News Article: Full Nintendo Press Conference Recap
News Date: 05/11/2004
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"Didn't go to the press conference? We've got a detailed report of what went down. It's as if you were there yourself... Updated with quotes from Miyamoto.
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For this year's media briefing, Nintendo once again chose the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland above the Kodak Theatre to spill the beans on their E3 plans. It was standing room only as Nintendo waited for attendees to arrive from Sony's press event held earlier in the day, and once everyone took their seats, the show got underway.
Nintendo's VP of Sales and Marketing, Reggie Fils-Aime (he told us to call him Reggie) came out and greeted everyone in the usual Nintendo fashion. After that, the first burst of game video was shown, which included Baten Kaitos, Metroid Prime 2, Killer 7, Star Fox, Resident Evil 4, and others, with the included tagline, "We makes games that make games worth playing." This got the crowd going, and Reggie then started explaining what Nintendo's plan for success would be this year.
"Nintendo isn't your only choice for playing games," he said, recognizing that Nintendo is aware of the competition. "We aren't going to run our company just for hardcore gamers," stating that everyone in attendance this afternoon were in that category. He stressed the fact that Nintendo must make games for everyone who wishes to play them, even though it might not be in the hardcore gamers' best interest.
After finishing up that point, Reggie began to make some interesting comments about the competition. Namely, Sony wants you to use all of their products for the "total entertainment package," and Microsoft will let you "do anything you want, as long as you're doing it on their operating system." These remarks got a nice reaction from the audience. "We're all about the game," said Reggie, as he pounded home the fact that that's the business Nintendo is in, and will always be in.
Next up was George Harrison, Nintendo's Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications. His job in years past was to open the show, but this year, he thankfully stuck to just running through all the numbers of how well Nintendo had done in the past year. He explained that Nintendo was the driving force behind the growth of the industry, as only the GameCube had better sales numbers compared to the year before for all systems.
Up until the $99 price drop, Harrison said that everyone who has already purchased a GC have been the early adopter/hardcore type. Nintendo's goal for the back half of this console generation is to try to get system and the over 400 games soon available for it into the hands of people that are looking for "entertainment, familiarity and value" in a game system. To date, 38 million total systems (GC, Xbox and PS2) have been sold in North America. Because of the GameCube's $99 price point, the "Nintendo Value Advantage" is looking to get GameCube consoles into the homes of the other 20 million more people who will be purchasing a game system before the next generation rolls around.
Harrison then began to talk about the Game Boy Advance's standing. The GBA is quite clearly the most dominate game system on the planet, which no one needs to tell you (though he did anyway). The meaty info concerning the GBA is that there have been over two million retail orders for the GBA Video cartridges, the wireless link cable system that will be included with Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green will also support over a dozen games soon to be released, and that one-third of Game Boy Advance owners are over the age of 18, mostly thanks in part to the GBA SP.
More importantly, however, Harrison made some very direct comparisons to the PSP, and other handheld competition to Nintendo. Nintendo does admit that the Sony PSP will definitely have some initial appeal, and there's no getting around that. However, while some people believe that the PSP will quickly outsell the GBA, Harrison points out that they should be look at the fact that not even the PS2 is outpacing the GBA, let alone the new Sony portable. Since the Game Boy Advance was launched, it has outsold the PS2 by about four million units. Even the GBA SP has been outselling the PS2 since it has launched. Harrison claimed that no matter how well Sony or Nokia designs their hardware, unless they truly have a killer app, there won't be a chance they can compete with Nintendo.
After George left the stage, Nintendo rolled out another video reel, this time with more GameCube games such as Paper Mario 2, Pikmin 2, Advance Wars: Under Fire (which got some oohs and aahs from the crowd), Rainbow Six 3 and more. Reggie came back out onto the stage, and everyone in attendance was anticipating the Nintendo DS unveiling, and that's exactly what they got.
From the inside jacket pocket of his coat, Reggie pulled out a silver, checkbook-sized device, unfolded it, and introduced the Nintendo DS to the world. Flashes from cameras went off like crazy as the media got pictures, and as soon as the crowd settled down, Reggie explained a few things about the system, namely, what the "DS" stood for (other than the obvious). Nintendo feels that the DS is truly a "developer's system," bringing something new and "different" to the game industry. A few video clips of some heavy-hitting developers commenting on what the system might hold in store was shown, with names from Majesco up to EA and Square-Enix talking about what it means to the future of gaming.
That was all well and good, but once the details of the actual hardware was discussed, things really took off. One of the first features described about the DS was that it will indeed be backwards compatible with all Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games. In fact, Nintendo had to put in two media slots to accommodate this feature: one for the GBA games, the other for DS games. The touch screen (singular) that the system will have will apparently play a major role for most games, from typing in words via an on-screen keyboard, to drawing pictures, or even using it to shoot enemies in... well, we'll get to that one in a moment. The screen can be used with a stylus or your own fingers. The built-in microphone the unit comes with will also be used in many ways, one of which could be for using voice commands in games.
