In the most recent Nintendo Direct presentation, the video game maker revealed new amiibo cards based on characters from the Animal Crossing series, compatible with the upcoming Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. Both the cards and the new game are scheduled for release this fall. Nintendo also announced a new line of Yoshi amiibo figures made of actual yarn, and more.
The New Nintendo 3DS XL system will launch in the U.S. on February 13, according to a Nintendo Direct presentation today. The upcoming system features a wider range of controls with the addition of a C Stick and ZL/ZR buttons, super-stable 3-D via face-tracking technology, and built-in NFC functionality that allows for communication with amiibo figures.
The system also enhances certain games like Super Smash Bros. with amiibo functionality, faster processing speeds, and more control options when compared to the Nintendo 3DS system. In addition to the standard New Red and New Black, two other New Nintendo 3DS XL designs will be available at launch: one featuring artwork inspired by the soon-to-be-released The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, and one based on Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, available exclusively at GameStop with the game pre-installed.
Mario Maker lets users create their own Mario levels. This includes the ability to tap the Wii U GamePad screen to change the look of a level design to those of previous Super Mario games, such as Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and the New Super Mario Bros. U. Each style includes game mechanics unique to their respective games, and players can integrate these mechanics into designs for the various titles featured in the game. Mario Maker will launch next year, which marks the 30th anniversary of the original Super Mario Bros. game.
In the latest installment of The Legend of Zelda franchise, players can pinpoint locations on the map on the Wii U GamePad, which then appear as beacons in the game as navigation aids. Miyamoto and Aonuma shared information on Epona, Link’s horse, which in the new game avoids trees and obstacles, just as a real horse would do, leaving players free to use Link’s sword or shoot arrows.
Nintendo won four Game Awards on the night, including Developer of the Year, Best Fighting Game for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Best Sports/Racing Game for Mario Kart 8 and Best Family Game for Mario Kart 8. In other news, the company set a March 13 launch date for Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., which will have multiplayer mode that lets players compete against one another in local and online matches on their Nintendo 3DS.
On December 7, Nintendo and Best Buy will team up to provide hands-on game play featuring Captain Toad, Pikachu, and other iconic Nintendo characters. At select stores, shoppers can play four of Nintendo’s recent releases: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, for Wii U; Pokémon Art Academy, for Nintendo 3DS; and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. The four games are currently available in stores and in the Nintendo eShop.
The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time, and a full list of participating stores can be found at Best Buy’s web site. Visitors who play the demos become eligible to receive giveaways ranging from fun Pokémon items to in-store coupons, while supplies last. At the Best Buy store in Culver City, Calif., the Mario costumed character himself will pay a visit to take pictures with fans.
On November 21, Nintendo will launch new Crystal Red and Crystal Blue Nintendo 2DS systems featuring a slick, semi-transparent design. The Crystal Red and Crystal Blue systems are launching alongside Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, and the Nintendo 2DS is compatible with the Nintendo 3DS’ library of more than 3,000 games, including Super Smash Bros.
The system maintains many of the same hardware and connected features as Nintendo 3DS such as touch-screen controls, StreetPass, Miiverse, and online multiplayer functionality. The Nintendo 2DS is also backward compatible with the library of Nintendo DS games, and offers the ability to download games from the Nintendo eShop.
Pre-sales of the fighting game for Wii U, which arrives at stores on November 21, surpassed Mario Kart 8, and interest in the game has generated optimism at Nintendo. Reggie Fils-Aime, president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, said in an interview on Tuesday that sell-through expectations for Super Smash Bros. are on par with Mario Kart 8, which could have a dramatic impact on hardware.
Mario Kart 8 has sold 3.49 million units, including 2.74 million outside Japan, and Wii U console sales more than doubled from a year earlier to 1.12 million devices in the six months ended September. So far this year, Nintendo has sold 2 million Wii U units, according to the site VGChartz. The Wii U posted its first consecutive quarterly sales gains in the June and September periods.
Super Smash Bros. is the first Nintendo title that will also support amiibo, the company’s entry into the $1 billion interactive toy category, scheduled for release in time for the holidays.
The online delivery service Loot Crate is helping fans receive select Nintendo amiibo figures after they launch on November 21. By signing up for the limited-time amiibo subscription service, subscribers will receive 10 pre-selected amiibo—including Mario, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Fox, and Yoshi—separated into three special Loot Crate shipments throughout the holiday season.
By joining the subscription service, Loot Crate guarantees the 10 pre-selected amiibo, and allows subscribers to avoid the hassle of rushing to retailers to find certain characters. In addition to Mario, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Fox, and Yoshi, the other five pre-selected characters will eventually be revealed through Loot Crate.
Nintendo and Loot Crate plan additional surprises for Super Smash Bros. and amiibo fans. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Mario Kart 8, and Hyrule Warriors will feature amiibo compatibility this year, with functionality for more titles coming in the future.
As reported by Bloomberg News on Wednesday, Nintendo posted second-quarter profits that beat analyst estimates, helped by a weaker yen that boosted the value of overseas sales and demand for new games, including the company’s Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8. Net income was 24.2 billion yen, or $224 million, for the three months ended September 30, compared to an 8 billion yen loss a year earlier.
The company booked a 15.5 billion yen gain in the fiscal first half from the weaker Japanese currency. Second-quarter sales fell to 96.7 billion yen from 115 billion yen a year ago, but Nintendo left unchanged its forecast for full-year profit of 20 billion yen and sales of 590 billion yen. The company maintained its projection to sell 3.6 million Wii U consoles across the full year.
In a statement, Nintendo also maintained its full-year sales targets for the 3DS handheld player and software titles for both. The newest version of the 3DS, which features additional buttons and a faster processor, went on sale in Japan on October 11; and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS, which was released in Japan on September 13, and in North America and Europe on October 3, sold 3.2 million units as of the end of the month. The company is also entering the multi-billion-dollar, collectible toy market with its amiibo figurines, which let players enter a Nintendo character into a game through the Wii U’s GamePad tablet.