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Nintendo Wii Fit Now Available in Europe

Nintendo Europe is pleased to inform all Wii owners that the state-of-the-art Wii Fit console accessory is now available in Europe. Wii Fit is designed to let you do more than 40 fitness exercises including Aerobic Exercises, Yoga, Muscle Workouts and Balance Games. The Wii Fit and its accompanying software will cost you £69.99 in UK, and around €89.99 for the rest of the European Union. Find out more by visiting the official Wii Fit website.

Source: Nintendo News, Engadget

Engineers Develop Wii Controlled Bomb-Defusing Robot

Enterprising engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy have developed a bomb-defusing robot that is maneuvered by the very same Nintendo Wii remote that millions of gamers consider a natural extension of their hands. Packbot, made by iRobot in Burlington, Massachusetts, disposes of bombs, sniffs out explosives and checks for landmines for US soldiers. It is 70 centimetres long, and moves on wheels or tracks. Some even have machine guns attached, although these are yet to be used in battle. Head engineer David Bruemmer said: "Our tests show 90 per cent of the operator's workload goes into driving the robot rather than keeping an eye on the sensor data," He believes that now with the help of Nintendo's Wiimote manoeuvring the Packbot will become a breeze, and thus allow operators to focus more on the collected data and less on how to steer the Packbot. Bruemmer and his crew have also tweaked the Wii's vibration feedback technology to "buzz" the operator when the Packbot detects something of interest in the field. More information on the Packbot can be found at the official site.Source: Yahoo! News

Wii Fit Launch Date Unveiled for North America and Europe

The Nintendo Wii has become a strange source of physical exercise, with worldwide reports of gamers shedding pounds while sweating to Wii Sports. Seeing the extremely lucrative business that exercise can be, Nintendo decided to build upon previous success and make a Wii game sheerly built around exercise. The game, Wii Fit, requires a special controller. This controller, which has been redesigned for an American and European release, can hold 150KG and allows users to better interface with the system. Over one million copies of Wii Fit have been sold since it was released in Japan on December 1st. Expect to see this game in America by May 19, and in Europe by April 15.Source: DailyTech

Wii Users Face New Problem: Tendinitis and Sports Injuries

When the Nintendo Wii was first released, several people took Wii Sports too seriously. The wrist straps to the controllers snapped, and Wiimotes went flying into a plethora of very fragile things. When Nintendo replaced the straps with much stronger ones, it seems that some people went crazy. Now, several reports are coming in that Wii gamers are facing a new problem: tendinitis, due to moving too much. Since gamers get much more physically into the game than they normally would, they try to mimic the actual movement the activity on screen would require. This stresses muscles a lot more than you'd think, especially after a long period of time. Most problems are surfacing in 30-40 year olds, who really don't play too many video games, and suddenly became very involved in Wii gaming. Strangely, it's actually children that warn adults not to get too into gaming.Source: Neoseeker

Hospitals to Bring Nintendo Wii to Physical Therapy

To help spice up and/or improve physical therapy programs, hospitals are adding Nintendo Wii consoles to the proper offices. The reasons behind putting consoles in a hospital are simple. For one thing, the Nintendo Wii simply makes physical therapy more fun. Renowned doctors throughout America have found that there are other reasons. When a game requires users to make repetitive movements that might otherwise cause them pain, the game distracts from the pain, allowing the patient to do necessary exercises. To help confirm what these doctors already know, and have put into hospitals such as the Hines Veterans Affairs Hospital west of Chicago and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the University of Minnesota is performing a study on the effects of the Nintendo Wii to physical therapy. If all goes well, the results will confirm that playing the Nintendo Wii is beneficial to things such as endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, and cardio.Source: The Inquirer

