Nintendo is about to halt production of its 8GB Wii U Basic in Japan, according to a notice on its product site. The white-clad product has been around since 2012, but was never super popular since the 32GB version is typically only $50 more. In fact, the rumor mill had it being killed off two years ago after it went out of stock at GameStop and Best Buy, though Nintendo later called that a “misperception.” Somehow the model has hung on until now, but has gradually become harder to find.
There’s no word on whether Nintendo plans to kill the basic version in the US and Europe, but a Japanese death often presages a similar fate elsewhere. However, the company plans to launch a white version of the 32GB Premium model, so at least you won’t get too nostalgic for the color.
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The NYTimes recently went through a lot of trouble to overhaul their application. Included in the massive update was a complete design overhaul that follows the standards of Holo and Material Design and it does look great. Add to that the world class news coverage, a few good features like Twilight Mode and the ability to customize your news reading experience, and you have an application that’s definitely worth checking out. It is subscription based but you can try out the application for free and read a few articles every month without buying anything so it can’t hurt to try it out. We’d like to thank The New York Times for their support of Android Apps Weekly.
Welcome back to Android Apps Weekly! Here are your headlines for this week:
- Corbin Davenport has made headlines before by getting emulators to work on Android Wear and he’s at it again. This time he used a Mini vMac II emulator and managed to get the old Macintosh II OS running on Android Wear. As you can guess, it’s buggy and terrible, but it does work and that’s awesome.
- Earlier this week, Google announced that they are going to shut down editing in Map Maker. This comes in the footsteps of the now infamous edit that shows an Android peeing on an apple. This decision is likely to prevent things like that from ever happening again.
- Sega made an announcement that they will be removing games from the Play Store that do not meet their standards. It’s really just some housekeeping but some believe that the games aren’t good enough while others believe the games aren’t making enough money. We don’t know which games are getting canned yet.
- The Google Play Store got a new feature this week. Developers can now allow users to pre-register for apps and games that aren’t out yet. If you pre-register, you’ll get a notification when that app or game becomes available. There are a few titles using it already and this can help generate buzz for their new content.
- In our last headline this week, Nintendo has announced that they will be releasing five games by the end of 2017 with the first coming out this year. We have no clue what kind of game it’s going to be but Nintendo did say that they weren’t porting old games to mobile. I guess we’ll see how this pans out when the first game gets released.
For even more Android apps and games news, updates, and releases, don’t forget to check out this week’s newsletter. There you can find the full range of stuff that happened over the course of the week. If you’re so inclined, you can even sign up with your email address and we’ll send you the newsletter to your inbox every single Friday so you can stay up to date.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
HeroCraft Z is a new RPG released by NGames. It features decent graphics powered by the Unity3D engine, a full campaign mode, and the ability to assemble and build your own team. There are some online components as well that include a PvP arena. You can collect over 50 companions with various abilities for strategy. It’s a Freemium game through and through, but it is free to play and isn’t half bad.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
After a few weeks of waiting, the highly anticipated Snake Rewind game is now available on Google Play. As you’ve heard, this is a revamp of the classic Snake game that adorned the cell phones of old and the mechanics remain largely intact. The controls are a bit wonky as they rely on position based tapping and there are in-app purchases which feels a bit weird, but overall it feels like a positive experience and a good source of nostalgia with a cheap price tag.
Bleep is a new messaging application from, believe it or not, BitTorrent. The idea here is privacy. Messages are stored on user devices and not in the cloud like normal while every message sent is encrypted and the encryption keys are store on user devices and not in the cloud. There are various ways to sign up, the UI isn’t half bad, and you can invite people using your public key similar to Blackberry Messenger. If you need privacy, this is a great way to do but do beware of those release day bugs.
While Bleep focuses on security, Trumpit totally doesn’t. The premise of this photo messaging app is that photos you send shows up on the recipient’s device above the lock screen. They can then interact with it if they want or swipe it away quickly and go back to using their phone. It’s a fun premise, especially if you love sharing photos with people. Of course, I can see this going very badly if you know someone who likes to take inappropriate photos. In any case, it’s totally free and worth a shot. Just beware of any release day bugs.