As Reggie was pointing out these features, one of the video screens on the wall was showing the DS playing a video of some sort. On one screen, you could see Mario, Wario, Peach and Yoshi flying around the castle in Mario 64, with the other screen showing a sort of radar. At first the crowd didn't know what to think of it, thinking that it was merely a video or quick hardware demonstration of some sort. However, as Reggie pointed out that we would be playing games like this on the show floor tomorrow, the video reel changed from Mario to Metroid. The audience was stunned and let out large gasp, because the graphics looked damn near close to the same Metroid on the GameCube. Quite literally, no one could believe what they were seeing. Samus was shooting up what appeared to be another Samus, with 3D graphics that appear to be a midpoint between those on the N64 and GameCube. Firing was done with touching the screen in the area you want to fire upon, which will lock the targeting reticule on something. With everyone still in a state of shock, it was said that the DS could be programmed for both 2D and 3D gaming, which was quite obvious, since Samus on the bottom screen was in 3D, with the map of the room she was currently in, in 2D.
After that portion of the DS presentation was wrapped up (with the crowd still in shock), the other big DS feature that had been known prior to the show, the mysterious wireless feature, was fully revealed, and it turns out this was a bigger surprise then anyone had anticipated. For one, the DS will have a proprietary wireless setup that can connect up to 16 Nintendo DS systems to each other within 100 foot radius. Even more impressive than this, if your DS is in sleep mode while another DS comes into your range, your unit will "wake up" letting you know, asking you if you'd like to play with this other unit. The crowd got a kick out of this feature, for sure, but then Nintendo dropped a term that will be sure to have the people at Sony shaking in their boots: Wi-Fi. Yes, the DS will apparently be Wi-Fi enabled as well. While Nintendo really didn't give any specific details about how this feature will be used, Reggie did say something about a friend being in a different time zone. Could this mean DS play over the internet? We won't know for sure until we get more info, but he did leave this segment with a rather corny line: "It's beyond online, it's no line."
After another developer video, commenting on how these new features might be used in games, a release date and caveat was issued. Nintendo is planning on releasing the Nintendo DS before the end of 2004 in Japan and North America, with Europe and Australia not far behind in the first quarter of 2005. Also, while the system is currently being referred to as the Nintendo DS, it will most likely be renamed to something else when it's finally released to retail. No price point for the system was given, but as you'd expect, Nintendo promised that it would be "affordable."
Nintendo's President, Satoru Iwata finally made his appearance, and began talking about how the DS was "different" than anything else on the market today. He explained that with how consoles are now, what systems can do with graphics now have pretty much reached their limit. Unless someone does something different, there won't be any hope for growth in the industry. This is when he touched upon Nintendo's next console. It's in development as we speak, claims Iwata. Much like the Nintendo DS, he promises that the new home console will also be "different;" so much so, that Nintendo is promising a "gaming revolution" whenever the system is finally launched. Iwata then asked if the audience wanted to know the technical specifications of the thing, but he stopped himself, stating that, since all hardware is insanely powerful as it is, the specs don't matter. "The time for horsepower is over," the president said.
One "final" game burst was shown, with a lot of the third party games that will be coming out for the GameCube (including a lot of EA Sports 2005 games), but then as everyone was about to leave, a question was asked by those in the crowd. Where's Miyamoto? Well, one more video was shown, and it turns out that this one absolutely floored the attendees.
The Legend of Zelda.
Nope, it wasn't Wind Waker 2 Zelda. This was the Zelda that a lot of people feel we should have had after that infamous Space World 2000 video of Link fighting Ganon was shown. But this was a hundred times more amazing then that. Dozens of baddies were riding to the camera from the sunset, and a horse comes to meet them. We find out that that horse is Epona, and the one that's riding her is none other than the Hero of Time. You know what he looks like in Soul Calibur II? Make him look ten times more bad-ass, and you might have some idea of what he looks like now. He was hitting people off of horses with his sword, he was jump attacking archers, he was fighting a giant fire beast... words can simply not explain how impossibly amazing this video was. At the end, you could see Link in all his "mature" glory, sheathing his sword, and seeing the Zelda logo flash across the screen.
Because everyone in attendance was so transfixed on the video screens, absolutely no one noticed Shigeru Miyamoto getting on stage. Once the lights were raised and Shiggy appeared, the crowd exploded with cheers. Once they realized that he was holding a bona-fide Hyrulian Shield and Master Sword, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Miyamoto gave a brief speech: "The Legend of Zelda never stops changing, and this game is not different. We are now taking you to a world where Link has grown up. A world where he will act different and look different. In order to grow, Link must not stand still, and neither can I." After he thanked the crowd, he demonstrated some of his swordplay, then went off the stage about as quickly as he came on. After that, Reggie thanked everyone for attending, and the press conference finished up with yet another round of applause.
Truthfully, no one expected much out of this press conference. Yes, the Nintendo DS was going to be shown, but absolutely no one expected the features or the graphics that Nintendo showed everyone this afternoon. Even after everyone was in shock over the DS, Nintendo just leveled everyone when they showed off the new Zelda GameCube game. To put it bluntly, Nintendo literally wiped out any doubt anyone had coming into the press conference, because every single face leaving the ballroom had a smile on it, and some eyes had a few tears in them."
Source: Planet Gamecube
"Some of them left with tears in there eyes"
I can relate to them, I didnt even see it and theres tears in my eye as well.
I remember when Shiggy came out with the sword and shield....pure gold!
The best part was when they were talking about DS. The features simply amazed me.
Nintendo Rules (fanboyism Talking Now)
Skullkid was there?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
no, he watched it through the "live conference" i think.
where you there skull kid????
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