US Amazon users can now buy Nintendo titles like Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U through a digital download space on Amazon. According to the page, you can purchase one of the 61 titles listed, including Mario Kart 8, Splatoon and Yoshi’s Island, then just click the Nintendo Network link on the ‘thank you’ page. From there, the content code will be automatically redeemed and the game sent directly to your Wii U or 3DS console. The new store means there’s now another way to purchase downloadable games other than through Nintendo’s eShop — even though it still comes directly from Nintendo.
Pricing on Amazon seems to be the same as Nintendo’s eShop — Splatoon and Mario Kart 8 on Wii U are the same $59.99 on both sites. However, it’s possible that Amazon will have the odd sale or deal (we’ve reached out for more info). Until recently, Amazon didn’t even stock Nintendo consoles itself, choosing to just fulfill orders from other retailers on its site. That led some folks to speculate that there was some kind of feud going on, though neither side ever confirmed that. Recently, however, Amazon started selling the 3DS XL and some other bundles after several years of not doing so. And the new store seems a sign that any dispute — real or imagined — is now in the past.
Tags: amazon, DigitalDownloads, downloads, eShop, games, nintendo, NintendoDigitalDownloads
When Nintendo decided to release only the New 3DS XL in the US this winter rather than its smaller New 3DS sibling, it left many scratching their heads. Why would Nintendo deprive American gamers of a smaller, more travel-friendly handheld? Well, it’s making amends for that mistake very shortly. Nintendo has revealed that it’s bringing the New 3DS to the US on September 25th as part of a $220 Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer bundle. So long as you like having the game’s charming art plastered all over your handheld, you too can have a more portable option. The NFC Reader (needed to load up on Amiibo figurines and card) will also arrive that day for $20.
Unfortunately, it looks like you won’t have an option for a plain vanilla New 3DS, at least not yet. Unlike with the New 3DS XL, that Animal Crossing bundle is all you’re getting — you may actually pay more than you would for the XL if you weren’t bent on receiving a game alongside your system. It won’t be shocking if Nintendo eventually expands the selection, but it’s clear that the larger device remains the star of the show.
Tags: 3ds, amiibo, animalcrossing, animalcrossinghappyhomedesigner, gaming, handheld, legendofzelda, new3ds, nfc, nintendo, videogames
While the Wii U is among our favorite ways to game, its Netflix experience has been lagging behind a bit. New features like (optional) autoplaying episodes, switching between individual profiles and easy resuming just never came to the console, until now. A new update went out last night — just in time for the debut of the excellent-looking Narcos series — that should bring things up to par with the rest, however some gamers on NeoGAF are still looking for the ability to control it with the Pro Controller instead of Nintendo’s GamePad. Also, the new app defaults to streaming video to your GamePad instead of leaving it for information and navigation, so keep that in mind if you’re checking out a few episodes in between rounds of Splatoon this weekend.
Tags: GamePad, hdpostcross, Netflix, nintendo, streaming, update, video, WiiU
Nintendo helped kick off Seattle’s annual PAX Prime gaming convention with a focus on the indie scene. The Nindies@Night event at the EMP Museum gave fans a chance to check out 19 indie games on the Wii U and 3DS — and interact with the developers themselves. Among the highlights: Developer Shin’en showed off two-player split-screen support in its very F-Zero-esque Fast Racing Neo; Squad talked about bringing Wii U-specific features to Kerbal Space Program; and Yacht Club Games unveiled a certain shovel-wielding Amiibo figure.Slideshow-316038
Fast Racing Neo
While a number of Nintendo franchises have made an appearance on its current-gen system, there’s still no sign of an F-Zero entry on the horizon. Those longing for a sci-fi racing fix might get just what they need in Shin’en’s upcoming Wii U exclusive: Fast Racing Neo. A follow-up to the dev’s 2011 WiiWare title, Fast Racing Neo aims to provide the kind of futuristic, sci-fi antics that fans of F-Zero and Wipeout can appreciate.
Players can race their rocket sleds in a variety of sci-fi settings — from futuristic cityscapes to space stations. Shin’en Art Director Martin Sauter walked me through the game as we watched a pair of attendees try out the newly announced split-screen mode. “We really tried to make it like a Hollywood movie — really exciting,” he said just as a massive, robotic worm arced over the racetrack. The game will feature 16 tracks split into four cup events, and supports single-player, up to four-way splits-screen and eight-player online.
A solid frame rate is a major component of any racing game and the developer is working hard to maintain 60 fps even during two-player split-screen — while Sauter expects four-player mode to hit “30 for sure.” The split-screen mode looked impressive in person and Sauter added that optimization is still ongoing. “At E3, I couldn’t even say 60 frames,” he said.
