After trailing in the console wars for more than a decade, Reggie Fils-Aime, president/COO of Nintendo of America, easily summed up his feelings as he opened Nintendo’s press conference at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), here: “I am happy. Today is a celebration.”
Nintendo has had strong sales with its Wii system since it was released in North America last November. Fils-Aime added, “E3 may be seen as the coming-out party for the entire industry. Video games will take their place aside movies, TV and music.”
To this end Nintendo reiterated their commitment to delivering titles for core gamers as well as casual players, and the company announced that gamers of all levels can expect to see more than 100 Wii titles by this holiday season.
On the hardware front Nintendo didn’t address the long-standing shortages, and supply chain issues that analysts believe could last into 2009, but Fils-Aime did state that in the 33 weeks since the release of the Wii, it has been sold out worldwide. Demand is likely to remain strong for the months to come however, especially with so many high-profile titles coming that are aimed at “core Nintendo fans.”
Nintendo also unveiled two new additional hardware controllers, both of which take advantage of the unique style of gameplay inspired by the system’s Nunchuck and Wiimote.
The Wii Zapper is a new housing for the controllers and comes in the shape of a small machinegun, and is designed with first-person shooters and action games in mind. The upcoming Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles will be among the first titles to take advantage of the game, while other titles such as Electronic Arts’ Medal of Honor will also be compatible with the Wii Zapper.
Fils-Aime said the controller will be packaged with an upcoming software title this year, and sold separately for $19.99.
The Wii Zapper is clearly aimed at core gamers, the upcoming Wii Fit and Wii Balance Board could become a suitable follow-up to the smash hit Wii Sports. “We thought that the Wii would be a device placed in the living room and be relevant to everyone in the home,” said Nintendo senior managing director Sigeru Miyamoto, “The one subject we felt we had to address was health.”
The fitness workout simulation will feature more than 40 activities including rhythm-based mini games, as well as actual fitness measurements that allow gamers to track their center of gravity and body mass index.
While Fils-Aime didn’t score so well on stage when he demonstrated the BMI measurement, he did suggest that the health of his company is very good. “Nintendo is not a fad. Nintendo is the future.”