THQ's Band Mashups Bringing Musical Warfare to Wii in April 2008

THQ today announced that another not so Guitar Hero like music game named Band Mashups is scheduled exclusively for Nintendo's Wii console in April 2008. Band Mashups is in development at Planet Moon Studios, the studio behind such games as Giants: Citizen Kabuto, Infected and Armed & Dangerous. It will feature 150 tracks and five distinct musical styles: rock, funk/hip-hop, country, marching band and Latin. "Band Mashups takes an innovative approach to the rhythm/action genre by blending music and combat in the ultimate battle of the bands," said Randy Shoemaker, global brand director, THQ. "Using a rhythm based game-play mechanic, the game delivers 70 over-the-top musical weapons and utilizes the Wii Remote's functionality to deliver a completely original musical combat experience. Fighting with a sniper violin or flamethrower guitar is something gamers should definitely look forward to."Source: THQ

EA Predicts PS3 will Outsell Xbox 360 in 2008

Industry giant Electronic Arts is predicting much greater success for Sony’s PS3 console over the next year, following disappointing sales in 2007. Last year the PS3 lagged well behind the Wii and Xbox 360 in terms of sales, with the Wii coming out significantly ahead of both. However, EA is predicting that the coming year will see Nintendo sell between 12m and 14m Wii consoles, Sony between 9.5m and 11.5m PS3s and Microsoft just 6m to 8m Xbox 360s. The PS2 is still expected to sell in its millions, with estimated figures of 3.9m to 4.9m units. Meanwhile EA reckons the DS will continue to dominate the handheld market by selling 14m to 16m units, with the PSP struggling to compete on 6m to 8m. That said, Xbox 360 sales figures can be expected to drop gradually, as the market is likely to become saturated sooner given its much earlier release date.Source:

Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock Wii Replacement Discs Expected in February

Replacement discs for the Wii version of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock should begin shipping in Feburary. "The game has been approved by Nintendo and is currently in manufacturing," publisher Activision wrote in an e-mail to those who had registered for a replacement disc. "We expect to have the replacement discs available in February." After the game released in late October, it came to light that the Vicarious Visions-developed Wii edition of Neversoft's Guitar Hero III outputted songs in mono, though all other versions of the game were unaffected. Activision later acknowledged the issue and announced that it would provide replacement discs. To register for a new disc, consumers are urged to visit ActivisionGameExchange or call (866) 780-8286 between 8:00am-8:00pm EST, Monday-Friday.Source: Shacknews

Gaming Sales Grew 43% in 2007

The games industry managed record sales of $17.9bn in 2007, up 43% from $12.5bn in 2006. The Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 all saw their most successful sales figures in December, shifting a total of 1.4m, 1.3m and 800,000 units respectively, meaning that the Xbox 360 has now sold 8.5m units since its launch, the Wii 6.3m and the PS3 2.8m. However, the best selling console over Christmas was actually the Nintendo DS, which achieved sales figures of 2.5m in December. Meanwhile, the most successful game last year was Halo 3, which sold 4.82m copies, with Wii Play in second place on 4.12m and Call of Duty 4 in third on 3.04m.


Nintendo's Game Line-up for the First Half of 2008

In a press release published yesterday, Nintendo has announced its Wii and DS software line-up for the first half of 2008. Some of the innovative Wii games in the list include Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Ninja Reflex from Electronic Arts, No More Heroes from Ubisoft, DeBlob from THQ, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed from LucasArts and Okami from Capcom, in addition to compelling Nintendo DS games like FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: Rings of Fate from Square Enix, Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword from Tecmo and Quick Yoga Training from Ubisoft.

Sony and Nintendo Sued Over Wireless Technology

A Pennsylvanian company called Copper Innovations Group has filed a lawsuit against Sony and Nintendo for the wireless technology used in their PS3 and Wii consoles respectively. The firm is arguing that the controllers infringe on a "Hand Held Computer Input Apparatus and Method" patent filed in 1996, which covers a method for connecting devices to a system and sorting their inputs by means of hardware identification numbers tied to each transmission. The devices in question are the Wii Remote, the Wii Nunchuk, the Sixaxis controller and the Blu-ray Remote. Copper Innovations is seeking damages plus interest, legal fees and an injunction prohibiting Sony and Nintendo from infringing on the patent.Source: GameSpot