[Price: Free with in-app purchases]
Last up is a game called Seabeard which is a new game that saw some moderate success on iOS. Our own Andrew Grush likened the game to a kind of mix of Zelda: Windmaker and Animal Crossing. It features colorful, cartoon graphics a lot of content for you to do, and plenty of other features. It’s been noted that in-app purchases are a tad heavy but with a little bit of patience, you can get passed that obstacle. It’s free to play and it’s available right now.
If we missed any great Android apps or games news, tell us about it in the comments below!
Nintendo has already released a gold version of its Mario Amiibo, so guess what’s coming next? A silver version, of course. We suspected as much after both figurines leaked back in February, but today the console maker has made it official. The special statue — which is identical to the Amiibo figure from Mario Party 10, albeit painted silver — will arrive in stores on May 29th for $12.99. When the gold version debuted, it was available exclusively in Walmart stores across the US. That made it something of a collector’s item, riling fans that were desperately trying to maintain a complete set. This time around, it seems Nintendo has opted for a more conventional release. The company is still struggling to keep up with the demand for Amiibos however, so if you’re interested, act fast on May 29th.
The Nintendo World Championships, a gaming competition last held in 1990, return this year for E3 in June. Nintendo fans can compete for a spot in the Championships on May 30 at select Best Buy stores around the country, and the winners will join competitors selected by Nintendo at the Nokia Theatre on Sunday, June 14th, for a multi-round gaming competition. It’s just like the old days. The Championships will be streamed live online and fans in LA will have the opportunity to attend the final event in-person. Nintendo promises more details in the coming weeks.
As for the rest of E3, Nintendo will once again host a Digital Event full of game announcements and (fingers crossed) puppets, this time on Tuesday, June 16th at 9AM PT. Nintendo Treehouse will stream live from the E3 show floor June 16th – 18th, and on June 17th and 20th, select Best Buy stores in the US will allow fans to play Mario Maker on Wii U. That’s 4PM – 9PM local time on Wednesday, June 17th and 12PM – 5PM local time on Saturday, June 20th.
The first smartphone game from Nintendo should arrive in 2015
Nintendo plans to release at least five smartphone games by March 2017, the first of which should debut later this year. Speaking during the recent 2014 earnings Nintendo CEO and president Satoru Iwata said we should expect more than a simple port of existing titles. Given that smartphones are an entirely different animal than something that’s controller-based it takes some juggling.
“You may think it is a small number but when we aim to make each title a hit, and because we want to thoroughly operate every one of them for a significant amount of time after their releases, this is not a small number at all and should demonstrate our serious commitment to the smart device business.“
It is not clear what titles Nintendo plans to offer nor do we know for certain that all five will be for Android. We might hope and assume that this is the case but it has not been confirmed as of yet.
What sort of games would you like to see come to mobile devices? Is there a specific character or series you’d like to play on your Android handset? Leave a comment below!
While many companies are embracing mobile gaming with open arms, Nintendo has been a bit reluctant to enter the scene. However, Nintendo, with their recent partnership with DeNA, is now ready to jump in.
Plans are to release one game by the end of this year. Nintendo won’t just been releasing a single game, though. Immediately after the company’s 2014 earnings, CEO and President Satoru Iwata said that they plan on launching five mobile titles by March 2017.
“You may think it is a small number,” said Iwata, “but when we aim to make each title a hit, and because we want to thoroughly operate every one of them for a significant amount of time after their releases, this is not a small number at all and should demonstrate our serious commitment to the smart device business.”
Keep in mind that these games won’t just be ports from much-loved console titles–they’ll be entirely new games designed to function on smartphones and tablets.
