director, Doug Panter:
In creating the Nintendo DS game “Baby Pals”, the game developer Brain Toys / InXile used sounds files to simulate the life like baby noises and babbling. The sounds are publicly available for license. It is a recording of a 5 month old baby babbling non-intelligible phrases. In over 200 hours of testing the product, no recognizable English words or phrases were discernable.
The sound in question of this babble may sound like the words night, right or light, but it is only coincidence as the baby recorded was too young to pronounce these words let alone a whole grammatically correct phrase.
We at Crave Entertainment and InXile regret that there was any misinterpretation of the baby noises and in no way have intentionally put any words or phrases into the baby sounds.
We hope this eases any concerns and fans continue to enjoy playing the game.
GP: Crave's explanation that it licensed the baby talk sound file helps make sense of how "Islam is the Light" plagued the Little Mommy Cuddle and Coo doll as well. Fisher-Price probably licensed the same audio.