Nintendo WiiWare Service to Start in March

WiiWare, Nintendo's upcoming downloadable games service, will launch in March, according to Engine Software. The company is preparing Project Bang, a casual game aiming to take advantage of the Wii remote, for one and two players. "Nintendo's WiiWare service is a new downloadable game content service that is scheduled to be launched in March 2008," stated Engine Software.
Engine is currently working on DS projects Dragon Quest for PlayLogic and GoPets: Vacation Island for Konami. "We are very excited about our first game for the WiiWare service," commented Ruud van de Moosdyk, VP of development at Engine. WiiWare (Wii Software in Europe) was unveiled by Nintendo in June last year, and intends to offer developers a chance to produce small budget titles for digital download, much like Sony's PSN service and Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade.Source:

Wii Gets Royal Support

This isn’t an amazing new hardware release at CES I’m afraid, just an interesting story about the Wii. According to a “royal insider,” the Queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II, has discovered the Wii to be quite an entertaining console. Apparently Prince William received the console from his girlfriend for Christmas, and when the Queen saw her grandson playing on it she decided it might be fun to have a go herself. The anonymous royal insider said the following:
When she saw William playing a game after lunch at Sandringham she thought the Nintendo looked tremendous fun and begged to join in. His only difficulty now is prising it away from the Queen's clutches. She showed all the signs of becoming a Nintendo addict.
Nintendo’s marketing strategy of trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible certainly seems to be working!Source:

Three New Classic Games Added to Wii Shop Channel

For some New Year's Eve gaming action, the Wii Shop Channel offers three new classic game additions. BUBBLE BOBBLE (NES, 1-2 players) for 500 Wii points ($5), Light Crusader (Genesis, 1 player) for 800 Wii points ($8) and TOP HUNTER (NEOGEO, 1-2 players) for 900 Wii points ($9) will go live at 9 a.m. Pacific time on the Wii Shop Channel. Full game descriptions, are available here.Source: Wii

Amazon Sells 17 Wiis Per Second

Online retailer has revealed that it managed to sell an average of 17 Wii consoles per second whilst they were in stock during the build up to the holiday season, with Super Mario Galaxy and Call of Duty 4 being the top selling video games. The company is claiming that the Christmas period this year was its most successful to date, with Monday 10th December being the busiest day when it received orders for 5.4 million items.Source: Next Generation

Nintendo Wii Can Now Stream Music Wirelessly from MP3Tunes

The thousands of people who were lucky enough to unwrap a new Nintendo Wii this holiday season as well as all previous owners will be happy to learn that their Wii can now wirelessly stream music from personal online collections stored at MP3Tunes. All you have to do is have a working Wii console of course and follow the steps writen here. After a few minutes and 500 Wii points ($5) spent you'll have an online music locker with unlimited space, ready to play music from your Wii console. Music stored in MP3tunes Music Lockers can also be played on the Sony PlayStation 3, Windows Mobile devices, a variety of Internet radios and more, thanks to the MP3tunes open API (Application Programming Interface). "The Wii is the latest popular gaming device that, with MP3tunes' technology, actually becomes a home stereo system," commented Michael Robertson, CEO of MP3tunes.Source: PR Newswire

Nintendo Wii Possibly Attracts Cockroaches

Nintendo is proud to claim the crown of fastest-selling consoles this November, and they can't seem to keep a good stock in stores, creating a huge demand for the tiny white consoles. However, new research may stop that trend cold. Some pest control professionals discovered something uncanny regarding the Wii: it attracts cockroaches "better than a four-week old pizza." Of course, this sounds absolutely preposterous, considering that the cockroaches do not have the most attuned hearing glands. However, the Wii is known to put out "air and ground vibrations", which in turn suck the cockroaches out of hiding just like that aforementioned four-week old pizza. This research has yet to be confirmed by anyone other than the independent laboratory that came to this conclusion.Source: Reg Hardware

GameStop to Sell Wii Rain Checks

With the shortage of Wii consoles this Christmas, many people are struggling to find Nintendo’s latest console in any stores, so GameStop and Nintendo have decided to offer a consolation to buyers in the form of a rain check program. The rain checks will be available for the console’s normal price of $249.99 on December 20th and 21st and will entitle buyers to get a Wii before 29th January, which could act as a belated Christmas present. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime said that the company expects this to be “a great way for consumers who desperately want a Wii to have something to put under the tree," adding that “many tens of thousands of rain checks" will be available. Nintendo is also working with other retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy to push out its inventory from the supply chain to shelves as quickly as possible before Christmas.Source: Houston Chronicle