“Even with highly popular IP, the odds of success are quite low if consumers cannot appreciate the quality of a game,” he said. “Also, if we were simply to port software that already has a track record on a dedicated game system, it would not match the play styles of smart devices, and the appropriate business models are different between the two, so we would not anticipate a great result.”
Of course, we have no idea what Nintendo plans on bringing to the mobile platform. For now, we’ll wait patiently to see what innovations Nintendo has up their sleeve for the mobile industry. However, this is great news overall from the company, as Android has been taking over Nintendo’s market share. Maybe this move will provide them with more growth.
What Nintendo game would you like to see on the smartphone? A Yoshi version of Temple Run? Let us know in the comments.
Come comment on this article: Nintendo launching five smartphone games by 2017, one out this year
Nintendo has revealed some new details about its plan to develop mobile games. Most notably, its first smartphone title will come out later this year, and it’s hoping to release four more before March 2017. That might sound fairly conservative — five apps in just under two years isn’t a particularly aggressive strategy. But Nintendo believes it’s paramount that it takes a considered approach. “When we aim to make each title a hit, and because we want to thoroughly operate every one of them for a significant amount of time after their releases, this is not a small number at all,” Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata said.
In an earnings briefing, he said the company’s chances of success were “quite low” unless the games maintain Nintendo’s normal level of quality. Although the console maker pioneered touch-based gameplay with the Nintendo DS, it understands that simply porting those experiences won’t be enough. To succeed, Iwata said the company will be “carefully” selecting franchises and characters to develop into smartphone games. He also emphasized that mobile will become a core “pillar” of Nintendo’s business. “If we did not aim to achieve a significant result, it would be meaningless for us to do it at all.”
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When Nintendo announced that they had partnered with DeNA to make mobile games, we got a bit excited, until they went silent for awhile. Well, it’s time to get excited again after Nintendo president Satoru Iwata confirmed that Nintendo will make 5 mobile games by March 2017. Sure, that might seem like a long time away, but unless Nintendo releases all the games right before March 2017, we’ll roughly be getting a new game every 5-6 months. We’ll be stoked as soon as one game is released.
If that’s not enough to get you excited, then you might be happy to know that the producer who worked on releasing Mario Kart DS/Wii/7/8 will be heading up Nintendo’s smartphone development, a sure sign that Nintendo is actually pretty serious about its smartphone endeavor. Mario Kart on Android anyone?
What do you think about Nintendo’s two year play to release five games? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Nintendo has long resisted the lure of mobile gaming, preferring to stick to its traditional, console-focused business model. So, in March, when Nintendo announced it’s partnering with mobile gaming giant DeNA to bring its first mobile games to market, fans of Mario & Co. were positively excited.
Now Nintendo offered some clues on how it plans to go about mobile gaming. Talking to investors after yesterday’s announcement of Nintendo’s 2014 financial results, CEO Satoru Iwata said Nintendo plans to release around five mobile titles by March 2017.
The first of these titles will be released by the end of the year.
The CEO said Nintendo wants to make each of these games a hit and “thoroughly operate every one of them for a significant amount of time after their releases,” in a sign of the company’s “serious commitment to the smart device business.”
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Nintendo will not port existing titles to mobile, because that would result in a subpar experience for users:
“If we were simply to port software that already has a track record on a dedicated game system, it would not match the play styles of smart devices, and the appropriate business models are different between the two, so we would not anticipate a great result.”
Nintendo is still dedicated to consoles and sees mobile as a gateway towards the more premium experience offered by Wii, according to Iwata.
So, what should we expected from these first batch of mobile Nintendo games? All we know so far is they will be made for mobile (no ports) and they will have a cross-platform component. DeNA’s involvement may result in the inclusion of a strong IAP system, but that’s just speculation. Of course, Nintendo’s beloved panoply of characters will be front and center, Donkey Kong, Link, and Mario included. And that pretty much guarantees that Nintendo’s mobile games will enjoy a ton of attention, if not guaranteed success.
What do you hope to see in Nintendo’s Android games?