Nintendo Shows Strength on New Games in Financial Results

NintendoAs 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.

McFarlane Toys Unsheathes the Assassin’s Creed Unity Phantom Blade

AssassinsCreed.PhantomBladeThe Assassin’s Creed Unity Phantom Blade, a wearable life-size collectible based on the video game from Ubisoft, and crafted from a design by McFarlane Toys, is now available in stores and online. A replica of Arno’s signature weapon from Assassin’s Creed Unity, it comes equipped with a functional hidden blade, retractable crossbow, and firing dart.

The collectible blade is constructed out of thermoplastic and safety tested for actual use, with a recommended user age of 17 and up. The Phantom Blade also includes a bonus code for downloading the French Cavalry Pistol in Assassin’s Creed Unity, available November 11 for Xbox One.

More information about the Phantom Blade, as well as a list of retailers, can be found at assassinscreed.com/phantomblade and facebook.com/assassinscreed.

Launch Date Announced for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

SuperSmashBros.WiiUSuper Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS has reached cumulative sales of more than 2.8 million worldwide, following launches in the Americas, Europe, and Australia. To keep the momentum going, Nintendo has unveiled the launch date of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, which will arrive in North America on November 21.

In related news, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will support amiibo, Nintendo’s new line of interactive figures, which will launch on the same day. The first wave of amiibo includes Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Link, Fox, Samus, Wii Fit Trainer, Villager, Pikachu, Kirby, and Marth. The second wave launching in December includes Zelda, Diddy Kong, Luigi, Little Mac, Pit, and Captain Falcon.

Sony Moving Closer to Making Inroads into China

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC LOGODuring the past week, it was widely reported that Sony Corp. is moving closer to shipping video game consoles in China, where devices such as its PlayStation had long been banned.

According to a filing reported on by Bloomberg News this past Thursday, a Sony-affiliated factory in Shanghai’s free-trade zone will start packaging consoles this December. The filing—an environmental assessment posted by a Sony local partner on the free-trade zone’s official website—stated that the factory has the capacity to package 200,000 consoles a year.

The exact type of console was not specified. “Though it is true the filing was made and approved, some parts of the document such as the amount of shipment, number of staff, production start timing, were only tentative and do not represent the actual business plan. We have yet to announce which system will be available in China, price for the system, and the launch date,” said a representative of Sony Computer Entertainment in a statement.

Sony signed a deal earlier this year with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group Co. to make and sell PlayStation game consoles in China. The move came after the Chinese government in September lifted a 14-year ban on the sale of video game consoles, which had been in place due to concerns about violent content.

Sony video game competitor Microsoft began selling its Xbox One through the free-trade zone late last month, with restrictions on the titles approved for sale.

Nintendo Doubles Down on Indie with IndieCade Showcase, Game Exhibit at EMP Museum

NintendoNintendo will highlight 15 playable independent games for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS at IndieCade Festival 2014, which kicks off today in Culver City, Calif., and runs through Sunday. Many of the “Nindies,” or Nintendo independent developers, will be present to demonstrate their artistic video game visions and share development experiences with festival attendees.

“These Nindie developers are currently making some of the most exciting and imaginative games out there, and Nintendo is pleased to offer them multiple platforms to bring their creative ideas to life,” said Steve Singer, Nintendo of America’s vice president of licensing.

Playable Wii U games at Nintendo’s IndieCade booth include Affordable Space Adventures, from KnapNok Games; The Fall, from Over the Moon Games; Costume Quest, from Midnight City; and more. Playable 3DS games include Woah Dave!, from Choice Provisions; and Xeodrifter, from Renegade Kid LLC. Games for both Wii U and 3DS include Shovel Knight from Yacht Club Games. [Read more...]

Skylanders Trap Team, Toy Exclusives Available at Retailers Everywhere

SkylandersTrapTeamLogoSkylanders Trap Team, from Activision Publishing Inc., is available now at major retailers nationwide on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo Wii U consoles. In addition, the complete console gaming experience is available on iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets, while a unique Skylanders adventure has launched for the Nintendo 3DS.

The new Skylanders game lets fans seek out and battle villains in Skylands, and once they’ve defeated them, players can place a Trap into the new Traptanium Portal to capture them. Players will be able to hear the villains inside the Traps, and can send the villains back into the game to fight as heroes.

To celebrate the release of Skylanders Trap Team, exclusive Skylanders products are available at retailers nationwide. Toys “R” Us stores in North America and online at toysrus.com are the only places to find the limited edition Legendary Series of Skylanders toys at launch. The Legendary Series features alternative versions of new Trap Master characters and packs such as Jawbreaker, Déjà Vu, and the Nightmare Express Adventure Pack, all of which feature in-game stat boosts. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: Nintendo Is Game for Playing in the Toy World

amiibo.largerversionSince the 1980s, Nintendo has always seemed to be the “family-friendly” choice in video games. With wholesome characters such as Mario and Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, and Toad, and bad guys that make you laugh more often than they scare you (except for Bowser in the original Super Mario Bros. game on NES—he was straight up scary), Nintendo has always given off a welcoming, family-friendly vibe, with games available for kids of all ages, and systems and controllers that are intuitive rather than intimidating.

Despite knowing this—and being a Nintendo fan my whole life—it still caught me a bit off-guard when Nintendo announced that it would be launching amiibo, which are action-figures designed to connect and interact with compatible games. “By holding the amiibo over your Wii U GamePad, you’ll open up new experiences within each corresponding game,” reads the Nintendo website. [Read more...]

Nintendo Becomes More Playful with Play Nintendo Website

PlayNintendoNintendo has unveiled Play Nintendo at play.nintendo.com, a new website where both kids and parents can interact with the video game maker’s characters and franchises. The site is a child-friendly online destination where kids can get to know beloved Nintendo games and characters including Mario, Luigi, Bowser, and Peach.

Nintendo will be regularly updating the parents site with new content such as which games are right for families, new games on the way, crafting ideas, suggestions for how to balance screen time with outdoor play, and more.

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 Edition Launches in Retail Stores Nationwide

DisneyInfinity.MarvelSuperHeroesDisney Interactive and Marvel have launched Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, the follow-up to last year’s toy/video game hybrid. The Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack features the 2.0 game software; the Disney Infinity 2.0 Base; Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set with Iron Man, Black Widow, and Thor figures; two Toy Box Game Discs; and a web code card. Marvel’s Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy Play Sets, along with additional figures from those worlds, are sold separately. [Read more...]

Winner Announced in Skylanders Choose and Name a New Hero Contest

SkylandersLogoPhylicia Nakamoto, from Elk Grove, Calif., is the fan-selected winner of the Skylanders Choose and Name a New Hero promotion. Her winning entry, High Five, is a royal dragonfly that is able to fly higher and faster than any other hero in Skylands. Phylicia will receive a $100,000 scholarship and High Five will be featured in the Skylanders franchise.

Earlier this year, Frito-Lay North America and Activision Publishing Inc. gave fans the opportunity to choose and name a new hero that would appear in the upcoming Skylanders Trap Team game, which will be released on October 5 in North America. Along with High Five, the other two finalist characters—Bat Spin, a female bat with magical powers, and Flip Wreck, an adventurous dolphin—will also have roles in the new game.

The three finalists were revealed in May, and consumers were invited to visit www.fritolay.com/skylanders to vote for their favorite. This marks the third Skylanders promotion between Activision and Frito-Lay.