Nintendo Tops November Console Sales

Nintendo managed the most successful sales figures in the USA for November, a month which saw console sales rocket thanks to Black Friday and the holiday season. Top of the pile was the Nintendo DS, which shipped 1.53 million units, followed by the Wii on 981,000 units. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 came a reasonably close third, selling 770,000 units. Meanwhile Sony’s three consoles came last despite improved sales, with 567,000 PSPs, 496,000 PS2 consoles and 466,000 PS3s being sold.Source: DailyTech

Wii Shortage Costing Nintendo $1.3bn

According to MDB Capital Group’s senior analyst James Lin, the shortage of Wii consoles could be costing Nintendo as much as $1.3bn in lost sales, saying that the volume of unsatisfied demand is “staggering” and that “Nintendo is leaving $1.3bn on the table” by failing to produce enough units. He also claimed that the company could “easily sell double what they’re selling”.

However, Reggie Fils-Aime, President of Nintendo of America, has responded to criticism that the company is artifially limiting supply by saying that "Anyone who suggests that a shortage is good for business really doesn’t understand business." Nintendo has already had to pull some Wii adverts after struggling to cope with the Christmas demand for its console, and Reg Hardware reckons that the best place for Europeans to get hold of a Wii at the moment is France, where the console sells for €210 (£150 or $300).Source: New York Times via Reg Hardware

Activision to Replace Faulty Guitar Hero 3 Wii Disks

A number of Wii owners have reported that their new copies of Guitar Hero 3 are only providing a mono output rather than the stereo that is advertised on the box. Activision has responded by saying that it will replace all disks experiencing this problem for free, although it has not given details of the process just yet. Activision’s spokesperson, Rhy-Ming Poon said:
We recently became aware that some consumers have not been able to enjoy the full audio output in the Nintendo Wii version of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. We expect to have re-mastered discs available by early 2008 and we will be offering consumers replacement discs at no cost once they become available.
So if you are affected by this problem, it may be worth sending Activision an email and keeping an eye on its website to find out how you can get your copy replaced.Source: TG Daily

Nintendo Cuts Wii Advertising

Nintendo has decided to pull some of its adverts for the Wii after finding that the Christmas demand for the console is already too high for the company to cope with. In the UK, Nintendo has decided to replace the planned advertising campaign for the Wii with more Nintendo DS adverts, saying:
We have been running the campaign all year round, but we want to take a responsible stance this Christmas and not fuel demand.
This news comes following numerous shortages of the console despite the fact that Nintendo has increased its production to 1.8 million units per month. Nintendo also commented that the adverts it was planning for the Christmas build-up are not seasonally themed, so it should be able to use them during the start of 2008 instead.Source: Marketing Week

Overall PS3 Demand in Japan Beats Wii

For the past couple weeks, we've been hearing that the PlayStation3 has been beating the Nintendo Wii in sheer sales week-by-week. While hardcore Nintendo and Microsoft fans will be happy to hear that this streak has ended (on the week ending 11/25, Nintendo sold 54,362 Wiis and Sony sold 50,564 PS3s), massive PS3 sales the other three weeks certainly helped Sony out. According to the latest sales figures, 183,217 PS3s were sold in November, as opposed to 159,193 Wiis. The Xbox 360 did not sell anywhere near that well in Japan, with total sales at roughly 26,000 units in November.

Source: Reg Hardware

New Nintendo Download Channel Launches for Wii in Japan

Nintendo has launched a new Wii channel called Minna no Nintendo (translated, Everybody's Nintendo), which allows gamers to check out videos and interviews of Nintendo games for various systems as well as send game demos to Nintendo DS systems via local Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, it's only available in Japan so far. Also available is a feedback service allowing gamers to rate games they own in various categories. Areas of judgment include whether each game is well suited to single- or multiplayer play, its appropriateness for casual or hardcore audiences, its relative difficulty level, and overall quality.Source: Shacknews
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