And while the Wii U might be capable of better graphics than some give it credit for, Sauter also touted his team’s experience with its in-house engine. “The Wii U has some power. … But you can’t just plug in Unity [a cross-platform game engine] and have everything run great,” he said. “We have our own engine and we’ve been developing it for 20 years.”
Of course, being a sci-fi racer set in the future, even Fast Racing Neo‘s rocket sleds can’t evade comparisons to genre classics like F-Zero and Wipeout. Sauter said the dev is, unsurprisingly, a big fan of those games and thought of those titles when considering what to bring to the Wii U’s eShop. “We don’t mind people seeing F-Zero,” he added, “[but] we want it to stand on its own feet.” Fast Racing Neo is expected to ship later this year.
Elsewhere on the show floor, developer Yacht Club Games showed off the Plague of Shadows DLC for its popular side-scroller, Shovel Knight. But some of the biggest applause came during the official unveiling of a Shovel Knight Amiibo figure. Several attendees queued up to get a good look at the blue-hued protagonist (housed safely in a display case). Yacht Club says the figure can be used to unlock cooperative multiplayer modes on the Wii U and other challenges and customization options on both the Wii U and 3DS.
Kerbal Space Program
One of the most pleasant surprises was a game that wasn’t even on the show floor: Kerbal Space Program. Console ports for the popular spaceflight simulator have already been announced for the PS4 and Xbox One, but developer Squad took to the stage during a Q&A session to announce a Wii U version would be on its way as well.
Producer Miguel Piña said the dev is currently working on some Wii U-specific features that take advantage of the console’s unique GamePad, like mapping and planning on the controller’s screen rather than constantly flipping back and forth between menus on the TV. One option could let players view the interiors of their spaceships on the GamePad’s built-in screen – acting like a window of sorts as you move the controller around in all directions. Piña described using the GamePad to look at specific panels and reaching out to toggle controls. Controlling the ship this way opens up a whole new experience, he added, since players could look out through the windows of their ship and watch as the environment zooms by. Of course, the interior view could also ramp up the intensity whenever players make sudden, unexpected landings (read: crashes). The game doesn’t get gory, Piña said, but you do get a nice explosion. “It’s really fun [to control],” he said, “and also really scary when you crash.”
While I couldn’t pry a launch date out of him, Piña did say we can expect the Wii U version of Kerbal Space Program to lift off at the same time as the PS4 and Xbox One versions.
Overall, the devs and fans I spoke with at the event enjoyed the chance to interact directly with each other — something indie developers don’t always get a chance to do. When Squad started work on Kerbal Space Program in Mexico City, for example, Piña said the dev had no expectations when it came to widespread international success. “It’s so weird for us [meeting fans from across the globe in person], but it’s the best thing in the world,” he said, adding that when Squad first released the game, “we said, ‘Here’s our game; does anyone care?’”
Judging from the hundreds of fans on the show floor checking out indie games and the variety and creativity these titles can exhibit, it turns out yes; gamers care.
Images: Shin’en (Fast Racing Neo)
Tags: 3DS, F-Zero, Fast Racing Neo, hdpostcross, Indie, indie-games, kerbal-space-program, nintendo, PAX, PAX-2015, pax-prime, shovel-knight, Wii U, Wipeout
Japanese mobile game company DeNA has launched an app called Mirrativ that lets you livestream anything and everything that’s happening on your phone. Think of the app as a mix of Periscope and Twitch — yes, there are plenty of ways to stream your face and your games to the world, but with Mirrativ you’re not limited to just either-or. DeNA is also targeting a broader range of uses than just gaming. What else might you like to stream? Speaking with The Wall Street Journal, DeNA’s Junichi Akagawa says that users could perhaps browse online stores while seeking “shopping advice” from followers, or read news articles and share their thoughts on the topics.
The app is is currently in public beta, and DeNA is restricting streaming to a few hours a day while it works stuff out. Viewing streams is akin to other services — you can comment or show appreciation and it’ll show up on the streamer’s end live, just like in Periscope. Unfortunately, there’s no archive for streams just yet, so once an event’s over it’s over.
“I think this is the first app that allows users to broadcast everything happening on the their smartphone device through the Internet,” Akagawa tells the Journal. He’s not right, as Sony added Twitch and YouTube streaming to its recent Xperia devices last month, but Mirrativ works across a wide range of Android devices. DeNA is also working on a similar app for iOS, although given the closed feature set Apple provides developers with it’s tough to imagine the experiences being identical cross-platform.
If you’re wondering where you’ve heard the name DeNA before, wonder no longer. It’s a big deal in Japan, where it’s behind some huge mobile titles, and also runs an online gaming platform called Mobage, which is a rough equivalent of Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus. It’s such a big deal that Nintendo has partnered with it to create mobile games and build its next-generation online services, taking a 10-percent stake in the company at the same time.
