Nintendo Next Generation

Nintendo Last Updated: April 24, 2000

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What does the news about a delay and high licensing fees mean for Nintendo?

I know, I don't update enough. But there's no news!

MSNBC Takes a Look at Nintendo
April 21, 2000 - MSNBC reports that while many developers know someone who has seen Dolphin development hardware, many still don't know much about the machine. MSNBC also notes that given the extreme success of the Game Boy Color, a delay of Game Boy Advance seems inevitable. A press release from Nintendo shows that not only are N64s and GBCs flying off the shelves (in fact, the N64 outsold PSX in March), but that Nintendo had the most successful fiscal year in its history in 1999. Despite my own pessimism, I must say that rumors of Nintendo's demise are greatly exaggerated (sorry, had to say it).
Read the full MSNBC story here

To Nobody's Surprise, Dolphin Officially Delayed
March 09, 2000 - While it was disappointing to learn that Dolphin had officially been delayed to the first half of 2001, the postponement was expected and surprised nobody. Nintendo's Peter Main tried to put a positive spin on the announcement by citing that the delay would allow N64 gamers to continue enjoying their console and to allow time for developers to finish a lineup of stellar games.

I'm hoping that none of you seriously believed that Dolphin would launch in 2000. Optimism has always had its place, but in regards to Nintendo launching a new console on schedule, it is extremely unrealistic. Having said that, I must say I'm surprised that the delay was not more significant. However, please remember that N64 was delayed twice, and that there is still a very good chance that Nintendo will choose to delay Dolphin again, this time into fall 2001 (as I had previously expected). If, however, Nintendo can actually adhere to this new schedule, the delay may not damage them too much. For example, if Dolphin launched in March 2001, Sony will have sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 million Playstation 2's (in the U.S. alone). Obviously, Nintendo cannot hope to match those sales, but with high-quality first party titles they should hold a comfortable position in second. So things may not be so bad after all... Maybe.
Read the press release straight from Nintendo

Playstation 2 Launches
March 04, 2000 - Capcom, SNK, Konami, and Square among others sent flowers to Japanese retailers to congratulate Sony on the launch of their new console (the story here at Now that is third party support if I ever saw it. No word yet if the rumors of there being only 100,000 units available at launch were true. However, from what I've read, I think it can be said with certainty that Sony didn't sell the one million units they were hoping to. Of course, that has nothing to do with lack of demand and everything to do with lack of supply.

Surprising nobody and giving anti-Nintendo propagandists fodder for criticism, Nintendo responsed to the launch of what will inevitably be the most successful video game console in history by revealing nothing. For once, this may have been a good strategy in light of the full attention that the video game industry has given to the PS2 release. Keep in contact with the major Playstation news sites for what I'm sure will be an interesting weekend for the video game industry.

Understatement of the week: Nobody in Kyoto (Nintendo's home city) is sleeping well...

The Dolphin Delay
February 27, 2000 - I'm sure by now you've heard about Dolphin's delay and (more importantly) the high licensing fees for developing on Dolphin. If you haven't heard, read it here at IGN64. You'd think they'd learn by now, wouldn't you? But nope, when developers are saying things like, "It's almost like developing for the cartridge format again," you know Nintendo is dong something horribly wrong. I'll be buying Dolphin when it comes out and I'm still a loyal Nintendo fan. But to be quite honest with you, I think Nintendo is nearly finished. The company will survive (barely), but Dolphin is a lost cause. It's not going to survive the next generation, let alone win it. Sorry to be a pessimist, but I'm only going by the hard facts. I want to write a lot more about this, but I've already posted my feelings at the message boards at Nintendojo and Nintendorks. I leave you with this: a post made by Marshmallow at the message board. It's well-written and it pretty much sums up everything I feel. I highly suggest you read it, and please, email me your thoughts.

In response to a thread titled Why isn't Nintendo TRYING? Marshmallow wrote:

Nintendo isn't trying.

They've had the same amount of time to get this thing together as Sony, the same amount of time to work on software, hardware, and everything else -- still, their release date is nearly two years behind that of Sony. Don't attempt to say that a lack of development kits is the problem, as our friends at Sega have shown that if the need -- the urgency -- is there, kits don't have to be done for quite some time.

In other words, Nintendo isn't trying.

They stress that they have learned from their past mistakes, that third parties are key to getting a large piece of the pie. "We are attempting to get as much support as possible!" they tell us this with every interview and special occasion; no third party company outside the closest to Nintendo has even showed any signs of this. They're all busy with the PS2. Enix and Square don't know what the "Dolphin" even is, while literally hundreds of other parties are waiting in line for a PS2 development kit.

In other words, Nintendo isn't trying.

While the entire video game industry is having orgasms as the smell of the PS2 drifts over the country, Nintendo does nothing. After Sony's lead chairmen, representatives, and all the other big whigs step down from the podium, finished with another monumental PS2 announcement, Nintendo does nothing. "Information by the end of 1999", says Lincoln. Nothing happens. "Expect something at the end of January", says he. Nothing appears. "10-15 days, at the most!" he assures us. Nothing happens, and nothing will happen. In other words, Nintendo isn't trying.