Mirrativ (Google Play)
Tags: dena, google, mirrativ, mobilepostcross, nintendo, streaming, twitch, youtube
If you’ve even had a small taste of Splatoon, you know that the inky shooter is defined as much by its upbeat, irreverent music as its bright, Nickelodeon-circa-1995 visuals. Nintendo clearly knows this, too — it’s planning to release Splatune, a whopping 61-song original soundtrack. Most of it (37 tracks) will be straight-up music, but there will also be 10 jingles and 14 pieces based on sound effects. That’s a lot, especially when you consider that many big-name movies don’t get such a lavish treatment. Be prepared to pay a pretty penny to an importer if you want a copy, though. Nintendo is releasing Splatune as a ¥3,200 ($27) two-disc album in Japan (where CDs are still huge) on October 21st, and there’s no word yet on a release elsewhere.
Tags: gaming, music, nintendo, soundtrack, splatoon, splatune, videogames, wiiu
Today on In Case You Missed It, I’ve replaced Kerry Davis in a sinister plot to take over the show while she’s on vacation drinking Angry Orchard by the lake. In actual news, we celebrated Windows 95’s 20th birthday with a throwback to “The Rachel” in a promo video for Microsoft’s famed OS, starring Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry. In related, all be it more panic-inducing news, someone’s made a giant game of Minesweeper to drive you bat shit crazy. A Brazilian vlogger gave us a glimpse of the world’s most popular operating system on one of the world’s least popular phones. And, finally, someone with a whole lot of time on his hands came up with the ultimate way to sink your battle ship.
If you come across any interesting videos, we’d love to see them. Just tweet us with the #ICYMI hashtag @engadget or @mskerryd. And if you just want to heap praise on your handsome guest host, feel free to hit me up @mr_trout.
Tags: Android, BlackBerry, ICYMI, incaseyoumissedit, mario kart, microsoft, minesweeper, nintendo, video
Nintendo has lately been willing to license its characters for movies (see Donkey Kong’s appearance in Pixels), but it’s been a long time since there was a flick based on its characters — maybe it’s still having traumatic flashbacks to Super Mario Bros. from 1993. Whatever the reasons, it might just have a change of heart. Shigeru Miyamoto tells Fortune that the firm is thinking “more and more” about including movies as part of its strategy. He used to see movies as passive content that was at odds with gaming, but a shift to treating Nintendo as an “entertainment company” has once again raised the prospects of movie adaptations.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll see motion pictures soon, if at all. Nintendo put the kibosh on rumors of a Zelda movie just this year. However, such a move wouldn’t be surprising. The company’s traditional console-based gaming business isn’t making a lot of money right now, and it’s branching out into other areas (such as smartphone games) in hopes of improving its fortunes. Movies would not only add revenue, but boost the profile of its games if done well enough.
Tags: gaming, hdpostcross, licensing, movies, nintendo, shigerumiyamoto, videogames
Nintendo has said little about what its future NX console will involve (besides not running Android), but one of the company’s recent US patent applications might be a hint as to what it’s planning. The would-be patent, filed this February, talks about a “stationary game console” that uses only hard drives and external cards for storage — the first time a TV-based Nintendo system would go without discs since the Nintendo 64 from two decades ago. As the company explains, the rise of broadband makes optical drives obsolete. Why include a disc reader when any game you want is just a download away?
There aren’t any big clues as to the NX’s hardware, and there’s no guarantee that this amounts to a Nintendo roadmap. It could easily change its mind if it decides that it needs Blu-ray or another format to handle large releases. However, a disc-free system certainly makes sense, especially for a system that might not ship for another year or two. While all the big TV game consoles currently ship with disc drives, it’s no secret that the technology is on its way out — it’s slow, complicates game updates and adds to the cost of a system. Ditching plastic media would let Nintendo embrace the future while keeping its historically low hardware prices.
[Image credit: Jeff Daly/Invision for Nintendo/AP]
Tags: console, gaming, nintendo, nx, patent, uspto, videogames
In general, gaming hardware has a bit of staying power, at least until you get seduced by a next-gen console. The latest update to our buyer’s guide included many carryovers from last time, although we saw fit to spin off both Sony’s and Microsoft’s respective cameras as their own entries. For the PC gaming set, we swapped in MSI’s latest laptop powerhouse, the GT80 Titan, which offers top-of-the-range options and the satisfying clack of a mechanical keyboard. Also, we had to include Nintendo’s latest 3DS XL; with face-tracking 3D, new buttons and Amiibo support, it’s better than ever. You can find the whole lineup in the gallery below, but if you want to see some picks in other categories, our complete buyer’s guide is always ready and waiting for you.Slideshow-314027
Tags: buyersguide, engadgetbuyersguide, gaming, gifts, microsoft, nintendo, sony