Meanwhile, millions of Japanese gamers are stroking their wallets, feverish to get their slimy hands on yet another Sony machine. Nintendo sits there with a big smirk on their face, still thinking as if it were the NES days...that they are God, and everyone will wait for them. Like some senile old man, they sit there watching the PS2 loom ever closer, the hype growing to a ridiculous height. Parents didn't used to say "Little Johnny is playing videogames!"...they said "Little Johhny is playing Nintendo." You know what they say now? "Little Johnny is playing Playstation." It might not even be a Playstation; all they know is that the words "videogame" and "Playstation" are interchangeable. Nintendo fully realizes this, as they got their asses severely beaten this generation. They do nothing to stop the PS2's momentum. Not one single spec, not one single screen-shot, not one single, ONE SINGLE cry from the now small "n".

Nintendo isn't trying, and never will again.

"But why?!" screams the devoted, loyal, somewhat na�ve Nintendo follower. "Why not try?" You can think up of some fanciful, whimsical story that sounds nice, and calms everyone down. "It's a marketing ploy", the fans say. "To surprise us," they somehow utter with a straight face. You can reach deep down into your pocket of logic, and attempt to think of some reason why Nintendo isn't trying. But there is no logical, intelligent reason. Nintendo is in another realm of reality entirely, where logic doesn't apply and Sony is just another four letter word. Or perhaps it's because...

...they are Nintendo. And Nintendo is a huge ****ing dimwit with a pathetic short-term memory.

Peter Main Discusses the Future
January 17, 2000 - In a press conference, Peter Main of Nintendo of America stated that Nintendo Company Ltd. will be unveiling new information about Dolphin in about 10-15 days (from the date of the speech, which was about January 12). He also noted the advantages of Nintendo's tradition of witholding details of their next-generation console. By observing the competition, Nintendo has readied itself for the coming war.

When this announcement comes, I'm hoping I'll be able to write an analysis of the newly divulged information. It had better be worth it.
Read the full story at IGN64

Merrill Lynch Releases Playstation 2 Launch Research
August 12, 1999 - Merrill Lunch Research has uncovered some details regarding Playstation 2's launch. "This view calls for a [Japanese] launch on 23 January 2000, a retail list price of �45,000 for the game-only initial model and an initial shipment volume of 400,000 units with a total of 1mn units shipped in FY3/00." �45,000 amounts to about $390, a price point that would hardly be considered palatable considering Dreamcast's $199 launch and Nintendo's expected low-price launch. Also, mention of a "game-only initial model" suggest that Sony will be following Nintendo's example, producing a barebones game-playing machine separately from a version that will play DVD movies. The report also anticipates a September or October 2000 release for Playstation 2 in the U.S. and Europe.

If this analysis is accurate (even if the price is actually only $300 or $250), it's great news. What's important now is that Nintendo get their system out on time to take advantage of Sony's overpriced launch. I'm sure that even after a year Nintendo will still be able to beat Playstation 2's price, but it would lack the contrast that you'd see if Nintendo appeared on the scene at PS2's debut.
Read the full story at Next Generation Online

Shigeru Miyamoto Discusses New Mario
August 03, 1999 - The newest edition on Nintendo's Online Magazine (at Nintendo's Japanese website) has Shigeru Miyamoto talking about the newest incarnation of Mario. Miyamoto's new game will arrive on Dolphin, and it is said to be more mature than previous editions of the popular platformer. "You'll see a completely new side of Mario on Dolphin. Don't you agree that in recent times, both Mario and Luigi have become a little too cutesy? I feel like it's time that they became a bit more grown-up. That's where the Dolphin comes in. For example, right now, Mario always does the V (Victory) sign with his fingers. I think that's a little too childish now. For the Dolphin version, I'd like to replace the V sign with an entirely new pose." Luigi will not only make an appearance in the game, he'll have a fairly major role alongside Mario. "If an onlooker were to see the game in our development room, he'd probably think that Luigi is the main character." IGN64 also noted that at least two major software developers believe Nintendo's new console will arrive in time for its planned launch date.

It's good news for all of us who want to see Nintendo change its childish image, though I hope that the changes won't be too major. In my opinion, Mario is one of those titles that shouldn't be (too) mature. It is, after all, an interactive cartoon, and I actually like having happy faces on clouds, eyes on hills in the background, etc. Maturity should be reserved for titles like Wave Race, F-Zero, and (definitely) Zelda. In any case, I'm sure Mario will be a masterpiece, so my concerns are pretty inconsequential. More important, however, is the extent to which Nintendo is willing to change its traditional image. It becomes increasingly apparent that the Nintendo that launches Dolphin will be very much different from the company that guided the release of NES, SNES, and N64. From relinquishing their traditionally iron grip on hardware to reworking their established franchises (such as Mario), Nintendo has engineered some uncharacteristically fast and major changes in preparation for the next generation. While I have no doubt that they will continue to be the Walt Disney of video gaming, we can also expect to see less of the traditional fare coming out of Kyoto.

Regarding the increasing optimism towards Nintendo meeting its holiday season 2000 release schedule, I'm happy to see any evidence that I'm very wrong about a Dolphin delay. With Miyamoto hinting that significant development on the new Mario title has begun, fall 2000 might be possible after all. As the resident pessimist, however, I'm not getting my hopes up (so that if Dolphin does launch in fall 2000, I'll be all the more happy).
Read the full story at IGN64

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